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Why All The Kidney Problems?

Published on May 6, 2009 by in BARF

Our biggest customer area of concern is skin and allergy problems.

The second biggest concern, which seems to be escalating, is kidney damage or kidney disease.

Why are we experiencing so many dogs with kidney issues?

The kidney is responsible for ridding the body of waste materials and controlling the volume and composition of body fluids. This is a very important function because the inability to function properly and the buildup of waste eventually causes the organ to shut down. It functions to regulate water and electrolyte balances and is a major filtering organ for the body. It requires a critical balance of maintaining proper fluid balances in order to maintain adequate blood pressure. The filtration and excretion of metabolic waste products are key required functions that maintain the dynamic fluid balance system. The kidney cannot regenerate new filtering nephrons. Renal injury, disease, and aging all contribute to a decreased number of nephrons. As age takes its toll the number of nephrons decrease and the remaining nephrons take on the added responsibilities. The kidney is unique in that it can actually function until about 70 to 80% of the nephrons have be destroyed. During this period the clinical symptoms are not apparent to your vet until it is almost impossible to reverse. The result is that the kidney is no longer able to produce urine. The clinical signs of kidney failure include increased drinking and urination, dehydration, anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, anemia, lethargy, and dry skin.

This all leads to “the protein diet controversy” which suggests that the diet consumed should have a decreased level of protein. To my knowledge there is little to no scientific basis for recommending a reduced protein diet. This recommendation has been suggested by vets for well over 50 years. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this subject matter. For the last 33 years I have recommended a normal or even higher protein level diet which has enhanced the feelings of well-being and offered the animal a much more palatable food. I have not seen any advantage to using vet prescribed low protein diets for kidney disease patients. In addition, we have not observed a higher quality of life from using them either. I have observed that the raw meat diets are more easily digested and a higher level of nutrition can be gained from the food. This allows the body to be the primary healer.

When a vet suggests feeding a protein-reduced diet, it must be kept in mind that the energy requirements of the body carries a higher priority. Therefore, contrary to current belief, the minimum protein requirement for dogs and cats with chronic renal failure are actually HIGHER than those of normal dogs and cats. Consequently, it is my recommendation that pets with chronic renal failure MUST be on a raw meat diet (the BARF DIET).

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