"Renal disease" refers to ailments affecting the kidneys. While any dog might suffer from kidney disease, especially as he ages, Doberman pinschers are prone to juvenile renal disease. It's a hereditary problem affecting young dogs. There are treatments and diets that can help an affected Dobie.
Juvenile Renal Disease
If your Dobie has inherited juvenile renal disease, symptoms will probably appear by the time he is 2 years old. Even if you bought your Dobie from a reputable breeder, this kidney disease might not have come to the breeder's attention. Generally, juvenile kidney disease doesn't affect all the puppies in a litter. While some puppies might exhibit symptoms while only a few weeks old, other affected puppies appear to develop normally until the symptoms appear in early adulthood.
If your young Dobie begins to lose weight for no good reason, doesn't have much of an appetite, throws up a lot, drinks a lot of water and urinates frequently, juvenile renal disease could be the culprit. Another common sign of the disease is strange-smelling breath, caused by the toxins that the kidneys aren't properly expelling. Take him to the vet for a diagnosis.
Once your Dobie is diagnosed with juvenile renal disease, your vet might present you with certain options for treatment. He might suggest a low-protein, low-phosphorous diet that puts less strain on your dog's kidneys. Your dog might require IV infusions for hydration. Much depends on whether both of your Dobie's kidneys are affected, or just one of them. If it's only one, the healthy kidney can take over and your Dobie should live a normal life. If both kidneys are affected, the prognosis isn't as good. If you can afford it and the vet thinks it's a possibility, a canine kidney transplant might offer hope for a severely afflicted dog. Transplants don't always work, as the body can reject the new organ. Since the kidney has to come from another dog, you might be required to adopt the donor, generally from a shelter, who gave your Dobie his kidney.
Chronic Renal Failure
Chronic renal failure occurs in many older dogs, but the Dobie is also more genetically prone to it than some other breeds. Many of the symptoms are similar to those of young dogs with juvenile renal disease. Your old Dobie may be extremely thin. High blood pressure is common in dogs with chronic renal failure, as are mouth ulcers. Your dog might require hospitalization to stabilize him. Once he's home, he'll eat the low-protein, low-phosphorous dog food, and your vet may prescribe medications to lower his blood pressure and aid his kidneys.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.