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It looks like Trooper is in renal failure.

 

The tests for a UTI and lepto were negative. Unless there's another explanation, kidney failure is the only thing left. We've elected (at this point) not to do the ultrasound. For $400 we'd just confirm what we already know.

 

So we'll do whatever it takes to keep him comfortable for however long we can. He might crash in a month, he might crash in 5 years. Whenever it is, it's much too soon, he's 17 months old.

 

The vet wants us to put him on prescription diet (Probably Hill's Science Diet stuff) and I'm always skeptical of those foods. But I'll do my research and we'll do whatever we have to. I'm more than comfortable giving fluids, so that'll be part of his regime at some point.

 

Nobody seems to have told Trooper he's sick though, he's still happy as ever.

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Aw, gee. I'm really sorry to hear this, too.

 

I can't remember, are you one of the folks here who feed raw, or partial raw? If so, I've read about a number of kidney failure dogs who've continued with their raw diets and done well, despite the belief that they need low protein.

 

If you're not, please disregard. I'm not trying to talk you into anything you're not already doing. ;)

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GentleLake, I am indeed a raw feeder. 3 dogs are partial raw, but Trooper is full raw. I'm glad to hear it's worked for some people, he does SO much better on raw with regards to his autoimmune disease and suspected pancreatitis. I'll be researching away what the best diet will be for him!

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Is there any explanation for renal failure in such a young dog? Related to the autoimmune disease?

 

I have a good friend who kept two elderly dogs going for some time with a homemade diet, appropriate supplements as dictated by bloodwork, and regular fluids. But these were old ladies.

 

I've never dealt with renal failure in my old dogs, only in my old cats. I subscribe to the idea that they do need protein and what they get should be highest quality. Many renal failure cats, at least, end up quite thin because they end up consuming their own muscle mass once put on low-protein diets, so I'd probably continue with the raw and see if you can't manage phosphorous levels and other issues related to renal failure by adjusting the type of raw you feed.

 

J.

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I, too, have a dog with kidney failure. I am assuming that while you haven't opted for ultra-sound (I did not as it would not change what we are doing) that you did have blood and urine tests run and have results on the numbers essential to evaluating the stage of the disease and the sort of diet you should be feeding.

 

What I have found to be the most complete resource for information and diet recommendations is the yahoo group K9kidneydiet. It is a little bit of effort to join and to post your test results but they are a tremendous source of information and advice, along with links to additional resources.

 

I do a homemade diet for Megan, who is 13 years old this month and was diagnosed in March (and whose blood tests were normal just last June). Following the K9kidneydiet guidelines, I use www.nutritiondata.self.com to develop Megan's diet in order to get the proper balance of nutrients and minerals for her stage of kidney failure.

 

Limitation of protein is dependent on the stage of the disease. Right now, Megan who is in Stage 2, is still getting plenty of quality protein in her diet to maintain her muscle mass as much as possible. When her test results indicate that she can no longer handle higher levels of protein in her diet, that will change. It is a widely-held but incorrect assumption that protein must be limited in all stages of kidney failure.

 

Phosphorus is something you will find you need to keep within the proper limits for the stage of disease as it is something that will "clog" the functioning parts of the kidneys and hasten failure. That is another reason to do testing to be aware of the stage of kidney failure. For this reason, bones should not be fed at all, and foods high in phosphorus need to be limited within the amounts dictated by the stage of disease (for instance, organ meats generally are too high in phosphorus compared to muscle meats, which still have significant amounts of phosphorus; egg yolks are high in phosphorus but egg whites are not; brown rice is higher in phosphorus than white rice, and true glutinous rice is lowest of the rices).

 

Pancreatitis is a very real danger for some dogs with kidney disease and the diet you choose should take into consideration that Trooper may have already had pancreatitis. A dog that has had it is oftentimes more susceptible to it. Again, on K9kidneydiet, they deal a lot with this issue and have protocols they will share with you should this happen.

 

Some dogs can live quite some time with a healthy and happy quality of life with kidney disease with proper management and diet.

 

Very best wishes for you and your youngster!

