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Familial Renal Disease In Dogs

Familial Renal Disease In Dogs

Familial or Hereditary renal disease is the term used when the cause of kidney disease cannot be identified, but the incidence is more common in interrelated dogs than what is expected. There are several dog breeds that experience different types of kidney conditions where it is considered that the conditions may be hereditary. In most of these cases, the kidney's function will be normal at birth but will start to get worse in the earlier stages of a dog’s life, ultimately leading to kidney failure.

The most common familial disorders in dogs include Familial glomerulonephritis, renal dysplasia, renal amyloidosis, Familial nephropathy, polycystic kidneys, and tubular dysfunction (Fanconi's syndrome), and basement membrane disorders.

Kidney failure is the outcome of any one of the several conditions that can affect the kidneys. Physiologically, it happens when the kidneys can no longer proficiently perform their role, which is to remove wastes and extra fluids, maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes, regulate hydration, control acid balance, control blood pressure, etc.

Kidney problems can be broadly classified into acute or chronic. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly, while chronic kidney failure happens gradually over time. For this reason, chronic kidney failure is also called ‘end-stage renal disease’.

Symptoms Of Familial Renal Disease

  • Decreased urine output (occasionally normal)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fluid retention of the face, legs, and ankles (edema)
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness and tingling

Treatment Options For Familial Renal Disease

The treatment of familial renal disease varies depending on the underlying cause, the dog's overall condition, and the severity of symptoms.

Sometimes, acute kidney failure dogs require hospitalization and intensive care to recover.

Aggressive treatments may include hospitalization for a kidney transplant, dialysis, Temporary Feeding Tube, or intravenous (IV) fluids.

For milder cases - Antibiotics, fluid therapy, and other medications.

Chronic renal failure in dogs - Treatment protocol focuses on slowing the disease progression, severity and improving the quality of life for the pet.

Peritoneal Dialysis: A tube is placed directly into the peritoneum in the abdomen, then the fluid is pushed into this membrane (acts as a natural filter) and dissolved substances are later. drained out.

Hemodialysis: Dialysis using a dialysis machine.

Treatment of appetite changes, blood pressure alterations, anemia, fluid imbalances, electrolyte disturbances, gastrointestinal problems, and nausea is typically necessary.

Home Remedies For Familial Renal Disease

Dog owners should consult with their veterinarian as soon as they notice the symptoms as some conditions can be very serious (and possibly fatal).

Prevention Of Familial Renal Disease

Familial renal diseases have been linked to inherited conditions. Therefore, the best method of prevention is responsible breeding practices.

Breeders should keep track of lineages with a lower-grade forms of this disease and stop breeding the dogs.

Affected Breeds Of Familial Renal Disease

Basenji, Beagle, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, Norwegian Elkhound, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Shar Pei, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Poodle, Welsh Corgi, Young Dogs

Additional Facts For Familial Renal Disease

1. Causes:

Congenital Disease: Before the dog reaches one year of age, kidney dysfunction will usually be present and when the dog reaches five years old, kidney failure symptoms will be manifested.

2. Types:

  • Polycystic kidney disease – Cluster of fluid-filled cysts in kidneys. Bull Terriers.
  • Familial glomerulonephritis - Inflammation of the glomeruli in the kidneys. autosomal recessive condition. Bernese mountain dogs.
  • Familial glomerulonephropathy - Damage to the glomerulus. Doberman pinschers.
  • Familial nephropathy - Deterioration of kidney function. Norwegian Elkhounds.
  • Juvenile nephropathy - Miniature Schnauzer.
  • Renal dysplasia - Internal structures of one or both of a fetus' kidneys do not develop properly in utero. autosomal recessive condition; Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apso, Rottweilers, Shih Tzu, and Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers.
  • Renal Telangiectasia - Proliferation of blood vessels that are non-neoplastic. the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
  • Renal amyloidosis - Amyloid deposits in the kidneys' filtering system. Shar-Pei.

3. Stages of kidney dysfunction:

The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS): kidney failure is often progressive and stages of chronic renal failure are numbered 1 to 4 (with increasing severity).

There are higher chances of morbidity and mortality at stages 3 and 4.

4. Mortality:

Median survival time for dogs with kidney failure:

Stage 1: >more than 400 days

Stage 2: 200 to 400 days

Stage 3: 110 to 200 days.

5. Diagnosis:

6. Prognosis:

Remember that familial renal disease cannot be cured but it is managed with consistent veterinary care. Many instances of acute renal failure can be reversed depending on the cause and with prompt treatment.

The stage or severity of the disease determines the prognosis.

When your dog progresses through every stage of renal failure, survival time gets reduced.

When To See A Vet

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Fluid retention of the face, legs, and ankles (edema)
  • Decreased or no urine output

Food Suggestions For Familial Renal Disease

Foods to avoid:

  • Pretzels, chips, and crackers
  • Coconut
  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine
  • Grapes, purines, and raisins
  • Dairy, eggs
  • Salty/processed snack foods like canned and packaged snacks)
  • Macadamia and other nuts
  • Onions, garlic, chives
  • Raw, processed, or undercooked meat
  • Yeast dough
  • Xylitol

Special diet for renal diseases:

Lower in protein, reduced amounts of sodium and phosphorus, with increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and high-alkaline foods

Protein: 14-20%, 35 g/1000 kcal of high-quality protein

Sodium: ≤ 0.3%

Phosphorus: 0.2 - 0.5%

Potassium: 1.1- 2-3%

Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 g of EPA and DHA per 1000 kcal of diet = 25 mg/kg of DHA combined with 40 mg/kg EPA q24h

High alkaline foods:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Root vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Avocado, Cucumber, Beets, Figs, and Apricots


Familial renal disease in dogs, whether acute or chronic, that go untreated is deadly. If you suspect your dog has kidney failure, don’t try to self-diagnose and treat the condition at home.

After being diagnosed with renal diseases, it’s possible for pets to enjoy a good quality of life for years. Strictly follow the veterinarian's recommendations of any therapeutic diet or nutritional supplements to manage the condition.

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