Renal dysplasia in dogs is a developmental abnormality of one or both kidneys that is present when a puppy is born. It is characterized by small, mis shapen kidneys that don’t mature normally. It may be caused by bacterial or viral infection of fetal tissues; canine herpesvirus is one potential contributor. Alternatively, it may happen because the mother is exposed to toxins while she’s pregnant, or because the fetus is physically traumatized. Genetics almost certainly play a significant role. Some dogs with renal dysplasia never act sick.

When symptoms do occur, they usually aren’t very specific and may include urinary abnormalities. The first symptoms may be observed in severely affected puppies immediately after weaning. Excessive thirst, excessive volume of urine, and pale urine may be noted at this time. Due to post-natal development of the kidneys, normal puppies produce a pale dilute urine until six weeks of age. One can become suspicious of renal dysplasia around eight weeks of age if excessive drinking is noticeable. Failure to have normal heat cycles, appetite and weight loss, stunted growth, pale mucous membranes, dull dry hair coat, poor body condition, weakness, lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, oral ulcers, bad breath and pain.

When an owner notices several of these symptoms, they should seek veterinary advice.


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