 

PS - I am very grateful for the resources and advice I have gotten through K9kidneydiet. However, some people on that list do choose to pursue certain levels of care and efforts at life-saving that I, or others, might not choose. They are very non-judgmental about the choices people make but adhere strictly to the advice and protocols they believe in. I post there infrequently, consider their advice and appreciate their efforts, discuss things with my veterinarian (who, as a member also of a cat-only specialty practice has more than the average exposure to kidney failure cases), and make my own decisions as to what I choose to do and how far I will go to keep Megan alive as her disease progresses.

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I'm so sorry to hear about this, and I know how frustrating this is. Do you know yet if the renal failure is chronic, or acute?

 

My Rodeo was diagnosed with acute kidney failure at around 2 years old. He's 8 today and doing fine, despite the fact that he was also diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease a year or so after that.

 

Rodeo's kidney failure was acute, and the ultrasound showed damage to the cells that concentrate his urine. The vet estimated he had 30% or so of his function left, which sounded terrible, but they assured us he could live a full life if no more damage occurred.

 

Acute kidney failure turns out to be good, because it means that kidney function returns to normal (as defined by blood work). Chronic is worse because it means it's ongoing and could well shorten your dog's life. Rodeo's blood results got back into the normal range in about 2 months, if I recall correctly.

 

The most important thing for Rodeo was to prevent urinary tract infections, since they can cause more kidney damage. I bought urine test strips that show whether your dog has an infection, identical to the ones vets use, and I tested his urine once a month for awhile to be sure he was okay. He developed one or 2 over the following year and we caught them and treated them, and he hasn't had another one in years. Turned out (I think) that the diarrhea assocaited with his IBD flareups was getting into his long fur and creating a bacterial breeding ground that then colonized his urinary tract from the outside. When I got a lot more diligent about keeping him groomed, the infections stopped.

 

Hang in there.

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If you are on FaceBook, join the group Dog Dorks Holistic Pet and ask Shawna about what she fed Audrey(Tell her Patty sent you). She had a dog that was born with kidney disease that was supposed to live less than 1 year. Audrey lived to be 8 years old and her cause of death was not kidney disease. Shawna had to learn a lot about feeding dogs with kidney disease and is a great resource. She has a passion for helping others.

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Thank you so much for all the support, you guys are amazing.

 

Julie, the explanation is "congenital kidney failure". If we did the ultrasound we'd know a little more about if his kidneys are misshapen, too small, scarred, and whatnot. But there's a decent chance (they said) of his kidneys appearing normal. Nobody has connected his autoimmune disease to poor kidney function. I think there must be a connection somehow, but I'm not a vet. Even if there were, I doubt it would be particularly treatable. My only question is whether or not reducing his predicted could have created a problem. His levels were fine until recently, when we had been reducing his prednisone. I've heard whispers of a couple other diseases that might have connections, but I figured the vets would know.

 

Sue, thank you for all the info, I really appreciate it. We have had all the blood and urine tests run. I haven't seen the actual results yet, I have asked for a copy. I haven't heard anything with regards to stages. I'm hoping I'll be able to understand a little better once I see the numbers for myself.

 

Jim, I'm super curious as to how you found out about acute vs. chronic renal failure. I haven't heard from our vet about what the nature of Trooper's kidney failure is. I'd really love to know more.

 

Gideon's Girl, I'll be right on it! Thank you so much, I really want to hear from people who have dealt with this before.

 

I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of information I've received from the vet. Maybe some people are content with "this is what your dog has" and have that be the end of it. I'm not one of those people. I haven't heard anything about stages, chronic vs. acute, extra supplements, nothing. I'm not usually a vet-whiner, but I need to know how to best care for my dog.

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I'm so sorry for your bad news. Acute kidney failure is fast onset. Sometimes from a virus or from being ill and dehydrated. They are quite ill. It is reversible with IV fluids.

