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Canine Renal Failure

Started 1336401463.05 in Pet Lovers | Last reply 1339373756.88 by DogMom

My sweet girl, Twinkie, has recently been diagnosed with K-9 renal failure. Was just wondering if anyone here has dealt with this issue and if so, what your experience has been? I understand that with the right care, a dog with renal failure can sometimes live a good life, although the actual failure cannot be reversed.

My husband has learned how to give her sub-Q fluids 3x a week and we are giving pepcid 2x a day and Gaviscon with a meal. She is also dealing with a bacterial bladder/kidney infection for which we're dosing 500 mg of amoxicillin 3x a day. Sometimes she still vomits up her food (apparently the renal failure sometimes causes ulcers and stomach upset.). She hates taking the meds and I feel like we're sometimes stressing her out by making her take them. (Right now we mix everything in beef broth and syringe.)

We are trying to see if we can get her on a routine and stabilized to try to give her more time. There is so much information on this out there that its kind of overwhelming and I find myself wondering if we're doing right by her. She's been a wonderful dog, for both of us she's been our "heart" dog, and we want to give her every chance, but we don't want her to suffer needlessly.

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Sammycat11336403590.9110537 PostsRegistered 9/30/2005

We've experienced this with both cats and dogs. It's a management challenge, that's for sure, and you find yourself on a rollercoaster. Sometimes you get to a nice plateau for a couple of weeks or months, then it shifts again.

Ask your doctor about Cosequin -- it's a supplement primarily used for arthritis, but appears to have benefits for the bladder, and helps keep UTIs to a minimum. This worked wonders for us. Also, a product called Fortiflora (there's a canine and a feline version) is a probiotic for the digestive tract -- this seems to help somewhat with keeping the stomach calmer.

There are also stronger drugs for the nausea/stomach acid than pepcid. Prilosec sometimes works better as well as a Rx drug called carafate.

You also might try smaller meals, fed more often. Sometimes this helps.

Good luck with your beautiful pup!

3blackdogs1336409269.537784 PostsRegistered 3/19/2006

I am sorry to hear about your dog...and what a pretty girl! I don't have any suggestions but I had a Lab that had stomach issues and hated taking her meds. They are associative learners so whenever I gave it with something that she ended vomiting she would haver touch that particular food again. Thinking of you all!!

Sheltie Mom1336416350.5334747 PostsRegistered 9/11/2007Pegulaville

I'm sorry to hear about your sweet girl. I had a Sheltie with bladder cancer that couldn't keep her food/meds down and the vet proscribed the carafate solution that sammycat mentioned. (thanks sammycat, I couldn't remember what it was called). It was kind of expensive at my vet, but I have found out since then that you can take your prescription and get it cheaper at your local pharmacy. I just used a syringe to squirt a measured dose down her about 15 minutes before she was to eat and it would coat her stomach.

Best of luck and prayers going out to you and your beautiful girl, Twinkie.

"It matters if you just don't give up." - Stephen Hawking
Go Bills!

JLLH3581336423791.1875037 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

OK - We recently faced this very real possibility (creatinin tested higher than usual) for our older (13 year old) dog. We were devastated and have re-tested twice -- both times tests were normal, but we did have a game plan and I did a LOT of research on what to do and how to go about helping our baby. Firstly, there are some FABULOUS alternative modalities and supplements which are working wonders in this area for dogs. If you can find someone in your area who is certified in animal acupuncture, take your baby to him/her. Acupuncture can help keep the kidneys flushed.

Secondly, there is a WONDERFUL supplement I had heard about from a vet tech who has a CRF dog (advanced to the point of being told she needed to put him to sleep) and he is doing SO WELL on it: Rx Renal. Our traditional vet where she works who sees her dog was so impressed he's been prescribing it to other CRF patients and carries it now at the clinic!

Thirdly, if you do not have a holistic/homeopathic vet on your team, get one (www.ahvma.org). They can guide you regarding dietary issues. (BTW, raw is best but cooked is better than commercial as long as you are doing it correctly. For a CRF dog, get a holistic vet to give you guidance on how to construct a proper diet.)

Test often for kidney function and Phosphorous levels (which need to remain low). Check out green tripe (preferably raw)- you can google for it. It's SOOO good for dogs, but very low in phosphorous. If you find the levels are getting a little high (keep in mind that dogs need animal protein more than anything else, and the leaner the meat the higher the phosphorous level) -- get your vet to give you a "phosphate binder".

