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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, a bit of a sad day yesterday. We did a blood test ahead of our dog’s dental, and the vet called back telling me that Nala’s BUN and creatinine levels are high. She’s at 54 BUN, 2.2 creatinine outside the 31 / 1.6 high range values. We adopted her a couple months ago, and have been feeding her Kirkland kibble + boiled chicken with her meals. She also gets a lot of chicken treats and rotisserie chicken for training. We didn’t fast her before the blood test, and I’m wondering if a meaty diet could be causing elevated creatinine levels, or is processing food pretty real time and this indicates something more serious like kidney failure. She doesn’t thirst excessively, and doesn’t need to go pee all the time.

We have been slowly switching to Orijen the past week, but I’m thinking maybe better to switch to a food with less protein or switching to fresh cooked dog food from Just Food for Dogs. Really don’t want to do a kidney diet if that’s recommended just given how I read that dogs don’t do much better on them.

Would greatly appreciate any advice or thoughts! Thanks!
 

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I think you need to have a discussion with your vet. She's in kidney failure. It could be an acute failure, which means it's possible to reverse it to some extent based on fixing the cause. Or it could be chronic.

I would repeat the bloodwork with fasting, including the calcium and phosphorus to get a complete picture. Run a cbc to check for an infection and an urinalysis to check bacteria and protein in the urine.

We had a dog in stage 1 for years, switched to raw diet and using egg shells for calcium (because her phos. was high). She eventually died in a seizure at a very old age unrelated to the CRF that was caught during bloodwork for a dental exam as well. Once put on a raw diet, with her bad teeth that likely caused the CRF removed, her numbers stabilized and actually decreased. So No, a raw diet high in protein will not jack creatinine levels in our experience.
 

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I ditto what Jax recommended. I had a dog in acute renal failure - not sure exactly why but we think it was caused by a prescription anti-inflammatory. I kept him on his normal dog food, I hydrated him with sub-cu fluids for a month or so... after a month his numbers started slowly improving. After 6 months he was back in normal ranges. Don't give up hope, get a better picture on what is going on and come up with a plan along with your vet.

How old is she? There are a ton of groups and info on dogs with kidney problems. Do some reading, it will probably be encouraging. Generally, it can be managed for some time, unless it is severe and acute due to something like poisoning or something congenital. But make sure to educate yourself, and no, I in general would not recommend Origen right now, and I'd recommend considering a special diet- either home made or prescription.
 

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Be aware that in order to create a proper diet you will need to know if if calcium or the phosphorus is high. So do the fasting bloodwork and get a good baseline to start with. Keep in mind that the BUN number reacts to different things like stress and dehydration as well so you need to look at the whole picture.
 

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I would run a lepto test while you are at it -- it causes kidney failure. It's treatable if caught early enough. Kidney failure can be caused by many things, but this one is pretty common in some parts of the country.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your support! Yesterday was tough, but I was happy she was still playful with us, doing zoomies around the backyard out of the blue.

So my dog is estimated to be 2 years old per the rescue. Hard to say for sure, she's a white shepherd, so can't tell by muzzle, but her teeth are still sharp with a little tartar building on some of the molars.

I spoke to the vet again, and we will schedule another blood test in a month to see if her levels are going down. Will definitely fast her and add additional tests to make sure we get a better picture. She has been on Apoquel for 20 days so far (8 left) to help with her allergies, so maybe it might have something to do with it, ontop of switching to Orijen.

I need to do more research. Still trying to figure out how to manage her in the meantime before the next blood test. I'm wondering if I should switch her to higher quality lower protein kibble (TOTW / Fromm) or cooked dog food. I'm been considering switching to Just Food for Dogs or NomNom, since they are premade and some have lower protein diets. Just not fully sure if they abide by AAFCO nutrition guidelines. Raw is also an option too once I figure out how to get the right proportions and nutritional content. I'm also bringing water to her so she drinks more if she wants to if she's dehydrated, though she often doesn't care for it.

Sigh, we have been doing such a good job with training with treats, and now I feel like I can't anymore, unless I feed her kibble, which she doesn't particularly care for as a treat.
 

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Agreed. I would look for a reason for a 2 yr old to have kidney failure. Even pull her off the apoquel prior to the BW. To get a baseline
 
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