Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Kidney Disease
It is a common cause of death amongst cats and dogs. Kidney disease is known as a silent killer because there are often no symptoms until it's too late. Tonight, Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel shows us how to spot it and protect your pet's life.
Lulu's got hot pink toenails and a matching bow in her coifed do.
Richard Kirsh, Lulu's Dad, says, "She's a real lady, a real fufu dog. She would wear dresses if she could."
But underneath the glitz and glamour -
Lulu is battling life-threatening - kidney disease.
Dr. Michael Fusco of Adams Veterinary Clinic says, "It's probably the most common ailment that an older cat will acquire. Probably 50 percent of dogs will succumb to kidney failure."
It occurs when the kidney's no longer filter out toxic waste and balance body fluids efficiently.
"She was drinking excessively," says Richard.
Dr. Fusco says, "That's an attempt by the animal to perform self-dialysis…They drink more and urinate more in order to help clean the bloodstream ... and she always loved food and she was cutting down on what she was eating."
Other warning signs include vomiting - a dull coat - and...
"She was listless," says Richard.
Urinary tract infections - poisoning, like swallowing antifreeze - genetics and age are common causes.
By the time pets hit seven, kidney disease rapidly increases.
So get them checked annually.
Putting Gunner on a special low protein diet to ease the workload on his kidneys helps tremendously.
As the disease progresses - it's often necessary to give them extra fluids.
Dr. Fusco says, "It's given under the skin in a quantity that's basically 2 to 3 times their daily maintenance needs and by doing that you're flushing out the system."
Richard does it for Lulu everyday at home.
He says, "It takes maybe 3 to 4 minutes and fill her up for the day with high octane, and we send her on her way."
A kidney transplant is an option - but it's expensive and you've got to adopt the donor animal.
"She's much more lively," Richard says about Lulu.
While kidney disease is not irreversible - treatment and early detection can help pets live longer - better - quality lives.
Richard says, "She has good days and bad days, but I think she's doing fairly well."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Michael Fusco
Adams Vet Clinic