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Clinical Services » Urology » Renal Failure

Renal Failure

Renal failure is the irreversible loss of kidney function. The kidneys are very important organs and they perform many necessary functions in the body. They are in charge of filtering out waste products and balancing electrolytes. Without properly functioning kidneys, toxins build up in the bloodstream and electrolytes are thrown off balance. The kidneys also produce the hormones renin and erythropoietin. Renin is involved in blood pressure management and erythropoietin causes the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen through the body and when their numbers are decreased weakness occurs.

Renal failure can occur in a chronic or acute fashion. Chronic renal failure is a progressive loss of renal function. Acute renal failure is a rapid loss of function due to damage to the kidneys.

Only 30% of the kidney capacity is needed for normal kidney function. So, once we notice signs of renal dysfunction there is potential that 70% of kidney capacity has been lost. Clinical signs of renal failure are numerous, but commonly include increased thirst, increased urination, loss of appetite, ulceration of the mouth and weakness. Some animals will vomit as a result of a build-up of toxins in the bloodstream.

Certain tests can be run to determine renal function. Blood tests will show an increase in substances that are normally filtered by the kidneys, specifically Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine. An increase in these blood chemistries is termed azothemia. A urine sample should be tested to look for the kidney’s ability to concentrate urine.

In trying to control renal failure we look mainly at decreasing the work load on the kidneys. This can be done with a combination of special diet and medications.

Kidney transplants are now available to renal failure patients. Dialysis is another option in managing renal failure. These services are offered at the following facilities.

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