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For Those Who've Had A Dog With Kidney Failure

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Diana's been doing fabulous for many months after being diagnosed with kidney failure. We put her on a well-researched home-cooked that she thrived on.


In the last few days she's refused to eat. DH can get a bit of bread or meat into her by hand-feeding her, but she barely had interest in that. I gave in and bought some (not-diet-appropriate) canned food just to try to get something in her. She ate a smidge.


She's had her spells with bad eating before, but she's so thin now. I'm trying to get food in her that won't crap up her kidneys, but I just can't see my dog not eat. For over 48 hours. So DH wants to give her whatever she will eat.


I'm torn. I'm going to make her a new batch of home-cooked tomorrow, but leave out the eggs and eggshell powder - maybe that's what turns her off. She's NOT an egg fan.


At what point do you just feed them whatever they'll eat? Even if you know it'll hurt them?



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Is Diana still drinking water?


My kidney kids went quickly and despite tempting them with non-healthy foods, they still would not eat.


Mine came to me late in their lives.


Perhaps I'm wrong but I say give her whatever she will eat.

Edited by macoduck


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Once she refused to eat, I just let her have whatever she wanted which wasn't much. When she started bleeding, I knew it was time. I still feel guilty and it was 3 years ago. Good luck, I hope you can get her to eat again.


Mine would eat her Ensure vanilla until the end. I felt that it was good for her.

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Diana is still drinking. Purchased Distilled water. Our home well-water has too many minerals. That was one of the changes we made when she was diagnosed that really seemed to make her perkier.


We've had Diana since she was 2. She's been a skinny thing her whole life.


I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. I'll make a new batch of home-cooked tomorrow. Use little noodles, (DH thinks she doesn't like the large shells I used last time) leave out the eggs and see how she likes it. It won't be quite as nutritionally appropriate as it SHOULD be, but it'll be close enough.


The "perfect food" I was feeding her, isn't working anymore. So I'm still hanging on by a thread and trying to give her "close" to "right". DH is going to give her whatever she will eat. Neither of us want to see our baby-girl hungry or wasting away. I guess we'll both do what we think is right by her.


I've heard of dogs living for years with kidney disease, Diana was diagnosed less than a year ago. She perked up amazingly when she was diagnosed and we changed her diet. But now - it's getting rough. She also has nerve issue, which isn't awful, but we have to watch that it doesn't progress to the point of impacting quality of life.

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I'm so sorry to read your dog is having to endure this awful disease. I've lost 3 to it over many years, one lasted 18 months post dx with good quality of life but the other two went in 6 and 8 weeks after seriously refusing food. Once they stop drinking water please let your dog go to the Bridge because, according to late stage kidney failure people without dialysis they feel not just awful but truly dire. You don't want to let your dog get to the seizure and other organ failure stage. I'd say that if flushing with sub-cutaneous fluids is no longer working well then it is time to watch their quality of life like a hawk.

It is truly heartbreaking to find yourself going all around the supermarkets trying every wet dog food there is, and all the cat foods and baby foods. Angel, my last one and one of those 'heart dogs' would just tip the dish upside down and push it away. '"I'm done" she was saying, "and hanging in there just for you". So in one way, trying all the different things is really for the human to ensure that they really have gone that last mile and another one. I wish I could be more positive.

Visit this high-volume canine kidney group for help/guidance, you'll find that you are absolutely not alone....

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I'm sorry you are going through this. I lost my beloved galgo, Cruz, to CRF in 2012. :grouphug

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I got Meeka at age 11 after her owner died. She had already had kidney disease for two years. She refused all the "right" foods, so I fed her whatever she would eat. She died of something else at 12.5.

We went through eggs, chicken, tuna, baby food, peanut butter, cat food, cream cheese, yogurt, milk, ensure, and anything else that worked. Make sure she is eating, try anything she will eat, and keep in touch with your vet.

My Misty recently stopped eating, and we went through all of the above, and more. She would only eat if I hand fed her while she was flat on her bed. At the end, she was only eating raw ground beef, scrambled eggs, and ensure. She wasn't eating enough to sustain herself, and lost five pounds per week for the last two weeks. She was so skinny and weak that I had to let her go. The vets think she probably had a brain tumor.

Try what you can, but watch what is going on besides refusing food. Keep an eye on her quality of life. In my case, Meeka was a happy, active dog until the end. Misty went downhill in two weeks. Besides not eating, she was lethargic and looked miserable. She was at the hospital once a week, had lots of tests, but was not responding to anything we tried.

I'm so sorry that you are at this point, but it does sound like you are at the try anything just in case stage. Don't worry about the right good at this point. Spoil her and make sure that she is comfortable. It does sound like you are running out of time. Hugs!

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Lots of protein, salt, etc. can make the dog feel even worse. Quite a few things do NOT fall into that category, and small amounts even of those things (e.g., tuna, chicken livers, a few steak strips) can help get the dog's appetite going again. Sometimes oddball things like Honey Nut Shredded Wheat, cinnamon bread, buttered noodles, cottage cheese are more appealing than anything that resembles a proper dog diet.


Hugs and hopes she finds her appetite today.

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There are so many more things to managing CKD than diet. Get new blood work done asap so you can see where her levels are at. Treatment choices depend on the stage of disease. And it's quite possible there is something simple you can do to help her. For instance, phosphorous levels are of great concern in kidney disease (moreso than protein) and if her phosphorous is really high that could be contributing to her feeling so crappy. There are medications that bind phosphorous and remove it from the system. That's just one possibility. You really need to follow up with your vet. Having said all of that, I am a firm believer in doing what you need to do to keep the dog eating in the meantime. As Batmom said, there are many things you can try first that may not be terrible for her from a disease perspective. A low phosphorous canned dog food might spark her interest.


Also, is she on fish oil? A medication like Pepcid?

Edited by NeylasMom


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

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I'm sorry if I came off negative. When Dawn was diagnosed, she had a couple of good years. She was on antibiotics part of every month and it helped her out. For quite some time, she was just fine. We had her for at least 2.5 years after that. Its just that when she started going downhill, it happened very quickly.

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Thanks all. Really good advice, and I appreciate it. I'm going to get her back to the vet for bloodwork as soon as I can get in. I really think she needs a phosphate binder. She's got "death breath" again like before she was diagnosed, so the toxins are building up. We're still trying to give her inventive low-phosphate, low salt and additive foods.


The weird thing is - she's acting totally normal. Tail-wagging, interested in everything. Her energy level has dropped again. She sleeps a lot. She doesn't act hungry at all (but she must be). She's still her happy, outgoing self. No signs of pain or discomfort, no nausea.


I did manage to interest her in peanut butter. Back when my first dog had SA we'd give him an almost-empty jar of peanut butter when we left. I tried this with Diana and she had a blast licking it out of the jar, and got a few calories in her belly. She had so much fun rolling it around and licking it out. I'm going to experiment with putting different things in the peanut butter jar. Heck - if she won't eat out of a dog-dish but she has fun (and eats) out of a jar - WHY NOT?


ETA - the nerve damage issue that wiped out the muscle above her cheekbone, now wiped out the one below it. It disappeared in the last 2 weeks. The vet will be shocked that the deterioration happened so quickly and yet her motor skills are not yet impaired.

Edited by sobesmom
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