My 5 year old Beagle was diagnosed with kidney failure about 5 days ago. Her BUN was 95, Creatin 10.6 and Phos 11.7. Over the past 5 days, I have taken her to the vet every day for IV fluids and antibiotics. Today they re-did her lab work and there has been no improvement. In fact, her Creatin is now 13.6 (she is not responding to treatment). She is not eating or drinking and when weighed today, it showed she has lost 4 pounds. I was able to coax her to eat ice and drink a little water today. She seems otherwise healthy but has no energy and all she wants to do is sleep. I want to keep her around as long as possible - as long as she is comfortable.
My question is: when do I know that it is time to put her down? What symptoms should I watch for?
What you are describing is a very serious situation. There are many kinds of kidney failure, but the two most common are when the kidneys can't save any water by concentrating the urine and when the kidneys can't remove certain waste products from the urine. Of these two, the second is the more serious and the quickest to take a dog downhill. Unless there are other factors affecting your dog, this is most likely what you are seeing.
When your veterinarian did the lab work, was there any problem seen elsewhere? This type of kidney failure can arise from something wrong within the kidneys themselves or from something going on elsewhere in the body. For instance, poor blood circulation can reduce the amount of blood being filtered by the kidneys, resulting in higher numbers like you've described. Also, certain types of liver failure can be involved.
A 5-year old Beagle is pretty young to be experiencing primary kidney failure, unless there is something genetic involved. If another more treatable disorder is not diagnosed, you may have to make your decision fairly soon. You are describing all the signs of uremia except for vomiting. If these signs continue, she will probably get worse each day.
Thank you for your response. I am at a loss and you' re right, it has been progressing very quickly. It has been less than a week since her diagnosis and only about a week and a half since I noticed a change in her eating and drinking habits. The vet did not find see problems elsewhere and in fact, all other blood work came back normal.
She has not had any vomiting or diarrhea. My vet offered to hospitalize her to continue IV fluids and antibiotics as well as do an ultra sound but she said that we are fighting an up hill battle at this point.
WHEN will I know that it is time? WHAT signs should I look for?
Generally speaking, uremia will eventually cause your dog to have some vomiting. Uremia, which is what's happening when the BUN is highly elevated, usually is a very weakening situation for a dog. It's a waste product (toxin) that just wears a dog down, dulls the senses, and leads to vomiting.
As I mentioned earlier, if a specific cause for this kidney damage cannot be determined, then your veterinarian is left with running the fluids as the only option...and that is palliative at best.
The only other suggestion I have is that, depending on where you live, most big metropolitan areas will have several veterinary specialists that might be able to give you further guidance. I don't think you would find a veterinary urologist (unless you are near a university with a veterinary school) but a veterinary internal medicine specialist with perhaps an interest in the urinary system would be a good place to start. That will cost more money than what you have already spent, but it might also give you some more concrete answers.
I can tell from your questions that you probably don't want your dog to suffer unnecessarily and, if the lab results don't start to show some decrease in those numbers pretty soon, you will have to decide that it is time to seriously consider euthanasia.
I wish you and your dog the best as you are faced with this worsening situation.
Thank you again for the offer of help and I will absolutely keep you informed on how she is doing. She still doesn't have much of an appetite and drinks very little. She spends about 21 hours a day sleeping and when she is awake, she just lays on her blanket. She doesn't seem to be in pain and she is not vomiting; but I'm sure that will probably change soon.
Your help and information has been very much appreciated.
Today I noticed that her breath smells very bad. As I sat and watched television with her, I could smell it when she yawned or licked her lips; the odor is very strong. In fact, I thought she had soiled herself. it smells THAT bad.
What does this mean?
Thank you Marla
Marla, I retrieved your e-mail from my gmail address and copied it to this location. This message about the strong odor to your dog's breath plus the previous message about her sleeping 21 hours a day are both very indicative of the later stages of uremia--the buildup of nitrogenous waste products in the blood. With her kidneys not functioning very well and not filtering out the urea, its level in her blood is increasing. The buildup of urea leads to the strong body waste odor and it also dulls the sensory part of the brain. My suspicion is that she doesn't have much longer at this rate. She may well slip into a comatose state as this progresses.
