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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9141
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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What can I do to help my Australian Shepherd dx with renal

Customer Question

What can I do to help my Australian Shepherd dx with renal failure?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about your dog hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.
I'm sorry that your dog has been diagnosed with renal failure but I hope that his values weren't terribly high so that with the various treatment options I'll list below, he may still enjoy quality of life with you. Since I don't know which, if any, of these treatments have already been initiated or discussed with you, I'll include what I typically suggest for my owners with dogs who've been diagnosed with this problem.
1. Fish oil such as Welactin or 3V Capsules can help some of these dogs since it has anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Low protein prescription diets such as K/D have been shown to be of particular benefit to prevent further damage to the kidneys. However, having said that, some dogs don't find these diets very palatable so it's more important that they eat than that they eat special foods.
3. Fluids under the skin (which can be done at home) can significantly benefit many of these dogs as well, especially if they start showing disinterest in food. Even though he may still be drinking water, dogs with kidney disease often can easily become dehydrated; in addition the electrolytes in the fluids can help them feel better.
4. Phosphate binders which contain aluminum hydroxide such as Amphogel if the phosphorus levels are elevated. Once (or if) the phosphorus levels are < 6 mg/dL, then consider Calcitrol (which is a Vitamin D analog). However, if calcium levels are high, you wouldn't want to use it.
5. Secondary hypertension is often seen in dogs with kidney disease. Blood pressure measurements are relatively easy to do and appropriate drugs can be started if high.
6. Low dose aspirin can be beneficial in some cases but I would discuss this first with your vet before starting.
7. Use of appetite stimulants such as Mirtazapine (prescribed by your vet) if the appetite starts to diminish which is a commonly seen problem in dogs with this condition.
8. Azodyl is a supplement which may help some dogs although controlled studies haven't been done to evaluate its efficacy. It's available on the internet, however, if you'd like to consider it.
9. Since many dogs with this problem will feel nauseous (even though they may not be actively vomiting), they can benefit from Pepcid AC (Famotadine) at a dose of 1/4th mg/lb twice a day. There are stronger anti-vomiting drugs such as Cerenia but they'd have to be dispensed by your vet.
I hope this helps and provides a number of options for you to consider in an attempt to stabilize your dog's condition. Again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb