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Traneman

Stage 3 kidney failure

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Our little 13 yo Pebbles was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure this weekend.

 

The last week she started not eating well so we tried different foods beside her eukanuba senior. We could not get her to eat anything for 2 days so Saturday we took her to the emergency room. She spent until this am there so they could give her iv's as she was dehydrated.

She is doing better but she still wont eat much, the vet said at this point it does not matter what she eats she just needs to eat, If we can get her to eat then we can slowly change her diet to one suited for her stage 3 kidney failure.

 

I am baffled, we have tried most all caned dog food including Old Roy. Baby foods, hamburger/rice,chicken/rice and hot dogs. Tonight she did eat 1/2 of a hot dog and a spoonful of Prescription Diet renal Health.

 

Does anyone know of something that a Border Collie just cant refuse ?

 

Thanks for any suggestions.

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I have a now-14-year-old who was diagnosed with Stage 2 kidney failure a year and a half ago. The Yahoo group, k9kidneydiet, was recommended to me by several individuals who had had dogs with renal failure. It takes some effort to join and post your dog's history and test values, but they seem very knowledgeable about canine kidney failure, how to devise a suitable diet, when and how to administer sub-q fluids, what testing protocols are best, etc.

 

I don't really agree that getting your dog to eat anything is the best approach as certain foods (like those high in phosphorus or fat) can be detrimental or even result in severe complications (like pancreatitis).

 

Of course, I am not a veterinary professional and these are my opinions only. K9kidneydiet is moderated by individuals with experience with renal failure dogs and also who are not veterinary professionals.

 

I have found much of their advice to be very helpful. They seem to be very good at helping members develop their own kidney diets (many commercial diets are not very palatable and some are better than others), as well as deal with other issues related to renal failure, and refer you to some good websites for further information.

 

This is very upsetting, I know, and I wish you both the best as you deal with a difficult situation.

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Sub-q fluids often help tremendously in restoring a dog to feeling much better, including improved appetite, as the dehydration associated with renal failure and the build-up of toxic waste products can be very debilitating.

 

And, yes, at some point,eating anything beats not eating at all but if you can get your dog to eat the optimal foods for her stage and type of the disease, it will be that much better.

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My senior BC had kidney failure. Heat up canned food to make it more appetising. We also did fried eggs, cream of wheat, oatmeal, yogurt, liverwurst, chicken with chicken stock and rice (huge favorite), mixing dry food with water letting it sit and mixing up canned food and heating it up, etc. You have to change it up to keep them interested. Otherwise they drop weight so fast.

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I kept an old dog going with stage 3 renal failure for 14 months and her kidney values were stable during that time. For the most part she tolerated the prescription renal diet. She did not eat well towards the end, but I suspect that was more due to the liver cancer then the kidney issues.

 

I think that the most important thing is keeping them hydrated. My dog received 6 cups a days of a chicken broth-water-rice-green bean concoction in addition to her food (warm it to make it more palatable).

 

Nausea is a very common problem in human kidney patients. There are many drugs that one can give to combat nausea and stimulate appetite and I would start there. Also, it is very important to keep serum phosphorus values below a certain level and to monitor serum electrolytes which can be deregulated in kidney disease. If your regular vet can't help you in this regard, ask for a referral to a veterinary internist.

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I don't have any experience with kidney failure in dogs but I am currently caring for a cat with kidney disease (not my own cat). Yes, she is on the expensive prescription food but is also getting sub-q fluids twice per week. The fluids are really the big difference maker. She went from not eating and looking really terrible to back to her normal 17 year old self after starting fluids. If your vet did not send you home with fluids, I would call and talk to him/her about this option for your dog. It is very simple and easy to do at home, also not very expensive either.

 

I would also be warming food up to help her appetite and asking about anti-nausea medication. My vet said the disease can make them feel almost drunk and dizzy, making them not want to eat. I also don't blame her for not wanting the Ol' Roy food. Try cooking up some meat and scrambled eggs for her, serving it warm with some of the Rx food mixed in.

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So sorry to hear of Pebbles' diagnosis. I believe you have received good advice above - so based on my experience, I will concur with getting fluids into his system and an anti-nausea drug. I used fluids for a cat with end-stage kidney issues for about 3 years. [The vet kept saying that with his blood values, he should have been much sicker than he was.] One good tip is to warm up the fluids in a bowl of body-temperature water. This reduces the 'shock' of room temperature water (70-75 degrees) going into their 100 degree body. My cat used to love his fluids. Also, mirtazipine (used as an anti-nausea) worked fabulously to keep my very senior dog eating. I truly believe it bought her about 18 months of additional life.

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Ask the vet if it's OK to try both plain un-flavored yogurt and plain canned pumpkin. I haven't know a dog (or cat) who even tries to resist those.