Keep plenty of fresh water available to your dog at all times. (I had entertained the thought of getting a fountain to encourage drinking more as sometimes running water will do that.)

Stay proactive re: your baby's health. Stay away from vaccines (titer for rabies and any of the necessary ones, but eliminate the others completely. Dogs are not supposed to be vaccinated unless they are healthy anyway by law.) Stay away from so called "prescription diets" as they are usually full of things dogs cannot digest well and not high in protein (which even CRF dogs need).

Here are some additional sites to help you: www.healthypets.mercola.com, www.petcarenaturally.com

Dr. Pitcairn's book on Homeopathic care addresses diabetic dogs and cats....just get the latest one on Amazon.com (I forget the edition number, but he's only got one book out.)

Best to you and keep us posted!

ETA: I can't emphasize enough the important role that diet plays. There have been reports of dogs stabilizing and even reversing some kidney damage on raw diets. If your holistic vet feels this is not a good option, feel free to partially or fully cook the food. Remember that traditional vets get the little nutritional information they have from the big pet food companies, so.... consider the source when/if they are pushing a commercial diet. (There are commercial raw diets as well as very high end non-Kibble cooked ones...and you might check out subscribing to the Whole Dog Journal (usual before and after). Hope that helps!

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Last edited on 5/7/2012

beastielove1336423939.0079737 PostsRegistered 8/11/2008Another galaxy, far, far away

I'm sending out tons of very special prayers and tons of very special hugs to your sweet girl,Twinkie.


Hang in there Twinkie! Your mommy and daddy love you so much!


All of my children have paws{#emotions_dlg.wub}

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Last edited on 5/7/2012

DogMom1336430766.55487 PostsRegistered 4/21/2010

Shortly after we got our lovebug Lulu (English bulldog) we found out she had chronic kidney failure. At that time, our vet said that she would more than likely live to be 1-2 years old. She lived for 19 months. During those 19 months she battled more bladder/kidney infections than I care to count. Seems like we were constantly giving her rounds of antibiotics. We also did the sub-q fluids. Lulu would also vomit quite often. She took several meds for that (Pepcid, etc.) We also had her on Prescription Diet KD food (for kidneys). During her 19 months, through it all she was basically a very happy girl. I don't think she ever knew she was sick. However, she was slowly losing weight and some days was very lethargic. We trusted our vet to let us know when she thought Lulu was beginning to suffer and we finally were told that it was time to put her down. She had quit eating and could not even keep water down. According to her bloodwork and urinalysis her poor little kidneys just gave out.

I think a lot depends on the dog and how quickly or how much the failure is progressing. In the beginning our vet told us that many dogs can live long lives with kidney failure and proper care. That is true if you can stabilize or slow the progression of the failure. However, in our case, the kidneys were just deteriorating too quickly for all of the meds and diet to be very effective.

I know how hard it is to know how much to do and when to say enough and not let them suffer. All I can say is as long as Twinkie seems to be enjoying life, I would keep doing what you are doing. Hopefully, you will have many more months or years to enjoy her. You and your vet will know when it is time.

I feel for what you are going through. We loved our Lulu with all our heart and know we did everything we could for her. We spent thousands of dollars to see that she got the very best medical care that was possible. Hang in there! Don't know if I helped any, but I will say a prayer that things go well with your baby's treatment.

QsZoo1336431380.6832271 PostsRegistered 8/21/2010

You have gotten great advice here so I am just going to send positive/healing thoughts for you and your sweet girl. What a doll baby:)

Twinkie sweetie, you be strong and fight hard honey. The Dastardly Duo sends woofs and wags to you:)

7 of 91336438501.453919 PostsRegistered 11/26/2006Motor City

Ladies, thank you so much for all your thoughts and suggestions. Things got crazy at work today and I was not able to get back here until just now.

It helps me to know what others have done. We have a vet appointment tomorrow that my husband will take her to. He has to do a urine catch before they go in so that they can do a recheck on whether the antibiotics are helping the infection. Twink has seemed a little livelier the last couple of days, so I'm hopeful that something's going right.

She just finished eating, so we'll see if that stays put tonight. I hope so. We will do everything we can, as long as she is reacting well.

