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Kidney Concerns For Seniors

Guest BLIsStillFlying

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Guest BLIsStillFlying

New member in dire need of advice.


An introduction is at hand.


I have two lovely greyhounds, Bradley (9, and also known as BL_Is_Flying) and Melvin (6, aka Mels_Tim). We just adopted Melvin a year ago this month, but I've had Bradley for over 7 years (I got him as a Christmas present when I was 16). I love Mel to death, but Bradley means the absolute world to me. He's gone through my 'teen angst' as well as my early twenties hardships, into my marriage (he was the flowerdog) and stressful careerism--and unfortunately, I just got back from the vet today with slightly disturbing news.


My beloved pooch has, as I was warned when I adopted him, pretty severe arthritis in two legs (broken during a race which summarily ended his career as a racedog) and is therefore on glucosamine supplement and Deramaxx to control the pain. Deramaxx, prescribed a week ago, has done absolute wonders for him--he's bounding about with his brother like a two-year old. Today was their comprehensive exams, however, and his creatinine levels (via blood work are 1.9) are .1 above high range. I know they're usually high for greyhounds, but even taking that into consideration my vet is concerned. He has suggested cutting back on his pain meds and, if blood work in two months shows progression, to put him on a special diet. This dog has most of my resources flowing through his veins and would have much more if necessary, but the early diagnoses of 'possible early kidney failure' has been near tears. I want him to still enjoy his active lifestyle free of arthritis pain, but I don't want to significantly shorten his life for a few days of galloping in the dog park.


I will know more in two months, but how common is kidney failure in greyhounds? Or how high of creatinine is normal for them compared to normal dogs? My vet is wonderful but I'm his first long-term introduction to the world of the rather odd greyhound and he's unsure himself if this is just a normal fluctuation or something I should start concerning myself with. He has suggested cutting back Deramaxx, but I chose this painkiller because it was least likely to result in complications and my boy just loves to go for walks and runs. I know he's not at advanced stages, but I want to start preventative care now if it would give him more time.


Has anyone else dealt with this in their hound? And if so, how did you handle it? My boy is otherwise acting fine and his usually self--eating fine, drinking normally, still walking two hours a day. Is there a painkiller for arthritis that would not result in damaging his kidneys?


For now,



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Guest exracersmom

I just lost my heart dog Buddy in July due to kidney failure. His creatinine level was 11.6 or thereabouts. He was put on enalapril previously. As far as pain meds, I read that tramadol is easier on the kidneys. Maybe you could ask your vet about this. Also check with the vet with other preventitive measures such as diet and maybe supplements.

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Guest GreytMuse

One resource for greyhound bloodwork (and other idiosyncrasies) by Dr. Feeman: http://www.greyhound-data.com/dir/445/Grey...alth_Packet.pdf

Another by Dr. Stack: http://www.greyhound-data.com/dir/393/Grey...d_Bloodwork.pdf

Print a copy of each for your vet! It's a great place to start when assessing greyhound's bloodwork, and I believe both speak to elevated creatinine levels.


Folks with much more experience than I are sure to follow quickly and give you great advice, but in the meantime, welcome to GreyTalk :) -- and we'd love to see photos of your boys!

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I've had 2 seniors with kidney disease who have since passed away and have a senior now with kidney disease. I have to say I get confused with kidney "failure" and kidney "disease" because I believe they are very different. There are people here with much more medical knowledge than I but what I can tell you is that all 3 seniors of mine also had arthritis and could not take an anti-inflammatory. They were all on kidney diets and Misty is also on Enalapril and doing very well. For the arthritis issues, we always used Tramadol, Traumeel Gel, and acupuncture which all were a big help.I would hope with the assistance of your vet you can get this under control and Dr Feeman is a wealth of knowledge with this


Missing my little Misty who took a huge piece of my heart with her on 5/2/09, and Ekko, on 6/28/12



:candle For the sick, the lost, and the homeless

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I don't think greyhounds are any more susceptible to kidney disease than other breeds, but it is a common system to fail in elderly dogs - well, elderly mammals, I suppose.