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When such a disease is diagnosed, it is probably a good idea to decide to what extent treatment will be pursued as the disease progresses and in advance of a crisis. Being larger, dogs require a much larger volume of subcut fluids than cats. Will your dog tolerate several cups of fluids being instilled under its skin? My normally stoic dog screamed while the vet infused fluids under her skin after an episode of vomiting. I decided in advance that I was not going to spend my dog's remaining the time chasing her around the house with a needle and bag of fluids. If you listen, your dog will tell you what it wants.

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I agree with Blackdawgs about listening to your dog. Some pets are going to enjoy the time sitting on the floor with you while you scratch their chest or feed them treats and other pets are going to be absolutely terrified. No one wants to force medical care on an animal where it crosses the line from helping them to taking away from their quality of life.

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A few other thoughts, in addition to the good ones above.

 

If the dog has been nauseated, various things may trigger that again. It might the bowl (if you've been using metal, try ceramic, glass, even paper). It might be the location (if you've been feeding in the kitchen, try the living room, bedroom, etc.). It might be the time of day - I had one dog who absolutely refused to eat first thing in the morning, but by noon, was ready to chow down. She often ate well in the evening too. She needed more smaller meals - as often as I was able and willing to give them to her.

 

Keeping them hydrated is important. Sub-Q fluids definitely help, but as has been said, that's you decision and ability to do it (as well as dog's willingness!).

 

A few other great foods to try: scrambled eggs, maybe with a bit of cheese; cottage cheese with no-salt chicken broth; if you can find it, Happy Howie's is a favorite (though I definitely wouldn't use it as a full-time food!). Various dehydrated foods might be appealing too (they sure smell good to me!) - Grandma Lucy's is the best IMO, Honest Kitchen, or Sojo's.

 

Best of luck to you both.

diane

 

If the vet can get her eating, you might be over this "hump" - but expect more.

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When our first border collie was diagnosed with kidney faliure (we never discussed stages but he did not have much kidney function left) we decided quality of life was the most important thing. We tried him on perscription kidney food but he hated it, and with our vets blessing just fed him his regular diet and my husband spoiled him rotten, and that was just between the two of them. We did give him fluids, he had always hated needles and we figured if he was fine with it then we would do it, if not then that is what it was. He surprised us, most evenings he would lay on the living room floor and be happy to let us give him fluids, some night he was not in the mood so we just let him be.

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a few thoughts- sometimes a pepcid 30 min before eating will help but check with your vet. I used to boil meat for my old boys- hamburger, liver- beef and lamb, grill chicken, add eggs, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice...I would even feed dogs on paper plates or hand feed them when they were not eating well. Might try warming it up also.

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All good advice above. If if was up to my husband, Megan would be on the kibble that she loves but that would not be the best thing for her. He'd prefer a shorter but happy life for her, and he wouldn't be into devising and implementing a special diet.

 

That said, if you do your own diet, one thing to consider is limiting phosphorus which is found in higher quantities in meat and organ meats, whole grains (including oatmeal), egg yolks (but not whites), most types of rice (but not "sticky" or "glutinous" rice like Hakubi brand rice), and certain other foods.

 

One reason I like the Yahoo k9kidneydiet group is that they give you values to aim for in your home-made diet based on the stage of your dog's renal disease and blood values. It's not for everyone and it's not cheap, but neither are prescription diets which are often less palatable. It is certainly a matter of what you can and wish to do, and what suits your situation and your dog best.

 

However you choose to go forward, I am sure everyone here wishes you and your dog the best possible time remaining together.

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All good advice above. If if was up to my husband, Megan would be on the kibble that she loves but that would not be the best thing for her. He'd prefer a shorter but happy life for her, and he wouldn't be into devising and implementing a special diet.

 

 

However you choose to go forward, I am sure everyone here wishes you and your dog the best possible time remaining together.

After Bandit was diagnosed, we made an appointment to just talk to the vet without him so we had the time to understand what was happening. My husband looked at her and said "so if he was my friend we would be going to Vegas for hookers and aged steak" after a moment she agreed .

 

As so Sue said I wish you both the best.

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So sorry to hear about this. I have extensive experience with kidney failure in a cat, which is very little different, if at all, from the disease in a dog. The most important thing is to get sub-Q fluids into the dog. With my cat, it was twice a day. Your vet needs to make that determination. There is no need for it to be anything bad, so please do not let someone scare you off doing this by saying things like "chasing the dog around the house with a needle". Done correctly, in a calm loving home environment, it doesn't hurt, and in most cases it is a lot easier in a dog than in a cat. It becomes a routine and is not complicated. It takes only a few minutes and most certainly doesn't mean that the animal is miserable just because he is getting treatment. In fact, just the opposite.

