Kidney Disease In Dogs:
Your dog has two kidneys which filter the blood and remove body wastes which would otherwise build up and "poison" the system.  If the kidneys are damaged, wastes may not be effectively removed, resulting in illness.  There are two main types of kidney disease: chronic and acute kidney disease.
Signs Of Chronic Kidney Disease:
These signs are not specific for chronic kidney disease, but may include:
Vomiting and Diarrhoea.
Mouth Ulcers.
Changes in the amount and nature of urine (usually larger quantities of dilute urine are passed, crystals in the urine are evident).
Weight Loss.

Treatment Of Chronic Kidney Disease:
Treatment is aimed at reducing further damage and easing the "work load" on the kidneys.  There is no cure and the damage is permanent, but often treatment can make the dog comfortable and greatly prolong his life.
Acute Kidney Disease In Dogs:
Acute kidney disease in dogs (actually a group of conditions) differs from the chronic type in two main respects:
1. The sudden onset of signs following damage to the kidneys.
2. If the disease is halted quickly enough the outlook for the patient can be good and recovery complete.

Causes Of Acute Kidney Disease:
There are many, and damage by agents listed below may not always result in kidney damage.  In some diseases (for example, Canine Hepatitis) the kidney is not the main organ affected.
1.  Infection by bacteria, i.e. Leptospirosis.
2.  Infection by a virus i.e. Canine Hepatitis.
3.  Damage by chemicals such as: antifreeze, lead, carbon, mercury.
4.  As a sequel to some venomous snake bites.
5.  Shock.

When Should You Call The Vet?
The signs are not specific for acute kidney disease, but may include the following:
1.  Vomiting.
2.  Appetite Loss.
3.  Depression.
4.  Pain in the mid-back (lumbar) area.
5.  Change in urine output - may be more or less.
6.  Change in urine - discolored, or have clots, or cause pain in passing.
7.  Dehydration (shown as inelasticity of the skin).

Diagnoses is made by blood and urine tests and in some cases a sample of the kidney is taken (a renal biopsy) and examined microscopically by a pathologist.
Chronic Kidney Disease In Dogs:
In chronic kidney disease, there is a slow destruction of the kidney which may take months or years.  This may be caused by low grade infection (by virus, bacteria or parasite), by poisons, chemicals, or physical damage such as a car accident.  In most cases the cause is not determined.  Signs of disease are not seen until two-thirds of both kidneys are destroyed, because until then the remaining healthy kidney tissue manages to cope.  Once the two-thirds mark is passed signs of chronic kidney disease will start - often suddenly.
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