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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  23 years small animal general and emergency practice
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my westie has been diagnosed with acute renal failure and we

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my westie has been diagnosed with acute renal failure and we don't know why, his blood was tested in Feb. and everything was fine then but he's been vomiting for 4 days and I took him into the vet yesterday and she took blood and urine and diagnosed him with acute renal failure. Right now he's receiving an IV at the vet for 24 hours and we are going to reaccess then but the vet I'm seeing now isn't my normal vet because she's not open on the weekends so I don't feel like she's being straight with me so what I want to know is what kind of kidney function improvment does my dog need to have for me to be able to make the decision not to put him down. I know that the kidneys don't regenerate and that he could very possibly be miserable if I keep trying to treat him and prolonging his suffering but his disposition is still good but not normal. I have a copy of his original blood work. There were five * numbers; BUN: 45, PHOS: 9.2, CRE: 3.2, TP: 4.9, GLOB: 2.0. They did one other test and the MCV was high at 76.0 fL but I don't know what they tested or what test it was, the paper isn't labeled. I know every dog is different and mine is a fighter and very stubborn and I really don't want to put him down but I also don't want him to suffer because it's too painful for me to let him go. If you could give me a straight no holding back answer I would really appreciate it. I know how renal failure is with people and besides dialysis or a transplant, after a certain amount of loss of funtion there's nothing you can really do and every day will be a struggle with food and vomiting and that will be a miserable existence for my dog. I would really appreciate your help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Dave replied 6 years ago.

Hello, and thanks for writing in.


Do you remember any of the urine test results, such as the Specific Gravity (S.G.)?


Have they rechecked any bloodwork since starting Sammy on IV fluids yesterday? If so, is there any improvement in kidney values?


Are they giving medications for the vomiting, or any other medications (other than the IV fluids)?



Dr. Dave

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
his urine test indicated that he was urinating out water. they gave him meds to stop vomiting initially and since then they have also given him meds for a kidney infection as well. they havent done another blood test yet since it hasnt been 24 hours of IV fluids.
Expert:  Dr. Dave replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

There are several causes for acute kidney failure, including toxicities (certain chemicals or medications), certain infections (Leptospirosis is one example), lack of oxygen to the kidneys, trauma, to name a few. Further testing may be needed to try and find an exact cause (i.e. ultrasound of the kidneys, Leptospirosis blood titers).

I would certainly continue treatment with IV fluids, antinausea medication as needed, antibiotics, and rechecking bloodwork at least every 24 hours. Some dogs will improve within 24 hours of starting treatment, while others can take several days. So, don't give up yet. If you are treating Sammy for a few days, and there is no improvement in his condition, or if the kidney values are not improving (or if they're getting worse), then you may need to discuss having kidney dialysis performed (likely at a specialty clinic or veterinary school), or euthanasia. Euthanasia is very difficult to even think of, but if after treating a few days, and his condition is not improving, then it may be an option to prevent suffering. I don't take this lightly, that is why I would not be doing that yet, I would give Sammy more time, since many dogs take longer than a day or two to improve.

You can read a good article on acute renal failure in dogs HERE. It is a few pages long.


I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Dave

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