As the pet ages and these cells are lost the neighboring cells must work twice as hard to compensate for the loss.
As a result, kidney problems may be present long before any visible signs are shown.
Tests can be done to diagnose this problem through blood and urine samples long before symptoms of kidney failure are apparent.
Some symptoms include increased water consumption, increased urination and lack of bladder control. Additionally, the dog may lose weight, go off its food, show weakness or vomit.
Once kidney problems have been diagnosed there are several things you can do to minimize the dogs discomfort such as diet management which is very important in dogs with kidney failure.
Certain restrictions may include the following: restricting phosphorus which may help in hormonal and mineral imbalance; restricting proteins which also may help cut out overwork by the kidneys in trying to filter out the protein by-products.
Sodium restriction is also highly recommended since dogs with kidney failure are at high risk for hypertension (high blood pressure); water soluble vitamins, especially B vitamins, can help replace those lost by the damaged kidneys; an increase in potassium is good since the damaged kidneys lose many important vitamins and minerals.
No cure is available but many things can be done to help the pet live a more comfortable and "normal" life.