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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo , Small Animal Veterinarian.
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Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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Can you explain a high BUN in a dog- why and what now

Resolved Question:

Can you explain a high BUN in a dog- why and what now?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the question.

1. In direct answer to your question : A high BUN { blood urea nitrogen } as a sole test taken in isolation could possibly indicate kidney disease, heart disease, or dehydration.

However a BUN blood test combined with a creatinine blood test plus urine analysis would be a normal and very accurate way of assessing an animal's kidney function.

2. What now ? Blood tests such as BUN are an aid to diagnosis which complement your vet's examination combined with the complete clinical picture. The way forward is to come to a diagnosis, which your vet will do for you and move on from there. As a brief guide :

A. Kidney disease comes in many forms but can be treated with drugs and special diets. Be aware though that this is sometimes a progressive disease for which there is no real cure.

B. Heart disease can often be controlled with drugs, again there are many forms of possible heart disease some rare, some common.

C. Dehydration would be treated with IV drips or oral fluids. Dehydration is a symptom not a disease so further diagnosis would be needed.

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
bun 76; glu 92; alp 41; t-pro 5.1 (low); alt 50; cre 0.6 (low) Would this indicate kidney disease? Would this be genetic? The sister also has a high bun.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 7 years ago.
Hello again.

1. A high BUN { taking a reference range of between 6 and 25 } and a low creatinine is not normally indicative of kidney disease. You would expect both to be high, but there are a number of scenarios for kidney disease.

2. Genetic reasons are very rare but possible, in this case your dog will be normal in every other way. The dog's sister may be a link but some diseases are hereditary and could affect both dogs.

What you have is a high BUN/creatinine ration and a text book explanation would in the absence of kidney disease be :

1. Laboratory error, consider this if just one test has been carried out.

2. Heart failure or liver cirrhosis: both of these conditions can cause a high BUN/creatinine ratio.

3. Dehydration: if your dog was dehydrated at the time the lab test was done, say due to diarrhoea.

4. Other drugs such as steroids.

5. Bleeding within the gastro-intestinal tract.

It might be an idea to repeat the test in one weeks time to see if the results are still the same.


Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18625
Experience: BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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