How common is kidney disease in dogs?
There are two categories of kidney disease in pups. Acute kidney disease or injury (AKD) occurs when a dog consumes a poisonous substance such as harmful foods, unprescribed medications, and antifreeze, as well as lesser-known toxins such as grapes and the lily plant.
AKD can be highly serious, with a mortality rate of up to 45 percent according to a 2018 review by science nonprofit PLOS One. Rates of acute kidney disease in dogs may be increasing with the advent of legal weed across many states and Canada—the ASPCA’s poison control hotline has seen a dramatic uptick in cases related to accidental cannabis consumption by pets.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), on the other hand, is a long term degenerating condition otherwise known as renal failure. CKD is defined by VCA hospitals as the “inability of the kidneys to efficiently filter the blood of waste products.” Despite common misconceptions, failure does not mean the inability to produce urine.
Washington State University notes that CKD can have a variety of causes in dogs, such as high blood pressure or birth defects, but thanks to the disease’s long and slow progression, the cause may no longer be detectable at the point of diagnosis.
As for rates of chronic kidney disease in dogs, a 2013 UK review puts prevalence at anywhere between 0.37 and 3.4 percent of the pup population. Clarity on rates of CKD can be difficult because of the progressive nature of the disease, as well as the often long periods in which CKD goes undiagnosed.