Leash in hand, we blissfully soak up the sun on a healthy walk while our dogs are busy cavorting and scavenging for scraps of, well, maybe we don’t want to know. There’s a lot going on inside their bodies, including questionable oral hygiene, that can gradually damage their kidneys. Even while nosing around the yard they inhale airborne junk, shifting their immune systems into overdrive just to neutralize the incoming flow of organisms and debris.
For some aging dogs it’s more than external forces driving kidney failure. Heredity can be mighty unkind too, leading to permanent damage from kidney stones. We need to pay attention; a good dog shouldn’t have to wait until she’s vomiting, losing weight, and drinking and urinating large volumes. All pets over age 8 need annual screening for age-related changes including kidney wear and tear. Early diagnosis matters.
For years, blood pressure management plus reduced-protein diets have been cornerstones of treatment for early kidney disease. Now we have a major advance. A new diet, called Iams Renal Plus, contains a unique blend of fermentable fiber that reduces the workload on failing kidneys by diverting waste products from the bloodstream into the colon. Instead of losing strength these pets can now eat enough protein to maintain muscle mass and a healthy immune system. They feel better and live longer. Now is the time for the right diet to play a major part in protecting an older dog’s kidneys.
Once diagnosed, these special pets need careful monitoring. Drop by your veterinarian’s office for a monthly weigh-in and have them submit a blood and urine profile every six months. We rely on pet parents to be observant. Any vomiting could lead to dehydration and reduced blood flow to marginal kidneys. Don’t watch and wait. Immediate medical attention saves lives.
Dog behavior help
A dog who plays nice, respects authority, and understands that the restroom is outside is priceless. I’ll address out-of-control behaviors as well as the dangerous in my seminar at the Animal Humane Adoption Center, 9132 Montgomery NE from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday. Cost: $40. To register go to facebook.com/drjeffnichol and click Events and then Join, or call 792-5131. Bring plenty of questions.
Dr. Jeff Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). He cares for the medical needs of pets at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque (898-8874). Question? Post it on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Unpublished questions may not be answered individually.