Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

Cecilia de Cardenas
Nov 18, 2008
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Renomegaly in Dogs

Renomegaly is a condition in which one or both kidneys are abnormally large, confirmed by abdominal palpation, ultrasounds, or X-rays. All of the body's systems are affected by renomegaly: the respiratory, nervous, hormonal, urinary, and digestive systems.

In addition, renomegaly is not exclusive to dogs; cats can suffer from it, too. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

There are occasions when the dog is asymptomatic, or does not display any signs whatsoever. However, some of the more common symptoms seen in dogs with renomegaly include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Oral ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Discolored urine
  • Pale mucous membrane
  • Foul-smelling breath (halitosis)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Abnormally large abdomen
  • One or both kidneys palpably large
  • Excess urine and excess thirst (polyuria and polydipsia)

Causes

The kidneys may become abnormally large as a result of inflammation, infection, or cancer. Renomegaly can also occur due to urinary tract obstruction, degeneration of the urinary tubes (ureters), formation of cysts in the urinary tract, various infections, abscesses, inflammatory conditions, genetically transmitted diseases, clots in the kidneys, and toxins in the system.

Exposure to infections such as leptospirosis may also lead to renomegaly.

Diagnosis

A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. A palpation exam and X-rays will also be performed to assist your veterinarian in visualizing the abnormality in the kidney size, and thus diagnose your dog's condition.

For dogs with cancer, thoracic X-rays will help your doctor to determine if the cancer has spread. Ultrasonography, which uses sound waves, will also help distinguish the structural details of internal organs so that your doctor can determine the amount of renal swelling, or detect irregularities in other organs.

Aspiration of renal fluid and a biopsy is another procedure which may be performed on your dog.

Treatment

Your dog will be treated on an outpatient basis unless it is suffering from dehydration or renal failure. Treatment will begin with diagnosing and treating the underlying cause, maintaining fluid balance with intravenous fluids if necessary, and replenishing minerals and electrolytes. If your dog is otherwise healthy, a normal diet and normal exercise will be advised.

Drugs prescribed by your veterinarian will vary according to the underlying cause of renomegaly. However, drugs that may have a toxic effect on the kidneys should be avoided.

Living and Management

You veterinarian will want to see your dog during regular follow-up examinations, where he or she will assess the dog's physical recovery and hydration status.

If your dog's symptoms return, you will need to contact the veterinarian immediately. Possible complications of renomegaly include kidney failure and hormone imbalances that mimic hormone-producing cancers.

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