Getting to Know Your Pet’s Kidneys

May 13, 2016

HiResHi! In our last blog, you met me, Liver. I would now like to introduce you to my neighbors, Kidneys.

Thanks, Liver, there are 2 of us, Right Kidney and Left Kidney. We are also a vital organ for normal body function in dogs and cats.




Some Of The Things We Do:

  • Regulate water and electrolyte balance
  • Excrete the waste products from metabolism as well as the excretion of chemicals and drugs
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Regulate the production of red blood cells
  • Regulate Vitamin D

Basically, we work by being the body's filters. We are a complicated series of tubes that are lined with cells that filter substances and allow them to stay in the blood stream or be excreted (passed) in urine.

If our filters are not working properly, some of the substances that are supposed to be kept are excreted and some of the substance that are supposed to be excreted are kept. An imbalance of this can cause the signs associated with kidney disease.

Signs of Kidney Disease

  • Change in the amounts of water consumed and urine produced
  • Depression and listlessness
  • Loss or decreased appetite
  • Chemical odor of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in urine
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pale gums
  • Stumbling, acting drunk

Some Things That Make Us Sick

  • Injury- either physical or toxic
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Collections of crystals that form stones and cause blockages
  • Regular wear and tear (mostly in the older folks)

The good news is that there are two of us. With the buddy system, we can help each other out. The downside is that sometimes one of us can get sick and the other one does all the work. When this happens, the body doesn't realize that one of us isn't feeling well because our 'twin' is doing a great job compensating. Did you know that dogs and cats can have kidney transplants? They are occurring more often and with a good success rate.

Tests Used To Determine If We Are Healthy

  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Imaging (CT, Ultrasound)

If we aren't healthy, there are a variety of things that veterinarians can do to manage our health and keep us filtering and performing all of our functions properly.

Concerned about your pet’s health? Talk to your pet’s veterinarian or call Red Bank Veterinary Hospital at (732) 747-3636 for an appointment.