Her name is Dallas (we named her after the Dallas Cowboys). We got her when she was a little 8 week old puppy, she was the spunkiest one of the litter and everyone that has ever met her (even my "non dog loving" friends and family) all love her instantly. She has such a personality and fun disposition, and she's incredibly smart. We taught her to ring a bell at the back door when she wants to go out and we can't even spell the word "treat" anymore because she knows exactly what we are talking about. We love her dearly and are going to miss her terribly.
She didn't want to eat yesterday but last night I offered to take her for a ride (one of her favorite things to do) and she surprised me by jumping off the couch and running to the door; she was ready for her car ride. We went for a short ride and came home when I noticed she was no longer standing with her head out the window and was instead, laying on the seat. We want to do the RIGHT thing and not have her suffer and it seems that just when we think it's time to "let her go" she surprises us with her energy i.e., jumping off the couch and waiting excitedly at the door for her ride.
We do not want her to suffer needlessly, but we also don't want to put her down if she still has a little fight left in her. I have asked friends, family, & our vet and they all say "you'll know when it's time."
I'm so sorry to hear about your pet. I lost my 7 year old Shitzu early this morning after staying up with her all night. She died from kidney failure and she was only diagnosed last week end. The signs were there, but we didn't recognize them. She was spunky until her last day. Your website was very comforting to me in the middle of the night as I sat with my pet and read about your puppy. I'm so sorry that someone else is going through this with their pet.
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. My little Dallas is still with us, she has good days and bad but we have prepared ourselves for the end. According to our vet, kidney failure is a silent and swift killer and as you mentioned, difficult to recognize the signs. I'm glad that my post was able to give you comfort during such a difficult time.
God bless you all....My 4 year old Jack Russell Terrier was diagnosed today - 4 hours ago - with Leptospirosis. He has renal failure and has started today on IV fluids and antibiotics. Back to the vet tomorrow for the same, all day for the next three days. I guess time will tell. Numbers for liver and kidneys are off the chart and he has a very low body temp to boot. I am so scarred. He is sleeping now with me. Symtems as vomitting only started 30 hours ago!
Have been reading your posts with my Bernese mountaind dog millie,laying by my side,she was diagnosed with kidney failure 2 and a half weeks ago,and has got to the stage where she will not eat and i have to literally syringe water into her mouth,her breath smells really bad.She sleeps most of the time,but as you say has surprising moments of being excited,like when it snowed hard she ate a lot of it which has helped hydrate her.The snow is now melting and her excitement about going out has vanished,she messed indoors today for the first time ever(we have had millie since the age of 4,she is now 10 or will be in a couple of weeks ,a v good age for a bernese).My sympathy to you Marla,your question is my question?i don't want her to suffer when do i need to to put her to sleep,like Dallas she is not vomitting,still meets and greets in the morning wagging her tail,there is a sadness in her eye's though.Are there any signs i need to look for when the end is in sight and is she in any or much pain in end stage.
I have been searching the web for 4 days now reading everything on kidney failure.
I am so sorry for all that you guys are going thru, My little pom Coco started failing 4 days ago and my heart is broken. She has given us almost 14 years of get joy and love. She has stopped eating days ago and I have tried everything. she is still drinking a little bit put sleeps most of the time. Her eyes are not focus and she is not vomiting and hope that does not happen. I don,t like to take her to the vets when she is this far gone because of other bad experiences. I lost Coco's Mother Kayla in 2005 and her sister Sasha in 2006. They tried treating the other ones and they suffered needlessily. Sasha died in my arms at home. I am trying to keep Coco comfortable and as long as she is not in pain will hope she passes away in her sleep at home with us surounded with love. As all of you I would like to know what to look for when the end is near. I never leave her alone now. Love and Prayers to you all.
We are unfortunately going through with this devastating CRF condition with our 6 year old miniature poodle Rudy. The most jolly, cheeky, beautiful sweet dog. She is a child to us and we refer to her as our little pretty girl which she really likes.. Although she has been diagnosed at the end of January we have been rushing to vets just before Christmas. At the moment she is sleeping alot and with very little energy. We are feededing her our own food with a substance - Ipakitine which we are adding to limit any damage to her kidneys. We shall be treating her on fluids this week again which hopefully we shall get lower levels than the ones we had in the past weeks.
