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Kidney Disease

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Cressa was diagnosed with kidney disease back in October for her routine visit. She went in for blood work for her 6 month to check her level. The vet said they were getting worst. She is at stage 2 border line stage 3. He started her on meds for kidney disease and also kidney friendly pain meds for arthritis. We also started a kidney friendly homemade diet.

She is already 15 years and 2 months. Has anyone else gone thru kidney disease with their older senior? Did they act like they suffered?

Everything I read seems like it’s geared towards younger dogs that once you start medication and switch food they have years left. While that would be amazing! I’m just trying to figure out what to expect. 

She is still acting the same. Still has a healthy appetite, no nausea or throwing up, she demands to be included on all outings.

She does sleep more. She also needs helps climbing the stairs sometimes.

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I am sorry to hear this. Kidney disease is no joke, but I am convinced that with the right care, which can be very complicated, many animals can live for years while having renal failure.

I don't have experience with this in a dog, but had a very beloved cat years ago who developed renal failure. After diagnosis he lived a pretty good quality of life for another 3 years. Not as great as it would have been without CRF, but pretty darn good. He was almost 18 when he died.  My care of him, though, was time consuming and relied on constant vigilance to his diet, his blood levels (he was tested monthly) and giving him subcutaneous fluids every day. I was very dedicated to his health and my life revolved around taking the best possible care of him.

I'm not saying it would be that way for every animal/person team. But I do think that if you want years more with her you will need to have her levels tested regularly and make adjustments in her care accordingly. there's a lot of information out there on this. I joined an online group back then for people with CRF cats, and the information I got there was invaluable to me, not to mention the support. The information I got from them saved my cat's life more than once when a well-meaning vet told me something that was inaccurate., or suggested a treatment that would probably have been fatal. You could find something like that group for dogs if you take a look. There's a great deal you can learn from other people's experiences with this.

Best of luck to both of you.

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Thank you. She is schedule for more bloodwork in June to check her levels again. 

 

She so far has outlived all of her playmates, and sibling. I feel blessed with everyday every day and she is still with me. I will definitely check to see about dog groups.

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I'm so sorry to hear this about Cressa.

I have no prior experience with kidney disease in dogs, but Bodhi -- estimated age somewhere between 14 1/2 - 17, though I think he may be closer to the lower end -- was Dxed with mild CKF in early September of 2019 during a routine checkup. At the time he had some slightly elevated BUN, creatinine and NA/K ratio blood levels and some protein in his urine. Blood pressure was normal.

He's been raw fed since he came to me over 12 years ago. I was advised to make some minor changes to his diet -- no more bone (subbing ground eggshells for calcium) or egg yolks to reduce phosphorus intake and using some egg whites for easily digestible protein -- and to investigate acupuncture. She said that more frequent, smaller meals can help with nausea, so even though he doesn't seem to be having any problems with that yet I switched him from one to two meals daily. She also said I should be sure to make sure he drinks plenty of water. Being fed raw he never drank a lot (more moisture in the food), so I've been adding 1 1/4 cup filtered water to each meal.

I also started giving him a Kidney Support Compound that a friend who's a holisitic vet recommends. Also took him to a local holistic vet. acupuncturist and chiropractor. All 3 vets, btw, emphatically said to ignore outdated guidelines that recommend reduced protein diets, at least until late stages of the disease.

On his recheck 6 months later the BUN and creatinine levels (azotemia) had both increased (not good), though NA/K ratio and electrolytes were normal (good) and there was no protein in his urine (very good). Wasn't able to take him back to the holisitic vet then b/c of pandemic restrictions, but he added a Chinese herbal Rhemannia Eight Combination (Ba Wei Di Huang Wan (cheaper, btw, thru Amazon than my vet).

He's due for repeat bloodwork in August. Haven't had him staged yet but will consider then depending on the results.

So, that's where we are now. Mostly Bodhi seems OK. He was still actively doing his therapy dog visits before the shutdown. Definitely slowing down but not sure how much is due to aging (even at the lower age estimate he's the oldest purebred border collie I've had, soon approaching second oldest dog I've ever had, and I know what you mean about feeling blessed for every day) or how much CKD may be contributing. His appetite's still excellent and at least most of the time he doesn't seem to be nauseous, though he may have had a couple instances.

There is an online forum devoted to kidney disease in dogs -- https://groups.io/g/K9Kidneys I'm told from past references to it that there are tons of very experienced people there. I've joined but have to admit I haven't spent a lot of time on it yet, partly b/c of not wanting to read about advanced stage dogs that are really suffering. If there're any more increases in August I'm sure I'll begin following.

