Pet Symptom Checker

Progressive kidney failure

Medical name: Renal failure


  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Drinking more than usual
  • Bad breath
  • Lethargy
  • Pale mucous
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive salivation
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive water drinking
  • Weight loss
  • Unsteady walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mouth sores


Considering the life-long job description for a pet’s urinary system —to remove metabolic wastes from the body 24 hours a day while regulating the chemical and water components of the blood — it’s a wonder the system works as well as it does most of the time. Veteran pet owners hold their breath — ideally for many years — waiting for the first signs of trouble with their pet’s urinary system. Will it be lower urinary tract disease somewhere in the bladder or urethra? Will it be “stones” somewhere (like nephroliths in the kidneys, ureteroliths in the cat’s ureters, cystoliths in the urinary bladder, or urethroliths in the urethra)? Upper Urinary Tract Disease of various kinds can cause the kidneys themselves to malfunction. And of course the pet’s urinary system is subject to several types of cancer. With luck, your pet will go through life with nothing more than the occasional case of cystitis — a bladder infection — that usually clears up with appropriate medical treatment. These days many commercial pet foods for adult and senior pets are formulated to reduce the risk of urinary disease. If something happens — chronic kidney failure, for instance — further dietary change might be in order. Additional medications could be needed to treat side effects of urinary system disease, such as blood-pressure medicine for hypertension. And your vet can help determine a course of action -- treatment and diet change can aid quality-of-life for months or years. And of course, be sure to provide plenty of drinking water.

Zootoo does not provide veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.
If you think your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal care facility immediately.

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