Our Dog, Pearl, Improves, Even In Kidney Failure

Pearl is like a new dog.

OK, maybe “new” is too strong, but she is dramatically improved.

Regular readers know that our sixteen-year-old poodle has been recently diagnosed with kidney failure, impaired vision and poor hearing.

In addition, her breath would take the wallpaper off your walls, so I recently performed
pre-anesthesia laboratory testing and, when the results showed only problems we could control during anesthesia, we elected to proceed with dental prophylaxis.

What a difference it has made.

Or, is it the Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d?

That’s the problem when one changes two parameters at one time in a system, we simply don’t know which parameter is responsible for the most improvement.

We know that k/d can dramatically reduce the workload for older kidneys and liver, which, in turn, can make a renal failure dog or cat feel a lot better. Within a few days the circulating burden of toxic waste products in the bloodstream is reduced, and that’s enough to make anyone feel better!

Of course, removing the gum disease, inflammation and infection from the mouth had to make her feel better, too.

It is nothing short of amazing how much more active, attentive and alert Pearl is. Even her failing hearing seems to have improved, and she now runs to the door when I come home at night, just like she used to for the first fifteen years of her life.

Instead of lying around waiting for a major event that might justify expending the energy to rise from her personal couch, she follows Brenda and me around like old times.

Pearl reminds me of a patient I had years ago who had a similar experience. About three weeks after beginning Prescription Diet k/d the owners paid us a visit, part of a twenty-pound bag of k/d in hand.

“Good afternoon!” I said when they came in the front door. “How’s Blackie and to what do we owe the honor of this visit?”

“We want to return this food to you.”

“Of course you know that Hill’s guarantees the palatability of all of their foods, but I’m surprised that Blackie didn’t eat it. k/d is a really tasty food that dogs really like.”

“Oh, he ate it fine. That’s the problem,” they began to explain. Seeing the puzzled look on my face, they went on. “On his old diet he was a quiet, sedate old dog. Now, he acts like a puppy. He’s chewing on things, he keeps bringing us his leash, he runs from one end of the house to the other. We just can’t stand it!”

“Of course,” I began,”You understand that he’s acting that way because he feels so much better. Reducing the buildup of waste products in his system is allowing him to function more normally. He’s more active because he’s healthier.”

“OH! Sure! We understand all that. We’re just old, and we can’t deal with an active dog. We have to have our old, sedate dog back.”

Renal failure, diagnosed early and treated aggressively, is a gradual disease process. Patients with this diagnosis can often live a long time, and happily. Your pet’s doctor can help you along the way.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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