k.c. asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

How do I tell if my dog has acute or chronic kidney failure?

My dog started vomiting last Saturday and didn't want to move at all. I took him in for blood work on Tuesday as he still vomited a few times. The result came out as he is having kidney problem. All the index were above normal for 300-400%. However, his RBC is still normal. He is in the hospital for IV fluid treatment right now.

On Thursday, the doctor told me my dog should be having acute kidney failure as his last blood work done in last November shows it's normal. Today, the other doctor told me it's hard to tell it's acute or chronic at this moment. He said the best way is to proof it by time. If it goes away after the whole treatment, it's acute. If it comes back soon, it must be chronic.

My question is, how are the 2 different from each other? How long does chronic case to develop as his blood work was absolutely prefect 5 months ago. He is 13. He is old, but he lives in a healthy life style.

I just want to have myself ready for the up coming battle.


Thanks Alissha and ScottieDog for great answers. I like both the the answers, but ScottieDog answered my question more directly. So I will pick ScottieDog for the best answer.

My dog is home. Now without IV fluid, it's critical for the next few days. It's either win or lose the battle

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    k.c., I'm sorry. Kidney failure is a beast. I lost a dog to this and there aren't words to describe the pain.

    It can be difficult to determine acute from chronic. Acute may happen when a dog ingests a poison. It may be possible to reverse acute kidney failure. Now, that said, if the damage is too great, the dog then has chronic kidney failure even if caused by an acute episode.

    Chronic kidney failure is typically seen due to age (and your guy is elderly) and/or disease process. It can't be reversed. Fluid therapy can help short-term. The sad thing with kidney failure and the reason it is so horrible, is that the problems don't begin to show up until the kidneys have 70-75% failure. So, your dog could have been suffering some damage at his blood panel 5 months ago, yet not reached the tipping point for it to show up on the blood work. I wish you all the best. Please talk to the vets and make well-informed choices for his benefit. I really hope you won't have to say goodbye. It hurts.

    Source(s): Lost my 11-year-old dog to kidney failure. She was taking a chemotherapy drug that destroyed her kidneys. We thought it was acute at first, but she continued to relapse and we had to help her pass.
  • 4 years ago


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  • 4 years ago

    Hi there, I notice this was listed 6 years ago so I don't know how your little dog fared but you seem such a caring person you may well have other dogs as well so I thought I'd let you know my experience. 19 months ago my 15 year old collie was confirmed as having kidney failure and was given 2 weeks to live. She didn't look very well but a month previous I had lost my beautiful big rottweiler at 9 yrs with bone cancer so I wasn't about to give up on my girl. With my care, my rotty had a wonderful 6 months extra than the vet had given him and was kept pain free so we went on holidays and did all the things I would have wanted to do with him had he lived longer. Anyway, I digress - back to my LIVING collie. I came home from the vets and hit Google to discover more about kidneys and how they work and to try and refresh my biology classes from school (40 years previous). I'm lucky enough to live in a spa town so I stopped using drinking water from the taps altogether and now go down to our springs where we can fill up our bottles without paying for it. So that was the first thing. The other thing was diet. I forgot these kidney failure pet foods as I reckoned she'd still get better food if it was fresh. She now eats only chicken, turkey and red wild alaskan salmon (when I can find it reduced!!!) for her protein. Then and I can't remember where I saw it but I added these 3 vegetables to her diet - cauliflower, red peppers and butternut squash. I generally roast them in the over in olive oil as it appears that dogs need a little more fat in their diet and I have to say EVERYONE doesn't believe her age as her coat is in such good condition - she is now 17 and still going so just those little changes have given her an extra 19 months. Also, green leafy veg are good and she also gets broccoli etc. I hope you've found my experience of help even in the future. Kindest regards Pauline

  • 1 decade ago

    First off, some great info on kidney disease and the various tests used to evaluate and stage it:


    I'm not sure what the vet means in terms of acute renal failure. It is acute in that it developed suddenly (per the bloodwork) but I'm not sure what the translates to in terms of prognosis. In my experience, renal insufficiency is a long term problem that can be managed for a period of time. That means that it is chronic in that it will continue for the rest of the pet's life, but it may develop quickly (ie be acute). Maybe it's just a difference in terminology between the clinics I've worked at and your clinic?

