Nephritic syndrome in dogs usually occurs secondary to other diseases and can easily be confused for liver problems.
It can be mild in some dogs, while in others it can be life threatening.
It can develop very rapidly into fluid buildups in the abdominal cavity, a very sudden difficulty in breathing, and it also cause your dog to loss their vision.
This potentially very damaging disease can affect all breeds and all age groups; however, it does seem to attack middle aged dogs a lot more frequently as well as some of the larger breeds.
In very severe cases, this syndrome cannot be treated successfully.
Nephritic syndrome in dogs is a combination of several factors that seem to attack your dog all at the same time and thus the reference to this disease as a syndrome.
It is the result of protein that has entered into your dog’s urine and then produces low protein in the blood.
It also shows symptoms of high cholesterol as well as edema.
Edema is a high concentration of fluid anywhere in their body.
However, there are additional symptoms that include high blood pressure and blood clots that can cause blockage in your pet’s blood vessels.
For this reason, nephritic syndrome is almost always associated with Hematuria, which is the presence of blood in your dog’s urine, specifically red blood cells.
This condition is not always visible by the naked eye until it increases in severity, but it is a sign that your dog is bleeding somewhere in the genitourinary tract.
This includes the kidneys, the ureters which are the tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder, or the urethra, the tube that carries the blood from the bladder out of the body.
There are several symptoms that you can watch for in nephritic syndrome in dogs.
The first symptom will be Edema, which is an abnormally large fluid buildup in your dog’s circulatory system or in the tissues between their cells or the intestinal spaces.
Under normal circumstances, your dog’s body maintains the same amount of water entering the body that leaves the body very easily.
Your pets body transports fluid by a series of blood vessels, and this fluid will contain both oxygen and nutrients needed by the cells in your dog.
After the nutrients are used up, the fluid moves back into the vessels and then travels back into the heart.
The lymphatic system in your pet carries white blood cells that fight infection as well as using and transporting this fluid.
In edema, either too much fluid moves form the blood vessels into the tissues, or not enough fluid moves back into the tissues.
This causes swelling in your dog that can be very mild to extreme and very dangerous; but it is almost always the first sign that your dog has this syndrome.
The next symptom of nephritic syndrome in dogs that you can watch for is acute dyspnea, which is a sudden difficulty in breathing or an excessive and labored panting.
This condition is caused by your dog not getting enough oxygen to their tissues and is almost always associated with edema in the lungs or the chest cavity.
However, the most telling symptom of nephritic syndrome will be the very sudden loss of vision by your dog.
This can be extremely dangerous to your pet as it is generally caused by systematic hypertension which is high blood pressure that has triggered a blockage of the blood vessels by blood clots.
Although nephritic syndrome in dogs is a syndrome meaning that there are several conditions attacking your dog’s immune system at one time, there are two common causes of nephritic syndrome.
The first is Glomerulonphritis, also referred to as GN.
Your dog’s kidneys consist of thousands of very small filters that are called glomeruli that filter both the water as well as small substances from the bloodstream.
The tubes of the kidney than reabsorb the vital substances that the blood and cells need and leaves what is not needed as well as a very small amount of water in the urine.
GN is where these units become inflamed and antibodies and antigens get trapped in the glomeruli which in turn activate your dog’s immune system into action.
However, in doing so, it damages the glomeruli and the result is an excessive loss of the protein in your dog’s system that travels out through their urine.
The next cause is of nephritic syndrome in dogs is Amyloidosis, which is a relatively uncommon disorder of protein metabolism in dogs.
There is a protein called amyloid that is deposited in your dog’s kidneys.
This protein is made up of several complex proteins that are deposited in your pet’s tissues and are starch-like in substance.
This protein has been associated with several diseases but most predominately rheumatoid arthritis and protein loss as several dogs cannot metabolize protein properly.
Treatment for Nephritic syndrome in dogs will depend on the major cause, if it can be determined.
If it is caused by kidney failure or severe edema, your dog will have to be hospitalized for several days until the symptoms can be corrected.
However, in most cases it can be very difficult to treat and will lead to kidney failure and further accumulation of fluids.
The best chance your dog may have is to immediately place them on a low fat, low protein diet directed by your veterinarian.
The best preventive measures that you can take with this mysterious syndrome is to ensure that your dogs diet is balanced with vitamins and minerals.
You should also be very diligent against excessive amounts of protein, as this may be the trigger point.