In November 2010, she had an ACL tear and underwent TPLO surgery. She's a little toughie.

JLLH...the vet said the Gaviscon would act as a phosphate binder, but I know there are others on the market, too, and that you can buy just the magnesium carbonate (w/o looking it up, I think that's the ingredient) by itself. Thanks for the websites. I will take a look at them.

Sammycat, she was taking Cosequin, but has pretty much refused to eat it since she's been sick.

DogMom, thanksfor sharing your story. I know you understand what we're going through.

3blackdogs, SheltieMom, beastielove, QsZoo...thanks so much for your good thoughts for my girl. The advice is great, but I'll take the good vibes, too!


KATIE ANN1336652738.257224 PostsRegistered 3/24/2009

There is a canine kidney group on yahoo. People on there dealing with these issues give great advise. There is also a vet on there who helps.

Reiss19801336745173.7878218 PostsRegistered 4/15/2011Central NJ /Freehold// Long island NY

I have no advice on this... But , to say God Bless for your beautiful girl "Twinkie" I will add her to my prayers for all the pooch children. What kind of a dog is she? What a beautiful pooch.{#emotions_dlg.tt1} {I love her name by the way.}

A wagging tail .... and licks a plenty.. Not to mention a buddy for life! Adopt a dog or cat ..SAVE A LIFE!

7 of 91339349640.7033919 PostsRegistered 11/26/2006Motor City

Hi, fellow pet lovers.

I wanted to drop back in and thank everyone for their thoughts and let you know that we lost the battle with renal failure and yesterday released Twinkie from her suffering. Not everything done in the name of love is painless, but this was the right thing to do.

Hug your puppies close today, and say a little prayer for my girl. We miss her. It hurts.

Doxie1339354392.699348 PostsRegistered 7/1/2007

7 of 9, Is that you?

I am so sorry for your loss of Twinkie. You did right by her. Amen to your statement about everything done in love is not painless. You were both blessed to have eachother and I can imagine her romping pain free at the bridge with all of our other furbutts. Be good to yourself and take time to heal. These darlings take a chunk of our hearts with them.


Doxie1339354734.319348 PostsRegistered 7/1/2007

I went to petloss dot com and lit a candle for Twinkie in the qvc group.


QsZoo1339356142.4132271 PostsRegistered 8/21/2010

So very sory to read this but you absolutely did the right thing to help her leave. It is the one last thing we can do for them here. Our pain is deep and seems unbearable at times so I am sending (((hugs))) for you and those that loved this sweet one.

Sheltie Mom1339361950.924747 PostsRegistered 9/11/2007Pegulaville
7 of 9, I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved girl. And please give my heartfelt condolences to your DH too. Godspeed dear Twinkie. {{{7 of 9 and DH}}}

"It matters if you just don't give up." - Stephen Hawking
Go Bills!

JLLH3581339362358.5135037 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 6/10/2012 7 of 9 said:

Hi, fellow pet lovers.

I wanted to drop back in and thank everyone for their thoughts and let you know that we lost the battle with renal failure and yesterday released Twinkie from her suffering. Not everything done in the name of love is painless, but this was the right thing to do.

Hug your puppies close today, and say a little prayer for my girl. We miss her. It hurts.

I am so sorry for your loss. May each day bring less sorrow for you and your family.

7 of 91339364769.4973919 PostsRegistered 11/26/2006Motor City

Thank you so much, everyone. Doxie, yep, its me. Can you direct me to this qvc group at petloss dot com?

Doxie1339365036.699348 PostsRegistered 7/1/2007

I sure can.

go to petloss dot com

scroll down to the little picture in the middle that says light a candle

click on it

click on search

type in qvc in the group search box

and it should come up.


let me know if you find it. There is a lot to read and check out on that website.

edited to say you click on search and then type in group name

Last edited on 6/10/2012

Last edited on 6/10/2012

DogMom1339373756.88487 PostsRegistered 4/21/2010

I am so sorry to hear about Twinkie. I know exactly what you have been going through and how you feel now (see my earlier post). You did all you could for Twinkie and she was so lucky to have you in her life. I know you feel blessed to have had her as such an important part of your life too. She knew how much she was loved and she will live forever in your heart.

Hugs to you. I feel your pain.

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