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The Difference Between Chronic Kidney Failure and Acute Kidney Failure in Pets

Chronic Kidney Failure and Acute Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats 

Herbal nutrition to help address symptoms of kidney dysfunction, kidney failure and problems related to chronic kidney failure & acute kidney disease in dogs and cats.

When the kidneys are taxed or compromised, nutritional and rehabilitative support must be given to the kidneys as well as nutritional support to the liver, and the cardiovascular, circulatory and autonomic nervous systems.

The endocrine system, which controls glandular and hormonal function for all cells in the animal body, also impacts many body organs and systems, including the kidneys. If your pet experiences adrenal fatigue or a thyroid disorder, it can nutritionally disrupt and stress critical support to the kidneys and liver.  

The kidneys are responsible for many critical functions, including the regulation of fluids, electrolytes and electrolyte balance and acid based balance. Kidneys also filter and excrete metabolic wastes such as urine, as well as regulate blood pressure and the production of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. As kidneys perform so many tasks and are already fragile organs, they are often the first body organ to break down in older pets.

Has your dog or cat been diagnosed with kidney failure? There is a difference between acute and chronic kidney failure. Acute kidney failure occurs suddenly. Chronic kidney failure occurs over time. 

Acute kidney failure occurs when your pet's kidneys are no longer able to remove waste from the blood, resulting in a buildup of toxins, which can be fatal. A dog or cat with kidney failure may be related to ingesting poison related to anti-freeze, raisins or grapes as well as a reaction to medications and/or therapies including antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.

Acute kidney failure can also be related to bacterial infections, congestive heart failure or an animal may simply not have had access to fresh, clean water, and is critically dehydrated. A pet suffering from acute kidney failure requires immediate hospitalization with emergency treatment of intensive fluid therapy.

Common Symptoms of Acute Kidney Failure: 

Loss of appetite



Walking with stiff legs

Lethary or lack of desire to move

An arched back related to kindey pain 

Little or no urination (amount and frequency) 

To test for dehydration in dogs or cats, gently pull the skin away from your pet’s back. If the skin does not immediately spring back, your pet may be dehydrated.

Chronic kidney failure is more common in older dogs and cats and is usually a slow, progressive disease that normally may go undetected for a long period of time. You may or may not notice changes in your pet until chronic kidney failure presents. When the kidneys have lost 70 to 75 percent of their healthy, functioning cells, kidney failure begins. Up until this point, kidney cells may be deteriorating or dying gradually, however, supportive care may help halt or limit the progression. 

Common Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Failure: 

Increased thirst

Frequent urination with large quantities of pale urine

Poor appetite

Weight loss






Bad breath

Mouth ulcers (in later critical stage)

Chronic kidney failure can also be related to diet. A diet that contains an excessive amount of phosphorus along with too little usable calcium can interrupt the kidney's ability to eliminate phosphorus effectively. When this happens, kidney stones may form or kidney tissue may degenerate, which can lead to kidney failure. 

Some holistic veterinarians suggest low-protein diets for dogs with chronic kidney failure as they generate fewer nitrogenous wastes. A related problem to a low protein diet is that your pet may not get sufficient nutrition from its food so adding in a supportive kidney supplement along with organic, natural eggs and yogurt, etc. may help provide critical nutrients. 

Animals can also develop kidney problem as a result of other diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, congenital and inherited disorders, and autoimmune diseases. As animals with chronic kidney failure usually do not show symptoms until they have lost 75 percent of their kidney functions, it is often impossible to reverse the disease at that stage. Once diagnosed, proper nutrition and natural supplementation may help slow down the progression. 

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies can be highly effective in helping to ease symptoms related to kidney failure and kidney disease; may help slow disease progression, may help repair the kidneys and liver; may help support kidney conditions and function; may help support proper urinary function; may help purify and cleanse the blood; may help promote kidney, liver and urinary tract health and may help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Stix & Stones – (learn more) promotes improved kidney function, helps to break up kidney, liver, gallbladder and bladder stones and gravel (active stones, crystals and as a preventative); helps to safely remove stones from the body; helps to treat urinary tract infections (bladder and kidney infections; for kidney and liver disease; tones and balances kidney, liver, intestine, pancreas, gall bladder function and health; reduces uric acid levels in urine; increases urination, blocks the formation of calcium crystals such as calcium oxalate and prevents them from entering kidney and bladder cells, provides pH modulation, for urinary system disorders and pathologies and for hepatic insufficiency. This product has been proven to be 90% effective at addressing urinary tract infections, and all types of stones, gravel, calculi and crystals in dogs and cats.

Urinary Tract Infection Meal Topper  – (learn more) Organic Urinary Tract Infection may nutritionally help support healthy kidney function and its natural plant adaptogen content may help identify the source of the urinary tract infection at a cellular level and nutritionally work to help restore balance in the bladder, kidneys and ureters; may help moderate cortisol and calcium levels in the blood; may help normalize pH levels toward balance (neither acidic or alkaline); may work to help limit all types of future urinary tract infections (UTI's) and stone formation and crystal formation by blocking their formation in the kidneys and bladder (i.e. calcium oxalate stones from acidic urine; struvite stones from alkaline urine); may help address and break up commonly occurring stone formation related to kidney, liver, gallbladder and bladder stones, gravel, crystals and calculi; adaptogen content helps carry out reparative actions against cellular dysfunction that allows stones to form by helping to block unwanted material from entering kidney cells and supporting their safe elimination in the urinary tract; suitable for all life stages of dogs and cats.

Hepa Protect – (learn more) helps support proper liver function and metabolism, bile production and flow, helps rehabilitate and repair the performance and health of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gall bladder, helps rehabilitate and detoxify the kidneys and liver; helps tone and balance the connective tissue of the liver, kidneys and bladder; helps normalize liver enzyme levels; helps regulate kidney acid/alkaline levels, for all types of stones and gravel of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gallbladder, including oxalate and struvite crystals and stones;helps reduce uric acid, for gall bladder inflammation, gall stones and gallbladder infections, for renal colic and renal calculi; helps to protect red blood cell formation, useful in diseases such as ehrlichia and ehrlichiosis.

Yummy Tummy – (learn more) promotes Probiotic digestive, urinary, bladder and gall bladder support, for all types of digestive disorders, promotes proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, for bladder (cystitis) and kidney (pyelonephritis) infections, tones and strengthens the connective tissue of the bladder related to urine leakage and urinary incontinence; for Candida including systemic Candida as a natural, plant-based steroid alternative, provides important support for cramping, pain, discomfort, Gastroenteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), prostate inflammation, BHP, prostatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) and Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS).

Conventional Remedies:

Diagnosis of kidney failure involves a blood test and a urine test. As the functions of the kidneys deteriorate, excessive amounts of nitrogen, acids, ammonia, and other chemical wastes are retained in the blood and tissues, a condition called uremia.

The extent to which uremia is present is determined by a blood test that measures the blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and electrolytes. Dogs and cats with chronic kidney failure have high BUN and creatinine levels. (Normal BUN and creatinine levels are about 10-25 mg/dl and 1-2 mg/dl, respectively.)

Subcutaneous fluid therapy may be recommended. Adding in a supportive supplement may help nutritionally support the kidneys and may help slow disease progression.



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