Auxiliary Treatments For Canines with Renal Failure

Auxiliary Treatments For Canines with Renal Failure

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Auxiliary Treatments For Canines with Renal Failure

When the kidney is failing, there are two “”numbers” that increase, which give a “measurement” of okayness. There are other numbers that matter, too of course.

The BUN is a number that can be “sky high” without portending the end of the dog. There is no “high” that signaled the end of the dog. So I don’t prognosticate based on that number.

The CREATININE is a key number to judge cases by. “IN general” a CREAT over 4.0 after fluid therapy and diagnosing “other reasons” for the kidney disease; portends a poor prognosis.

However, if the dog has Leptospirosis or Kidney infection or is young, or is responding to therapy – IT DOES NOT MATTER what the Creatinine is; because the case is already exceptional and treatments are more likely to work.

But in general, my “hopes” are dimmed by a CREATININE of 4.0 or higher if they’ve gotten aggressive fluid therapy and remain that high.

SO, if your dog is in Kidney Failure, what ELSE can you do?

Here’s a list of “things” that can help. And, why.

TUMS: Tums are basically Calcium Hydroxide / Calcium Carbonate. And they bind excess stomach acid. They also supply calcium to the dog. Which isn’t really bad. On the one hand, the effects of uremia on the stomach can be offset “somewhat” by Tums. The Calcium can benefit the Calcium balance in the system and even aid in the excretion of excess phosphates when coupled with fluid therapy. Precipitation in the urinary tract is unlikely while diuresis is going on. “Dose” is not critical but 1 Tums per twenty pounds twice a day is good.

Baking Soda: Well it turns out that a properly functioning kidney “retains” carbonates. And that phenomenon stabilizes the pH of the blood. When a dog has kidney failure, the kidney does NOT retain carbonates / calcium / buffers as well and a condition called “Acidosis” can occur, which costs the pet their appetite and “feeling well” is off the table. So, adding some Arm and Hammer Baking Soda to the diet helps. Get a gallon of drinking water and add 1 tsp of Baking Soda. If the dog drinks it, then add another tsp/gallon. If the dog still drinks it, add a 3rd tsp/gallon and so on, until the dog doesn’t drink it – and back it down a notch or two. This process takes a minute because you are “titrating” the baking soda to the maximum amount but it is slow going because the dog doesn’t wanna just ‘drink on command’. “Dose” is not critical but 2-3 tsp/gallon of drinking water is good. 

Multi Vitamin: In kidney failure, the LAST thing the kidney worries about is ‘retaining’ water-soluble vitamins. In particular that’s Vitamin B and Vitamin C. Other electrolytes are lost as well. So the pet is deficient in Vitamin B and can’t make enough vitamin C to “be okay”. Consider that the kidney function didn’t stop overnight and that the water-soluble vitamin leeching has been going on a while. Dogs are stronger with B-supplementation and Vitamin C supplementation and IT IS EASY TO FIND AND GIVE A MULTIVITAMIN that is RICH IN B and C. I favor “Flintstones” Complete – and it’s 1/2 tablet per 15 pounds once a day. A multivitamin chewable must not contain Xylitol. Instead look for Sorbitol if any artificial ingredients are even used.

Vitamin C: It turns out that Vitamin C in megadose is antioxidant which is good in renal failure because of the damage that’s being done to the body with the high Urea levels. Uremic ulcers, negative gut effects, and Calcium balance issues are common and are benefited by Vitamin C supplementation. In particular Vitamin C can form complexes with Calcium and in the case of bones, help drive the Calcium into the bones. And in the case of certain urinary calculi – may aid their dissolution by leeching calcium from a stone (urolith), or change the pH of the urine to do so. Vitamin C is powerfully supportive of more rapid healing and also of the immune system. My favorite dose of Vitamin C (Gummies, capsules, tablets, powder) is 5mg per pound. Once a day is fine. Yes that a fifty pound dog could get as much as five grams a day. The formulation of Vitamin C that you get should only contain “Ascorbic Acid” and no other compounds. Liposomal Ascorbic Acid is good. Capsules are good and Gummies are BETTER however the gummies must not contain Xylitol. Instead look for Sorbitol if any artificial ingredients are even used.

If a case seems desperate, additional measures such as lactulose Azodyl, Epogen, and an appetite stimulant may be suggested. And a case should receive “mostly albumin” (globulin) proteins like WHEY and EGG proteins. Not beef, chicken or pork.

Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.