Renal failure and hypertension are topics of lectures at PET Rio

Held at the SulAmérica Exhibition Center between March 25th and 27th, PET Rio Expo had two side events that drew the attention of the fair's audience - composed of professionals and entrepreneurs from the pet market. Opening the series of lectures that took place over the three days of the event, veterinarian Marcio Bernstein spoke about kidney failure and hypertension in dogs and cats, pointing out the causes, possible treatments and curiosities about these problems - so common in life of pets.

Responsible for the balance of a series of minerals present in the animal organism, for controlling blood volume and, consequently, blood pressure; the kidneys regulate the functions of the urinary system and filter all the blood that flows in the bodies of animals (and also humans). That said, it is clear that when there is some kind of dysfunction in these organs, the health of dogs and cats can suffer as a whole - and the complications associated with renal insufficiency today, they are the second leading cause of death for dogs and cats worldwide.

“The loss of the animal's renal capacity can be caused by a series of other diseases, and it is useless to try to solve the pet's kidney problems without first identifying the problems that contributed to the appearance of kidney complications. By diagnosing the disease that affects the kidneys, it is possible to treat it and, naturally, the animal's kidney functions also tend to improve ”, explains Bernstein.

According to him, diseases such as pyometra (which consists of a serious infection that occurs in the uterus of bitches) and babesiosis (which occurs due to the presence of ticks on the pet's body) are some of those that can contribute a lot for complications in the kidneys of animals, and enter the list of possible problems that, when treated, can alleviate the kidney damage of the pet.

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“Unfortunately, there is no concrete cure for kidney problems; and many end up failing to treat animals with this type of complication as a result. However, treating the diseases that generated kidney dysfunction, it is possible to improve this condition and prolong the animal's life by up to four years ”, says Marcio, who works as a veterinarian at the Renalvet chain.

According to the specialist, urea and creatinine are the main markers used to assess an animal's kidney conditions; however, only when the pet's kidneys already have more than 75% of their total taken by problems, is it possible to notice concrete variations in these meters. In these cases of considerable advance, the hormones that are also regulated by the kidneys are highly impaired due to the lack of this balance, and problems such as uremia (characterized by excess blood urea) can be noticed quite frequently in this type of situation.

Although the use of drugs that combine amino acids and simple carbon chains is widely used in the treatment of chronic kidney failure in dogs and cats, they are not able to cure the animal completely; although they can be considered efficient and greatly reduce the consequences that can appear due to the malfunction of the kidneys. Still on this topic, the specialist highlights the dangers of inaccurate diagnoses, which can cause the animal to receive a medication that, in addition to not treating the problem, masks the real and major complications.

“An animal that already has the condition of its kidneys very weak needs, first, to treat the problem that originated this dysfunction; since this is even more important than treating the kidney itself. However, in the case of pets that already have other immunodeficiency diseases, for example; even receiving treatment, you will hardly be able to have your life prolonged for a long time ”, comments Bernstein.

According to him, a series of diseases common to felines, such as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - better known as Feline AIDS) and FELV (Feline Leukemia Virus), can be factors of great relevance during a kidney treatment process, already which prevent improvement of the condition and, consequently, reduce the chances of prolonging the animal's life.

In addition to treatments using allopathic medications, the veterinarian states that the acupuncture and homeopathy they are also a valid means of ensuring increased welfare for the animal throughout the process - whether it is affected by any of the diseases described above or not.

“No animal should receive an exclusively holistic treatment, since improving the condition of the kidneys requires the administration of allopathic remedies to occur. However, both acupuncture and homeopathy can bring optimum results in the treatment of animals, when combined with other medications; because they can also help control blood pressure and even encourage the production of urine - which ends up being severely impaired in this type of chronic case ”, he explains.

Hypertension and renal failure

Alongside pediatric nephrologist Dr. Luiz Cerqueira, veterinarian Dr. Marcio Bernstein also addressed the ways in which problems linked to hypertension encourage the onset of conditions chronic kidney failure in dogs and cats, warning that veterinarians today take care to measure the pressure of animals in any type of consultation or care.

“In many cases, hypertension is discovered in animals due to casual consultations, and veterinarians must make pressure measurement a habit, carrying out this process in every type of animal visit to the clinic - even if only for vaccinations; since, with that, it is possible to detect problems that are beginning to appear and can be extremely harmful in the future ”, comments Bernstein.

According to him, when the blood pressure of a dog or cat passes the number 18, it can already be considered hypertensive and, considering that kidney patients they become hypertensive in most cases - and that hypertension is one of the main influencers of kidney failure - this type of attention becomes indispensable; since, completely connected, these complications can be identified earlier when professionals perform this type of verification. Digital veterinary device, stethoscope or doppler and sphygmomanometer are some of the recommended tools for this type of exam to be done.

“The hypertensive animal without control will have an increase in vasoconstrictor substances, and this causes vascular resistance to be high. This increases the resistance to blood flow, as well as the possibility of the rupture of some artery. Generally speaking, in a hypertensive animal, every place where blood is going to pass will be harmed; that is, your entire body ”, explains the veterinarian.

According to him, there are a number of different factors that can influence the onset of hypertension in dogs and cats, including:

  • Kidney problems
  • Complications of the endocrine system
  • Pregnancy
  • Frequent use of medications (such as corticosteroids)
  • Neurological diseases
  • Neoplasms
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes (considered one of the main influencing factors)
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Heart disease

Present in the patient, hypertension it also generates a large number of problems for the animal, which may include the following:

  • Ischemic stroke
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Peripheral vascular insufficiency
  • Cardiac insufficiency
  • LVH - Left ventricular hypertrophy
  • Retinal changes

According to the veterinarian, animals with kidney problems need constant monitoring so that their chances of survival are real, and the ideal is that they make appointments fortnightly or monthly so that their health status can be monitored and their controlled treatment - in addition to being directed in the most appropriate way.

Symptoms of hypertension in dogs and cats

Although, in most cases, dogs and cats with hypertension problems do not have any indication of the disease, some symptoms can manifest themselves in animals with this type of complication, including the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

According to Bernstein, when dogs have headache they usually lean their heads against the wall and keep pushing it; therefore, it is good to stay tuned in case this type of behavior appears in pets.

Treatment and prevention of hypertension in dogs and cats

According to the specialist, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme) can be very useful in the treatment of hypertension, as well as diuretics and vasodilators. “Although they have proved to be quite valid in the treatment of hypertension, not even angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors can cure the problem; but they help to slow its evolution a lot, since they block the proliferation of the disease in the animal's body and this helps to improve kidney functions ”, he points out.

In addition to constant clinical follow-up, the specialist states that the administration of a balanced diet for the animal, the performance of physical activities frequently and the tick prophylaxis (in cases of contagion) are items that can help a lot in the prevention of the disease, and must be factors present in the care of pet owners who wish to keep them from hypertension.


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