I lost my darling little Tory on Monday evening she was eleven months, my heart is breaking. I have already lost her two brothers to this terrible decease. We were told she would not live beyond three months, but until four days ago she lived a full healthy and happy life, cranberries helped take out the toxins through the colon (because her kidneys couldn't do the work). My Tory caught a horrible virus which her immune system couldn't deal with. She was on a drip for two days, came home but would not eat, bloods were taken and to our horrior her organs were failing and she was put to sleep while laying in my arms. I now pray for her sister to live. God bless all of you that are going through what I (we) have/are.
I am so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, what I anticipate to be very soon, the same will be happening to me and my baby. Her name is Holly and she is just about eight and a half years old. She was diagnosed on March the fourth, had already lost two pounds and was immediately put into the hospital on an iv. Not much changed after that but she was walking, eating and drinking still. This last week though, she has been sleeping about twenty-two hours a day, refuses to eat and drinks some. She has gone from 10.2 pounds in March to 7.1 today. The vets want me to put her on an injection every day at home-it's for dehydration-I am toying with the idea.
Anyways, I can completely empathize with your situation, but had one quick question: Did your dog suffer when she died or was it more peaceful?
This is the first time I have used this site but when I read it I couldnt believe how close my situation is with yours. I have a 5 year old beagle that was diagnosed with Renal Failure about 6 months ago. Since then we changed diets to low proteen, got his BP down and we really didnt notice any change in him untill the last month. We noticed in the last month a drastic eating change. We kept changing foods untill this week he stoped eating. His BUN in the begining was around 75 and then went up to 85. A few months ago it was back down in the 70s so we thought we were out of the woods for a while. In the last week his BUN is around 115. He went through all the symptoms you spoke about like sleeping all the time, bad breath, weight loss, but he also was vomiting and diarrrhea. Right now we have him staying at the animal hospital for one last shot. He is giving him fluids and the vet is giving him his best effort. I believe we are both trying to make a very difficult decision and it makes it harder that he is only 5 years old. Best to you and Dallas.
I am also dealing with the same situation with my old girl, Nell. She is 15 yrs old and I've had her that long. I guess I am kicking myself, as I should have know it was something serious when she got sick. She began having diarrhea and vomiting and then stopped eating. This went on for four days. I guess we thought she would bounce back, as she always had after eating something bad. She is at the vet's and has been since Monday. I know this is only Day 2, but this morning when I visited her, she was apathetic and seemed disinterested that I was there. Yesterday, she seemed better. I am still hopeful she can recover, so I can bring her home to treat her and allow her to die with us. I don't want to have her euthanized if I don't have to, especially if she can be here with us for a bit longer. I am inconsolable and will miss her like nothing else. I don't have children or much of a family and she has been my companion all these years. There will never be another Nell.
I know this is old, but did ANY of you give your dogs Waggin Train chicken treats? My grandma gave these to my dog and he was healthy until he ate the treats.... now he is in end stage renal failure.... I don't know how much longer he has. PLEASE stay away from these treats! It's all over the internet that they are causing kidney failure in dogs.
Kali, my 2 and half year old Pointer/Spaniel/Jack Russell mix, was diagnosed with Renal Failure yesterday - I adopted her only a year and a half ago. She had very high levels of BUN, Creatine, and Phosphorus, also here specific gravity of her urine and white blood cell count was very low. She began wetting her bed in her sleep and I thought she had an infection or something wasn't expecting the call I got from the vet. My problem is I went home today at lunch and she had lots of energy still chasing her ball ( her favorite thing to do) and still is eating some and drinking plenty of water. I'm at a major loss as I don't know if I should have her put down as the vet recommended as she still seems somewhat happy. She has lost 4 pounds in the last month and I don't want her to suffer more importantly than anything. My main reason for posting is that it was wonderful to find this forum as I have been struggling pretty bad as she is so young and I thought I would have her for a very long time.. It's really comforting to find others who are going or have gone through a similar situation.
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