Kidney infection in dogs is a common problem and just one of the many possible underlying causes of kidney disease. It is extremely important to be aware of the symptoms of a kidney infection so that you can get your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. The sooner an infection is treated, the greater the likelihood of avoiding more serious consequences.
As in the human body, a dog's kidneys serve as a complex filter system, helping to rid the body of waste and toxins and also helping to balance the level of salt and water and control blood pressure. Kidney disease prevents these important organs from functioning properly and can lead to a dangerous, and sometimes fatal, build-up of toxins in the body.
The development of kidney stones and ingestion of toxic materials such as antifreeze can lead to kidney disease and infection. Kidney infection in dogs is usually the result of poor function of the dog's natural defenses. A blockage of the ureter, such as kidney stones, can cause bacteria to move further up into the dog's urinary tract, causing an infection.
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Being alert to the signs of a kidney infection will help you catch it early.
Common symptoms of kidney infection can include fever, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, foul smelling or discolored urine, frequent thirst, frequent urination and abdominal or lower back pain. If your dog develops any of these symptoms you should take him to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will run a series of tests to determine the precise cause of the symptoms and can then recommend a viable treatment.
Generally, diagnosis of kidney infection in dogs will involve a complete physical exam including a blood chemical panel, blood count, electrolyte panel and urinalysis. Your vet might also want to perform an ultrasound of the urinary tract to determine the exact location of the infection, as upper urinary tract infections require a completely different form of treatment than those that are further down in the urinary tract.
There are several possible types of treatment, depending on the underlying cause of a dog's kidney disease. For infection, a course of antibiotics is usually the first approach. The type of medication used or the dosage can be adjusted depending on your dog's sensitivity and the results of urinalysis. If an obstruction is involved, surgery may be required to remove it and prevent more serious consequences.
Since kidney problems can be caused by ingesting toxins, it is important to keep any potentially lethal substances out of your dog's reach. This can be more difficult when dealing with working breeds like the Australian Shepherd that spend a lot of time outdoors and can be regularly exposed to insecticides and other toxins. Nevertheless, you should be particularly vigilant about what they eat or drink to avoid kidney infection in dogs.
If left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to serious consequences including end stage renal failure so this type of infection should never be taken lightly. The good news is that kidney infection can be easily treated and is quite survivable, provided treatment begins quickly. So don't hesitate—at the first sign of symptoms get your dog to the vet so that he can get the proper treatment and that infection can become a thing of the past.
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