Why Is My Dog Or Cat Azotemic?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

To see what normal blood and urine values are for your pet, go here

For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests go here

To see how tests are often grouped, go here

Azotemia- It was once called uremic poisoning, uremia or just kidney failure.

Your cat or dog is said to be “azotemic” when the amount of urea and creatinine in its blood is above normal. The term for the condition azotemia produces is uremia.

Conditions That Can Causes Azotemia In Your Dog And Cat:

Any condition that decreases the capacity of your dog or cat’s kidneys to move urea and creatinine out of the blood stream and into the urine (reduced glomerular filtration rate = GFR). This can be due to kidney damage (renal causes) or a decrease in the amount of blood passing through the pet’s kidneys (pre-renal causes) like the inefficient circulation that occurs in heart disease or inadequate fluid intake.

When BUN and Creatinine rise significantly in your dog or cat due to kidney disease (renal causes), two-thirds of its kidney’s filtering units, the glomeruli, are not functional.

Situations When Your Dog Or Cat’s Urea and creatinine levels might be lower than normal – the opposite of azotemia:

The most common causes are starvation and malnutrition. When pets do not consume sufficient protein, their BUNs and creatinine levels often drop below normal. Severe liver disease can cause similar effects.

Complementary Tests:

Urine specific gravity, complete urinalysis,   anion gap, blood phosphorus level, blood potassium and magnesium levels, PCV, reticulocyte count, You pet’s response to IV fluids. Urine specific gravity is less diagnostic of kidney disease in cats. After-trauma, imaging techniques to confirm your dog or cat’s bladder integrity.


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