It is sometimes misdiagnosed by vets without a lot of experience in greyhound blood values, though, because their creatinine does run high due to their large muscle mass. It can also run high if you feed very high protein diet, or raw diet. A very good indicator to tell if your dog is really suffering from kidney disease is the get the vet to do a protein:creatinine ratio test.


I was told that Jack might be in the early stages of kidney disease two years ago. We did a protein:creatinine test and no, he was fine, and still is fine at thirteen years old. :)


The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest stezell

We have one senior with kidney problems. She started getting sick around 7 years old. Daily she would vomit and after testing her blood we found out her kidneys were failing. She has been on the kibble Science Diet KD for 4 years. She has never gotten sick since. She goes for her bloodwork every year and her levels are normal for a greyhound. I don't know if this helps, but she still gets treats but I feel that the food has definitely helped; she is now 11 years old and full of life....

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I'm not an expert on kidneys but it is my understanding that when looking at the creatinine levels, you also need to look at the BUN and ALT numbers. Don't ask me what BUN and ALT are? I just know those numbers are important when it comes to the kidneys.


Hopefully one of our knowledgable members will comment and clear up the number meanings for you.


And I don't think greyhounds have more kidney problems, I think it's an age related problem.

Denise & Strider, Blake, Fields, Frank, FlippyDoo, and Momma Gail.

The Bridge Angels Zack(Ags Marble Chip) 4/25/93-2/16/06, Wanda(Rainier Rowanda) 12/14/94-06/09/06, Brooke/Boogers(Rainier Restive) 01/01/99-10/20/08, Warlock(Rainier Rammer) 4/29/99-10/01/09), Patsie(Frisky Patsy) 5/17/96-2/05/10, Hatter(Cals Madhatter) 6/3/00-3/11/10, Dodger(Rainier Ransack) 4/29/99-4/16/10, and Sparkle(Okie Sparkle) 11/8/2000-1/28/11

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To reassure you, a creatinine of 1.9 is nowhere even in the neighborhood of kidney failure. A few things to ask:


What was his BUN (blood urea nitrogen)? This is another indicator of kidney function.

Did the vet do a urinalysis? If so, were there any abnormalities? The most important component in the urinalysis is protein. If there was protein in the urine, I'd want to be sure that the vet sent off a urine culture to make sure there is no underlying infection. If there is no infection, and continues to be protein in the urine, your vet should be doing a "UPC" or urine protein creatinine ratio, which quantitates how much protein there is, and whether you need to be addressing it with meds and/or a special diet.


Here is an excellent resource:


Normal blood values in the greyhound, by Suzanne Stack, DVM


I have an iggy with "renal insufficiency" due to chronic renal disease. Her creatinine runs between 2.0 - 4.0. She has a chronically elevated UPC, but has improved with enalapril.


I would agree about stopping the Deramaxx and rechecking in a month or two, but outside of checking the urinalysis, I would not be overly concerned about a creatinine of 1.9, assuming everything else looks OK. Something as simple as mild dehydration could cause an elevation of BUN and/or creatinine. And the next blood chemistry you do may be perfectly normal if he's drinking liberally.


Tramadol is an option if you think he's having significant pain. There are also lots of supplements that contain a combo of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, vitamin C, and other herbs and vitamins which are helpful in joint protection. Some people have had success with "Dog Gone Pain", an herbal supplement, though I have not. I do, however, have a dog who is responding very well to acupuncture so think about alternative types of pain control, too!


Hope this helps reassure you! :)


ETA: ALT is indicative of liver function. I'm not aware of it being representative of kidney function, at least not in humans (my specialty). ;)

Edited by houndznigz


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If his creatinine is .1 above normal range, he's not in kidney failure. That's a greyhound-normal creatinine reading.