 

My best advice for you is to find and join a good online forum for people with dogs who have kidney disease. If you care deeply for your dog do this asap. Believe me, it is 1000% worth the time and effort it takes to post your test results and get advice. In my case, the knowledge of the people on the forum I joined saved my cat's life three times when vets who were not as savvy as the forum members were tried to get me to do things that were not right for his situation. Make sure your vet is very experienced in renal failure, and if not find one who is. It is a complicated disease and you can't treat it effectively without being informed about it. One size doesn't fit all; you have to know what the numbers in the blood test results really mean.

 

My next advice is to inform yourself. Get online and read everything you can on the disease. The renal diets that some vets recommend are not necessarily the best food. But you do need to watch certain levels, especially potassium, so knowing what is in the food you give is vital. It is true that at some point just getting anything at all into the animal is the point, but if you can get the right kind of food in that is preferable.

 

You do not have to buy the needles, lactated ringers, and lines from a vet. If you do you will be paying top dollar. Research it. I ended up getting the ringers from a pharmacy, who would order me two cases of the bags at a time and only charge me their cost, the needles and lines from an infusions specialty place in town. (I never knew there was such a kind of business, but there is and many places have them.) Sometimes online is cheapest. You just need a scrip from the vet to get them.

 

There are over the counter meds that help with nausea. Pepcid is one. Just be sure of the dosage.

 

You also need to do blood work regularly so that you can tweak what you are doing depending on what the results show.

 

It's some work. But the thing is, renal failure is not a death penalty if you are willing to do the work. As I said, it all becomes routine pretty soon for both you and the animal. My cat lived a good quality of life for three years with serious renal failure because I was willing to do whatever it took to see to it that he got the best of care. I did not believe it when two different vets told me that there was "nothing more we could do" and suggested preparing for the end. I just got stubborn, and he lived over a year after I had been told that, and although he had a bad day now and then the vast majority of that time he was happy and comfortable.

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Well I wanted to give an update,Pebbles is doing great tonight,this morning she ate about 1/4 can of food and this evening she ate 1/2 can. She has her spunk back and seems to be hydrated well (the vet taught us how to check).She is drinking water and really seems her old self. We found " Prescription diet canine Renal Health" she seems to love it.

 

The one thing I did not mention in my first post is she is healing well from maggots. She is long haired and we knew she had diarrhea but didn't know flys would cause a problem. We noticed her running from one place to another,then another. The emergency Vet shaved her and removed all the bugs. We were devastated and disgusted that we didnt know what was going on.

 

It has been a VERY stressful 6 days for us,but seeing her come out of it is exciting. I know we are not out of the woods yet but things are looking up.

 

We also have her Brother "Bam Bam" he is mostly blind and diagnosed with diabetes about a year ago. We give him shots,watch what we feed him and test him often and he is doing well. So we are prepared to do whatever we have to to extend a good quality life for as long as we can.

 

I want to thank everyone for their in put and encouragement, we know we will have to learn a lot about renal disease

But seeing her happy and getting better is awesome.

 

Thanks again everyone and I will post updates from time to time..

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So glad to hear that things are looking good. Please ask if there is any information I can offer to help. Wishing you the best of luck.

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Guess I need to call the vet or maybe someone here might know.

 

When do you suggest I take Pebbles back in to get a blood test done to see how she is progressing.

 

Just curious if we are doing all the right things,the Vet Tech said she could go back to stage 2.

 

Any thoughts

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I touch bases with my vet every three months to monitor Megan's progression. Usually twice a year, I have the Chem 17 done so I also monitor the phosphorus level in her blood as well as creatinine, BUN, and liver markers, and one of those times, I do a CBC also. In the interim quarterly visits, I do the Chem 10 blood test, which gives me creatinine and BUN values plus liver markers. At each visit, I also do a urine specific gravity and pH, and a urinalysis twice a year when I do the more extensive blood work to check for protein and other abnormalities in the urine.

 

I have never heard of CRF "going back" to a lesser stage of disease but good diet and management, plus sub-q fluids when indicated, may give a longer and higher quality of life than otherwise would occur. Since kidney problems may have different causes and outcomes, what we see with different dogs can be very variable.

 

Best wishes!

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^ What Sue said. I basically did all the same when I was treating my cat.

 

Kidney disease is not reversible, so it won't "go back" to a lesser stage. But it can be held at the stage is is at already with the right treatment and the animal can have a very good quality of life.

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Just thought I would follow up whats happening here.

 

2 weeks ago Bam Bam, Pebbles brother died. SHe was doing good until 2 days ago and she has stopped eating her

dietary food for her kidney desease. The only thing she will eat now is turkey and a hot dog.

 

Going to try and get her back on her dietary food tonight and hopefully she eats it.

 

I think the time is coming near for her as well.

 

SO SAD.

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