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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Nephritis and Nephrosis




Condition Overview

Nephritis and nephrosis are diseases of the kidneys that produce scarring and kidney failure.


The swollen limbs ans pot-bellied appearance of the nephrotic syndrome suggest right-sided congestive heart failure, but laboratory studies will distinguish between this condition and kidney problems.


Nephritis is an inflammatory process associated with certain infectious diseases including canine hepatitis, canine ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountin Spotted fever, and others. Dogs with systemic lupus erythematosus and chronic pancreatitis can develop nephritis. A familial predisposition for a condition called glomerulonephritis occurs in Doberman Pinschers, Samoyeds, and Bull Terriers. This is an autosomal dominant problem in Bull Terriers.

Nephrosis is the result of degenerative changes caused by toxins and poisons that target the kidneys or by ischemia (inadequate blood flow to the kidneys). The most important nephrotoxins are aspirin, ibuprofen, and butazolidin. Certain antibiotics are nephrotoxic, particularly when given for prolonged periods or in high doses - they include polymyxin B, gentamicin, amphotericin B, and kanamycin.

The nephrotic syndrome may develop in dogs with nephritis or nephrosis. Large amounts of protein are excreted into the urine from the damaged kidneys. In consequence, serum protein levels are low. This results in loss of fluid from the blood, which pools in the legs (edema), the abdominal cavity (ascites), and the chest cavity (pleural effusion).


The diagnosis of nephritis or nephrosis is established by kidney biopsy.


If caught in time, nephritis and nephrosis respond to elimination of the predisposing cause. Nephritis caused by Lyme disease is usually fatal.


Information needed.


Please contact your veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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