Kidney disease is much more common in cats and dogs as they age. It is estimated that 1 in 10 dogs and 3 in 10 cats will develop kidney disease within their lifetime. The kidneys are normally responsible for:

Certain factors, such as age and breed, may predispose pets to develop kidney disease. Underlying conditions, such as kidney infection, inflammation, and cancer, may also decrease kidney function. Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, have also been associated with the development of kidney disease in dogs.



Kidney disease is diagnosed based on a combination of blood and urine tests. Kidney disease can be staged based on certain blood values, urine values, and substage based on the presence of protein in the urine and/or high blood pressure. In order to diagnose and properly stage kidney disease, your veterinarian will recommend:

In addition, imaging, such as an abdominal X-ray or ultrasound, may be beneficial in looking for signs of kidney infection, cancer, or stones. Testing for infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, may also be recommended.


Kidney disease is a progressive disease, and treatment is directed at management. The goals of therapy include:

Regular monitoring and follow-up with your veterinarian will be necessary to monitor progression and stay on top of any changes in your pet.