Chronic kidney disease is a leading cause of death in dogs. If it progresses to the point of renal failure, your vet is likely to prescribe subcutaneous fluid therapy and medications to control vomiting and reduce gastric acid secretions. Your pooch's doctor may determine that a feeding tube is necessary -- but if you prefer a more a less invasive approach, consider natural and holistic treatment options.
As they filter waste from his body, your pooch's kidneys depend on microscopic units called nephrons to purify the blood and keep toxins from building up. Your pet is born with more nephrons than he needs, the extras taking over for the ones lost when they die over time or become damaged. But once your pet has lost up to two-thirds of his nephrons, his ability to conserve water will diminish, resulting in frequent urination, diluted urine and a buildup of waste in the blood.
Chronic kidney disease has many causes, including high blood pressure, birth defects, consumption of toxic substances, chronic bacterial kidney infection and diseases of the immune system. Unfortunately, because symptoms of kidney failure don't present until the condition is well under way, by the time CKD can be diagnosed, it may be too late to address the cause. Holistic medicine advocates suggest taking a whole-lifestyle approach to staving off and in some cases even preventing further damage. A holistic perspective on treating kidney disease would lean toward management of the condition by altering your dog's lifestyle through diet, supplements, exercise and stress reduction.
Rather than following convention, which usually calls for restricting protein in the diet through its reduction or elimination, the holistic dietary approach is to improve the quality of your pup's diet by feeding him more natural, digestible proteins. Your holistic veterinary practitioner may advocate the use of nutritional supplements that are targeted to kidney tissue maintenance and support. Additional supplements might be prescribed by a holistic vet to replace some of the nutrients your pet loses through the more frequent urination that is experienced during kidney disease.
Acupuncture, says Dr. Jeannette Thomason in a 2013 The Whole Dog article, "Kidney Disease in Dogs," can help slow the progression of a dog's kidney disease, boost his energy levels and stimulate the kidneys. Injections of vitamin B12, Thomason says, may be included with the acupuncture treatments, and homeopathic treatment may be added, as well. Probiotics and enzymes added to your pup's food can help better assimilate the nutrients, Thomason says, and green foods like chorella and blue-green algae will help detoxify the blood, easing the kidney workload.
- dvm360.com: Staging and Management of Canine Chronic Kidney Disease
- HomeVet: Holistic Approaches to Chronic Kidney Disease
- Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center: Treatment for Kidney Disease
- HomeVet: Managing Chronic Kidney Disease in Cats and Dogs
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Chronic Kidney Disease and Failure (CKD, CRF, CRD)
- American Bullmastiff Association: Health & Research: Kidney Disease
- The Whole Dog: Kidney Disease in Dogs
- Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images