    It's always good to be prepared and to have some high quality resources to look at. We've found that with most major health problems clients hear the diagnosis and shut down a bit and have difficulty absorbing all of the info needed. Most do really well with some home resources and a follow up call for questions. it's tough to hear about a major problem and simultaneously remain in top form for taking in info.

    The Veterinary Partners website I originally linked to is a wonderful resource, I would encourage you to explore some of the other links regarding treatments and dietary restrictions. It's a site that is written and maintained by vets so the information has a reputable source and tends to be kept quite current.

    Best of luck to you both.

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  • 1 decade ago

    In veterinary medicine, where dialysis is rarely available, the use of large volume fluid therapy is the most successful treatment for kidney failure, whether it is acute or chronic. Peritoneal dialysis is sometimes helpful in acute renal failure in situations in which the kidneys can be expected to survive the current insult and recover some function. It is difficult to use peritoneal dialysis as a therapy for chronic renal failure, though. There is a small chance that fluid therapy could have been too much for a weakened heart but if so, it was still not wrong to try it, since it was the only viable choice for long term treatment success. The fact that fluid therapy did not help is just an indicator that the problem was too severe or too complicated to respond, not an indication of a bad treatment choice.

    There is no really clear difference between acute and chronic renal failure, except that acute kidney failure is the name that is usually applied to sudden catastrophic kidney disease caused by an infection such as leptospirosis, a toxic insult to the liver from anti-freeze or mushroom poisoning, blood clots that damage the kidneys or similar sudden insults. The treatment plan is actually the same except that in acute renal failure early recognition and early high dose fluid therapy may be the only hope for saving the kidneys. High dose therapy usually involves fluid therapy at rates of about 50 to 150mg/kg/day, or 0.5 to 1.5 liter per 22 pounds of body weight, per day.

    Chronic renal failure is usually used to describe acute renal failure once the patient has reached the point where there is residual kidney damage still causing problems but it seems evident the patient will live or in situations in which the kidney failure occurs very slowly over a long time until it reaches the point it is evident and that it must be managed. Chronic renal failure is also usually treated with fluid therapy when blood values indicate the necessity for that therapy but is also managed using dietary changes, phosphorous control, treatment for any primary problems and control of secondary problems like high blood pressure and gastrointestinal irritation.

    I have not been able to figure out how to tell which pets will respond to fluid therapy and which will not, in advance of trying it. If we get no response to the administration of fluids (no improvement in lab values or patient attitude) within 48 hours, I start to think it won't work. If there is a good response in either lab values or patient attitude I am usually in favor of keeping going with therapy until there is no more improvement. At that point, we try to assess whether the current level of kidney function is enough to support a reasonable lifestyle. So I would have wanted to try therapy, just as you did/should.

    Most pets with acute or chronic kidney failure are still producing urine. They just can not adequately filter toxins from the blood stream by producing concentrated urine. Diuresis just causes more urine to be produced, washing more toxins out of the bloodstream without having to have concentration of the urine. Pets that are not able to produce urine require therapy to get them to produce urine prior to diuresis.

    Shar peis are prone to amyloidosis, which leads to chronic renal failure. What's your dog's breed?

    ETA: Just found this web site, it says how you can help at home & info about Chronic Renal Failure: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_chronic_renal...

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Remedies for Kidney http://teres.info/KidneyHealth/?OOn2
  • 5 years ago

    Reverse Kidney Disease Naturally : http://www.NaturallyGo.com/Official

  • 1 decade ago

    Hmmm.. how about you just ask the vet ? we on yahoo are NOT vets, we have no idea what to diagnose you're dog with ??

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    your vet can tell you by taking a simple blood test

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