Chronic Kidney Disease Pets Cats Dogs


  • ACE Inhibitors
    a class of drugs showing either antihypertensive and antiproteinuric/renoprotective effect.
  • Acidosis
    The accumulation of acids in the blood; if metabolic, it is usually consequent to result of the kidneys not being able to manage the acid load, or losing excessive bicarbonate in the urine.
  • Acute Kidney Injury
    The kidneys stop working suddenly, or over a period of days to weeks. Whether they can be started up again, that depends on the cause and on treatment been instituted.
  • Agenesis
    Lacking of kidney growing and developing. Survival is possible only if this occurs on one side.

  • Albumin
    A protein greatly represented in the blood. If the kidneys are leaking proteins, usually albumin appears in urine. If the albumin loss through urine is severe, a condition called hypoalbuminemia (reduction in blood albumin level) will develop.

  • Amlodipin
    drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure.

  • Amyloidosis
    Even if there are several types of amyloidosis, almost all can cause kidney damage. They often cause nephrotic syndrome (see below) but may go on to cause decrease of renal function.

  • Anuria
    Insufficient/absent urine production/excretion. Medical management should be provided fast.

  • Biopsy (renal)
    Taking a tissue sample of one or both kidneys in order to get diagnostic and prognostic directions.

  • Blood pressure
    High systemic arterial pressure (systemic hypertension, see below) is very common in kidney diseases, leading to further kidney damage.

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
    A disease affecting the kidney at least for 3 months; could be associated with Chronic Renal Insufficiency or not.

  • Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI)
    Total renal function is permanently decreased; serum creatinine, BUN and phosphorus level rise due to accumulation of wasting products within the organism. It could be asymptomatic (earlier stages of the disease) until severe illness is present.

  • Conservative medical management
    The management of kidney disease with a medical approach including drugs and diet. The main aim of the medical conservative management is slowing the progression of the disease and ameliorate life quality of nephropatic patients.

  • Creatinine
    It is a chemical waste product within the organism and detectable in the blood that passes through the kidneys to be then eliminated in urines. Checking serum creatinine levels helps to evaluate kidney function.

  • Creatinine clearance
    A specific exam that gives a fairly accurate estimation to how well the kidneys are working even when damage is only slight.