Chronic has been going on over time. It is what you see from old age, lyme nephritis, lepto, genetics. Usually it is a slow downhill road. You may want to check him for lyme but at this point it would be more academic than anything else. There are homemade diets that dogs eat better than the prescription diets. Hills isn't the only company that makes one. Purina and Waltham offer kidney diets also. You can give aluminum hydroxide (Alternagel) to keep his phosphorus down. There is a powdered version of the drug available. With diet, medication and sub-Q fluids he may go for several years. He sure looks great is your video!!!!

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Thanks aschlemm, that helps. I suppose he'd be chronic, although his levels were great 2 months ago. He's not critical like it sounds like he would be for acute. He actually was already tested for Lyme when we were trying to find a diagnosis for other stuff. He was negative. Never have I been so disappointed to have so many negative tests.

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I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of information I've received from the vet. Maybe some people are content with "this is what your dog has" and have that be the end of it. I'm not one of those people. I haven't heard anything about stages, chronic vs. acute, extra supplements, nothing. I'm not usually a vet-whiner, but I need to know how to best care for my dog.

First my commiserations for what you and Trooper are having to go through. When our first border collie was diagnosed with kidney failure we made an appointment with the vet without Bandit so we could have the time to discuss and ask questions, she appreciated that we were concerned enough to want to spend the time having our questions answered. There is so much they need to do with the confines of a regular appointment that the vets don't have time to answer the questions, and you have not figured out what the questions are. Bandit was an older dog and was a tough dude so we had no symptoms until he was in very late stage failure, so we just wanted to give him the best quality of life we could for the remaining time he was with us, and with our vets blessing fed him what ever he wanted. Her much younger associate vet had told us to put him on prescription for food, which we did, he hated it and our vet ( and practice owner) said we should not torture him with it and let him enjoy life - so we did.

Wishing you all the best

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I think chronic versus acute is a matter of waiting to find out which one it is. My vet just told us that we'd need to bring him back in for blood tests once a month. If the blood values returned to the normal range, then it was acute kidney failure and this was good news because the kidney disease was not ongoing. If they didn't return to normal, then it was chronic and I had the impression that the prognosis was worse in that case. We were lucky and his blood values returned to normal. Since then we've had his values tested a few times again in preparation of a couple of minor surgeries, and they have continued to be just fine.

 

Of course you should ask your vet, and you might also consider a second opinion if it's not completely clear what caused the kidney problems (in our case we never found out). I also wouldn't necessarily rule out the ultrasound -- ask the vet: what would this tell us that we don't know already? How would the results help guide treatment/management? If the answer is that it wouldn't have any impact, then I agree it would be best to just skip it.

 

You have my sympathies, I know too well how difficult this is to go through.

 

Jim

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I'm sorry to hear this too, was just talking to my vet yesterday about my old dog's number - he has chronic kidney disease and his number rose this past 6 months. She said she really hates telling people their dog has kidney disease.

 

I was going to tell you about the yahoo group, but I see Sue R already did. It's a wealth of information. They have a Facebook group too, but not nearly as informative. There are also people dealing with pancreatitis there. Loads of recipes.

 

My guy had slightly elevated numbers for the past 4 years, I did do the diet for a while, but his numbers stayed stable, so I stopped. I'm going to have to start up again. We put him on an NSAID, and I suspect that may have contributed to the rise (he's off now). I do believe that steroids can have a negative affect on the kidney's as well.

 

Did they tell you what stage he is? If you join the yahoo group, have the blood/urine work info handy, the diet is dependent on the levels - the moderators can tell you what stage based on the creatinine/BUN/specific gravity of the urine. My vet said she puts them on fluids at level 3. She also recommended a renal supplement by VetScience.

 

Definitely stop feeding bones, too much phosphorus, but you will need to make sure he gets calcium in his diet.

 

Dogaware.com has a loads of info on it, also. It's a scary diagnosis for sure. I wish you the best.

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I got some good info from www.dogaware.com but I feel that K9kidneydiet has much more extensive information and there are a few things recommended on www.dogaware.com that K9kidneydiet moderators do not feel are beneficial or could be counterproductive. It would be up to you to weigh any conflicting advice and make a choice, which is what I have done when they did not agree.

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