Uremia is an acute, usually fatal disease, characterized by the accumulation of urinary products in the blood stream. Dog uremia is caused by the breakdown of kidney tissue with the result that the proper functioning of the kidney is disrupted and waste materials that should go into the formation of urine become absorbed into the blood instead. The disease may occur in animals of all ages but is much more common in old ones.
Animals with uremia usually present a picture of extreme depression, intermittent vomiting and diarrhea, and a strong, fetid odor from the mouth. The veterinarian makes a positive diagnosis of dog uremia by urine analysis. It may take months and sometimes years before there is sufficient destruction of kidney tissue to give rise to symptoms of uremia. Unless the diagnosis is quickly established and bold therapeutic measures are taken, the animal will usually die. If too much destruction of tissue has already taken place, the animal will die no matter what is done.
The routine manner of handling this condition is to apply heavy doses of dextrose and saline so that the animal does not get depleted. A nonirritating diuretic, such as ascorbic acid, is also indicated. Blood transfusions are of further help. Unfortunately the ordinary case of dog uremia is usually presented to the veterinarian when the animal is beyond hope. The owner is generally advised to have the animal put to sleep because of the hopelessness of the condition and the expense of the treatment. However, if the owner is willing, the veterinarian will throw everything in the book at the animal, and if it does happen to recover, it will be due less to the skill of the veterinarian than to an aggregate of factors beyond his direct control.
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