I'm in the same boat as you, not knowing what to expect and wanting to do the best for my boy. I'll do all I can for him as long as his quality of life is still good, but I won't let him suffer needlessly when there's no more I can do to make it better.

I hope we can keep in touch and share information going forward. Wishing you and Cressa the absolute best.

 

 

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I do have 4 water dishes throughout my house. I have also been adding water to her food. She gets fed 2x daily.

Im with you. I’m very much about quality of life vs quantity. 

My vet was going through her read outs which was hard for me to follow that is when I asked what stage is she at. Since when reading up it talked about stages not actually readings. 
 

My current check list is if she snubs food 4 days in a 7 day period. I feel like there should be more on the check list. So I will definitely join the group. I hate not knowing or being “prepared” even though I don’t think you can actually be prepared.

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I only have one water bowl, but Bodhi rarely touched it before I added extra water. Vet felt he needed more so I started adding.

I always ask for copies of any lab work done for my records and so I can review them myself. In the past I've noticed certain things that were slightly off from reference ranges in both my own or dogs' labs. Usually the doc or vet is aware of it and perhaps watching (or not concerned about just once and would watch for later) but at least once I noticed something that my doc didn't and it made a difference. There are website where you can look for explanations. I always check them if I'm not sure about something and then also ask vet about it so I know exactly what I'm dealing with. The ppl on the K9Kindneys list seem to be pretty savvy w/ understanding what the results mean.

Staging CDK requires a different test from the ones my vet initially did. She's said when first Dxed that it was very mild but we could stage it then if I wanted to. Neither she nor my friend felt it would really tell us much more at that point so I opted to wait. She didn't mention it w/ the 1st follow up. I'll ask her (actually both of them) before the next one what they think and make a decision then.

 

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My Pip, who will be 14 in July, was dx with early renal failure a couple of years ago. He’s kibble fed, so I immediately switched him to the lowest phosphorous commercial kibble I could find (FirstMate senior weight control).  The phosphorus isn’t quite as low as with the Rx diets, but he’s getting slightly lower protein and it’sa *high-quality* protein (vs most, if not all, Rx diets, which use corn as the main protein source). Thinking has definitely changed over the years and my preference is to slightly limit protein, but to use high quality protein, and to limit phosphorous. Pip’s bloodwork values have been holding pretty steady and I’m good with that. Eventually he may require fluid therapy, but even that isn’t a difficult undertaking. 
 

I have a friend who managed two elderly dogs with renal failure. I took care of them when she had to travel. She did homemade diets for both, tailored individually by a nutritionist. They both did really well for quite some time.

 I’ve had numerous cats who required management for CRF. Some went years on special diets and sub Q fluids. 
 

Most side effects can be managed. I always felt that as long as my pet still seemed to enjoy life then I’d do what I could to keep them happy and comfortable. 
 

J.

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Our first border collie had kidney failure, unfortunately we only found out when it was very far gone, we had no clue there was any issue until he had a seizure. As kidney function was so far gone, we made the decision in conjunction with our vet to go for quality of life. So we opted not use an rx food as he hated it and I never asked what he ate when he was with my husband! He had 3 good months, we gave him fluids most nights but gave him the option to opt out, he hated needles so we were amazed how comfortable he was with the process. He never seemed to be in pain or discomfort, and for an old man remained reasonably active up to his last day. He passed peacefully in his sleep, he always slept beside me and I found him in the morning curled up like a sled dog, his normal position with his eyes closed. 

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Good Luck with Cressa.

Like others, I have more experience with felines that have kidney disease. I never used Rx diets for them (against the vet's advice), but did pay attention to posphorus levels in the kibble, added water to their daily 2X feedings (which I do now for all my pets regardless of age) and gave subQ fluids. Both cats lived another 3 - 3.5 years of quality life until close to the end. One hint for subQ fluids if you ever go in that direction - warm the fluids in body temperature water. It is so much more comfortable for the animal. One cat would visibly relax, then go to sleep in my lap, when I started his alternate day subQ fluid administration. This cat had very high blood chemistry values for kidney disease when initially diagnosed, and was tested every 6 months. Each time, the vet would shake his head in disbelief that his values remained fairly stable for about 3 years. He thought that he would have been gone within the first 6 months after initial diagnosis.

I have one 13 year old border collie with values indicating beginning kidney disease. I will have to begin educating myself about the canine version.

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