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Rimadyl and kidney problems.

Species: Dog
Breed: Yorkshire Terrier
Age: 11-15 years
On November 24 2010, Trixie got into the neighbors trash. She was vomiting and had bloody diarhea. I took her to the emergency vet and they kept her overnight and gave her fluids. (She had been on Rimadyl since Sept) the vet said I could resume her Rimadyl. On Tuesday, 5 days later, she vomited again and we went to our vet, she had a blood test which indicated high bun of 85 (normal is under 31) and high creatine of 2.0 (normal is 1.2 and below)urinalaysis was normal. We permanently ceased giving her the Rimadyl. She received fluids for 4 days and within 4 days her creatinine had returned to normal of 1.2, however bun was still elevated at 56, a week later bun was 51 creatinine 1.1, a week after that bun was 47, creatinine 1.1, 2 weeks later her bun has returned to normal of 31, creatinine is 1.0. During all this time we have tried to transition her to the Royal Canin LP diet. She hates it, we have mixed chicken, half chicken with half lp. She eats about 5 tablespoons a day. She initially weighed 5.7 pounds, then 5.6, now 5.5. So she is loosing weight. My question is, my vet said she needs to stay on the Prescription Royal Canin lp for life. Is this necessary even though her renal problem was acute and her levels are in the normal range now? What can I do to get her to eat more? We may go for a B12 shot tommorrow to see if that will stimulate her appetite. She has just gotten to be so picky with her eating. Any suggestions would be helpful, but I am mainly concerned about her being on the kidney diet for life even though her levels are within the normal range. Also would like to know if Rimadyl could have caused this problem? Thanks so much

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is an interesting question.

You mentioned that her urinalysis was normal. Can you find out what her specific gravity was? This number tells us how well concentrated the urine is. A normal dog will have a specific gravity of around 1.030. If a dog has serious kidney problems then the specific gravity will be between 1.008 and 1.012. And if a dog is dehydrated we will often see a number higher than 1.045.

The reason why I am asking this is that BUN and Creatinine can be elevated because of dehydration as well. So, the specific gravity is quite important to know. If the specific gravity has not been in the 1.008 to 1.012 range then it's possible that all along there is something other than kidney disease going on.

Now to address your concerns about the Rimadyl. Rimadyl is an NSAID. Any NSAID can have effects on the kidneys or liver. However, in a healthy dog with healthy kidneys it is very unlikely for Rimadyl to cause kidney disease. On the other hand, if there was a pre-existing kidney problem then Rimadyl could make it worse.

So should she be on LP for life? This is a tough question to answer. If her specific gravity was initially between 1.008 and 1.012 and now it is back to normal then I would be inclined to let her eat a regular senior dog food.

However, if her specific gravity is still in this range then, even though the kidney enzymes are normal she can still have what is called renal insufficiency. This means that the kidneys are not working at full capacity, but they are not sick enough to be called renal failure. If this is the case then she really should stay on a food for dogs with kidney problems.

At Trixie's age there is a definite possibility that she has age related problems with her kidneys. If this is the case then we need to do everything we can to help her kidneys stay healthy.

There are other brands of kidney foods available through your vet so you can talk to them about trying a different type of food. You can also ask them about adding a medication called famotidine which is very helpful for increasing the appetite of dogs with kidney problems.

I hope this helps, and I hope she is feeling better soon!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your fast response. We went today and I took in a sample from this morning (kept it refridgerated) and her urine specific gravity is 1.032, he said that was very good. So her bun is 31, creatinine is 1.0. I questioned him again about the royal canin lp and he said that is was a good food for senior dogs and we should keep her on it. I guess I am just curious about why. I mix it with chicken so she will eat it. She just does not like the food. She also had gained weight, she is now 5.75, previously 5.5. However, she did get a b12 shot today. Again thank you for your help, I just wanted a second opinion on the food. If I change her to a senior food, what are your comments about Wellness Senior? My 11 year old male Yorkie loves it, I mix the canned with the kibble and he gobbles it up. He has allergies so I think less grain is better.

Also do you think it is advisable to get a Urine kit for dogs, where I can test at home on occasion, just to make sure both dogs are healthy?

Thanks again for your help.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!

A specific gravity of 1.032 is quite good for a senior dog. It means that the kidneys are concentrating really well.

LP is a decent food for senior dogs because it is easy on the kidneys and liver. However, if your dog doesn't like it then I wouldn't be forcing her to eat it.

I do believe that the Wellness is a good food and should be fine. Now, if Trixie does not want to eat this food then I am concerned that something else is going on. But, if she is eating it then I think it is great for her to stay on it.

I would not advise buying a home urine test. There are too many variables that need to be interpreted. The most important thing to check on her urine is specific gravity and a home test won't tell you this. This test is likely a dipstick that can tell you if there is blood in the urine or a change in Ph but it won't be very helpful to tell you if there is kidney disease.

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.