Treatment of CKD aims at:
- Improving both clinical condition and quality of life
- Prolonging survival time
- Slowing the progression of renal disease
Once chronic kidney disease has been diagnosed, it is recommended:
- Stop any drugs with certain or potential nephrotoxicity;
- Identify and treat any concurrent disease influencing renal function and determining renal damage. In some patients, other pathologic conditions (such as endocrinopathies) can make difficult either staging renal disease and setting an adequate therapy;
- Investigate all causes leading to renal damage and, if possible, treat it. Sometimes, a renal biopsy can be useful to evaluate histologic lesions; in case of proteinuria, results of renal biopsy can provide a specific diagnosis and therapy;
- To apply a conservative approach of clinical conditions associated to kidney failure such as metabolic, acid-base and electrolytic imbalances. Therapy is addressed to correct hydration and mineral disorders, acid-base alterations and nutritional impairments. Patients benefit from symptomatic treatment improving their quality of life although azotemia is not significantly modified as this is undoubtedly just one of the factors contributing to the clinical picture of renal patients.
As general recommendations, clinically stable dogs and cats affected from CKD should undergo a clinical examination and laboratory evaluations based on their IRIS stage (www.iris-kidney.com)
- every 12 months in IRIS stage 1
- every 6 months in IRIS stage 2
- every 4 months in IRIS stage 3
- every 6-8 weeks in IRIS stage 4
Clinical Evaluation– Other than general and particular clinical examination, a special attention goes to the nutritional condition of the patient, determined by body weight, Body Condition and Muscle Condition Score (available both for dogs and cats at WSAVA). Nutritional status of patients affected by CKD is related to risk of developing uremic crisis and mortality: bad nutritional condition is associated to higher risk of uremic crisis and mortality for renal related causes. Blood pressure is determined too and hypertensive patients are put under treatment.
Laboratory exams– Once CKD has been diagnosed, Veterinarian proceeds to request the laboratory exams useful to identify concurrent pathologies known to determine renal damage or the progression of kidney disease. After the initial evaluation of a complete blood count, biochemistry and urinalysis (included UPC) the Veterinarian will be requesting further exams based on patient’s laboratory results and clinical history such as exams for infectious disease, endocrinopathies, ect.
Below are IRIS stages and most common disorders by stage (modified from Polzin, 2006 and 2019)
|Clinical signs||IRIS stage|
|Anorexia and weight loss||3-4|
*although it is possible to identify hypertensive patients in any stage of the disease, the prevalence of hypertension increases with increasing of IRIS staging