Kidney failure is defined as the inability of the kidneys to remove waste products from the blood. It is NOT the inability to produce urine but rather the inability for the body's wastes to be effectively eliminated.
Chronic kidney failure is typically as a result of aging. Early signs for small breed dogs generally appear between the ages of 10 and 14 years. However, for large breed dogs, kidney failure may occur as early as seven years of age.
Several breeds of dogs, however, are affected by hereditary kidney disorders. In many of these disorders, the kidneys are apparently normal at birth but may begin to deteriorate within the first year of life. The underlying problem in kidneys varies between breeds but the end result is the same kidney failure. The severity and rate of progression also varies between breeds and between individual dogs.
For many breeds, where the actual defect has been identified, a more specific name has been given. (See the chart from the Canine Disorders Database web site for specific breeds.)
When aging is the cause of kidney failure, symptoms include increased urination along with increased thirst. Clinical signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath.
Note: This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.