Keep in mind that the numbers themselves, like those in Dr. Stack's paper, aren't the significant part. Dr. Stack's lab will have slightly different norms than yours. The significant part is that greyhounds run a bit high.


Does he have any recent past bloodwork you can refer to, for what is normal for him? Say, in the past year? For .1 out of range, I personally wouldn't be inclined to take him off the Deramaxx if it has made that much of a difference in his quality of life. I would retest in 3 weeks, then 2-3 months, then 6 months.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest BLIsStillFlying

Wow, I wasn't expecting this many detailed replies! He's risen .1 (from 1.8) in six months, though my vet offered mild concern back then as well. I suppose I should have written 'kidney disease' instead of failure, but we were talking in-depth and much of it was about the possibility of leading to early kidney failure. All other values (and urinalysis) were normal, I was just concerned because I just started him on Deramaxx a week ago. I've cut back (once every other day instead of every day) and will be talking to the vet about this today after work--perhaps mentioning the other painkillers you've all mentioned. He's on a combination glucosamine pill (on of the supposed best) but I'm not sure it will be an end-all for him. I was thinking, per recommendation, of Glycoflex, but I've not heard too much about it.


After reading the links, I'm glad that he's just reading high-normal for a greyhound. I'll keep an eye and probably recheck his bloodwork in two months anyway, but I'm sure Bradley will be pleased when I stop talking about his imminent death.


Thank you for the reassurance to all--as soon as I figure out this site I'll post pictures of my greyboys. They really are just darling.



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My girl, Chick, always runs a high creatnine level. I've had her since she was 2 1/2 - she's now 10. At first we were concerned about her creatnine level, but with monitoring it every few months for a year or two, we realized she runs high normally. Her levels are always in a range of 2.2 - 2.8. The information from Dr. Stack and from Dr. Feeman helped my vet to understand the differences in greyhound bloodwork.


Good luck with your boys!



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If you email me, I'll send you Dr. Feeman's papers on greyhound health. Burpdog@msn.com


The majority of mine have run a creatine over 2.0 with a normal BUN. As advanced aged seniors, many have a slight rise in BUN, some due to needing a dental and some who knows. Many also run high protein with no distress.


Too many vets are not familar with greyhound values and misdiagnos kidney issues :)

Diane & The Senior Gang

Burpdog Biscuits

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I've found the Dogaware website is very helpful in helping folks understand disease processes, and dietary changes you can make at home to accommodate different medical conditions. They also provides lists of commercial foods, supplements, home cooked diets, alternative remedies, etc. Excellent resource to keep bookmarked.


www.greythealth.com is Suzanne Stack's website, with lots of good info on GH health.

http://www.animalmedicalcentreofmedina.com/library.htm will give you a list of the articles Dr. Feeman has written on Greyhound health - again, a great resource to print out for yourself and your vet.


I use Glycoflex II for all of my guys. I usually order it from either KV Vet or Entirely Pets online, and save quite a bit of $$.


I think your baby boy is going to be around for a long time to come. ;)


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Wow, I wasn't expecting this many detailed replies! He's risen .1 (from 1.8) in six months, though my vet offered mild concern back then as well.


I have always done yearly bloodwork so I had a "baseline" reading should any suspicion of illness crop up. Neyla's creatinine has always been above normal, and has varied as much as 0.3 over the years when she's been healthy so I wouldn't not worry about an increase of 0.1 at all. Like everyone else has said, this sounds like a normal creatinine value for a greyhound. If you want to be cautious, check blood work again relatively soon. If you want to be super cautious, switch from Deramaxx to Tramadol. But I'm not sure Tramadol will offer the same type of pain relief that an NSAID will. If it were me, I'd leave him on the Deramaxx and recheck bloodwork in a few months, or sooner if symptoms of kidney issues appeared.


Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest BradyzMommy

Brady , our five year old grey, died from complications due to an NSAID (Previcox).


It's good to be aware of the complications, but only 2% of dogs are affected so severely.

As long as you are aware of the risks and have him tested monthly, he should be fine.

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