  • Cysts in the kidneys
    Fluid filled lesions usually found in the renal parenchyma; if small and just one or two simple, they are a common finding even in not ill dogs and cats. If there are numerous cysts, a diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) should be ruled out.
  • Dehydration
    Dehydration occurs when your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. It's caused both by limited fluid intake or fluid losses (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Diabetes insipidus
    not to be confused with diabetes mellitus (too much sugar in the blood). Patients affected produce a lot of urine because the kidneys are not able to control the amount of urine normally (they are not able to correctly concentrate urine). May be treated with drugs to be administered lifetime
  • Diet for kidney disease (Renal Diet)
    diet represents a milestone of the treatment of kidney diseases. Renal diets contain reduced level of proteins, reduced content in phosphorus and sodium and increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids and added antioxidants. All these components help to slower the progression of kidney disease, normal blood pressure whilst ensure a balanced intake of nutrients.
  • Dysuria
    Word used to generically describe a disorder of micturition. Cystitis is probably the most common cause of dysuria.
  • Edema
    Accumulation of fluid in the body (eg. subcutaneous space). In kidney disease, edema may be present in patients affected by nephrotic syndrome (see below), or it may be a sign of generalised fluid accumulation. The same of Oedema.
  • End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
    At this stage, CRI is usually likely to lead to death within weeks or months.
  • Fanconi syndrome
    A disorder caused by damage to the renal tubules, and leading to excessive loss of solutes (minerals and other substances in the urine). It may be an acquired condition (some toxins might cause that) or inherited in a variety of breeds (eg. Basenji)
  • Fluid therapy
    the administration of fluids to a patient as a treatment to relace/mantain adequate hydration, glucose or mineral balance in the body. It can be administered mostly via an intravenous, subcutaneous and oral routes.
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
    A test measuring how well the kidneys are working. Can be perfomed by injecting a small amount of a radioactive substance and seeing how fast it disappears, or by other methods. It allows to detect kidney function abnormalities even in presence of normal serum creatinine concentrations
  • Glomerulonephritis
    Inflammation of the glomeruli. A large variety of conditions can cause that. Glomerulonephritis can be suspected from abnormal blood and/or urine exams, but final diagnosis can be reached only by renal biopsy.
  • Glomerulus
    One of the filtering units of the kidney composed by a tuft of highly branched capillaries; in the kidney, glomeruli are confined to the renal cortex.
  • Haemodialysis (HD)
    One type of dialysis treatment used to replace kidney function.
  • Hydronephrosis
    Distension and dilation of the excretory system (renal pelvis and calyces), most common secondary to partial or total obstruction of the ureter by stones, tumors, trauma and other diseases. Can be diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound, radiography or CT.
  • Hypertension
    High blood pressure. It needs treatment in order to avoid further progression of kidney disease and damage to other target organs (brain, hearth, nervous system).
  • Hypoplasia
    Kidney/s is/are underdeveloped. If it occurs on both sides, abnormalities in blood and/or urinalysis could be found.
  • International Renal Interest Society
    staging system of CKD that has been proposed and accepted worldwide. More info at
  • Intravenous Urography (IVU)
    A radiologic procedure used to show the ureters and bladder and identify kidneys. An injection of contrast medium is required. Usually performed in case of suspected trauma, neoplasia, anatomical defects.
  • Lithotripsy
    Procedure used to destroy stones in the urinary excretory system. It should be perfomed under general anesthesia.
  • Nephropathy
    It just means kidney disease.
  • Nephrotic syndrome
    A condition characterized by hypoalbuminemia, edema and other complications, consequent to leaking of protein from the kidneys into the urine.
  • Obstruction and obstructive nephropathy
    Urine cannot flow out because of a block at any point of the excretory system. It can cause permanent kidney damage if the obstruction is not relieved within days (or weeks).
  • Oliguria
    Insufficient urine production or excretion. Fast medical management should be provided.
  • Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)
    One type of dialysis treatment used to replace kidney function.
  • Phosphate
    Level might be high depending on the stage of the renal disease. Hyperphosphatemia should be controlled by diet and by taking phosphate binders. If not controlled, it could lead to other complications.
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
    An inherited kidney disease, most common in cats (particularly, Persians, Exotics and British). Cystic lesions develop; if cysts grow up in size, they can overrun the surrounding functional parenchyma leading to pain and CRI.
  • Polydipsia
    Excessive thirst. Can be caused by kidney disease, but other causes, most of all diabetes, should be ruled out.
  • Polyuria
    Excessive urine production. Can be caused by kidney disease, but other causes, most of all diabetes, should be ruled out.
  • Pyelonephritis
    Infective disease most commonly affecting both kidneys. Bacteria can reach the kidney through the blood or, most commonly, ascending from the lower urinary system as a complication of the lower urinary tract infection.
  • Reflux nephropathy
    Backward flow of urine up the ureters which leads, finally, to kidney damage.
  • SDMA
    A new renal biomarker that should be run alongside creatinine, BUN, and a urinalysis to help diagnose kidney disease earlier and with more confidence.
  • Stones
    Also known as “uroliths” or “calculi”, they develop when urinary minerals clump forming crystals or stones. Blood in urine might be seen. Predisposing factors such as infections, diet and anatomical defects should be ruled out.
  • Transplant
    A treatment option in ESRD. A new kidney taken from a “donor” is implanted in the recipient which will take treatment even afterwards (usually, immunosuppressive drugs).
  • Tubules
    A long series of ducts in the nephron, which are collectively called renal tubules. They join onto each glomerulus (filtering unit) in the kidney.
  • Ultrasound
    A type of imaging test, safe, used to examine kidney size, shape and vascularisation.
  • Uraemia
    Clinical signs related to high levels of waste products (uremic toxins) within the body, because of kidneys impairment.
  • Urea
    A compound made in the body as a waste product from protein. Measurement of urea level in blood reveals how well the kidneys are working, but can be affected from other factors (eg. diet, hydration of the patient, cardiac and endocrine diseases).
  • Ureters
    The tubes joining each kidney to the bladder; normally, they are one on each side.
  • Urethra
    The tube connecting the bladder to the genitals allowing the removal of urine from the body.
  • Urethritis
    Inflammation of the urethra, commonly causing discomfort at micturition (dysuria). It is usually caused by infections or iatrogenic causes such as catheterism.
  • Urinary Protein to Creatinine ratio (UP/C)
    Test performed to quantify the protein loss through the urine
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
    an infection in any part of the urinary system from kidneys to the urethra.
  • Urine Specific Gravity (USG)
    Can be detected by urinalysis and correlates with the ability of the kidney to concentrate urine; if abnormal, not always it is pathologic (other physiologic conditions should be ruled out).
  • Vasculitis
    Inflammation of blood vessels. If it involves kidneys, can cause serious kidney diseases.