Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pre-Anesthetic Blood Test Reveals Kidney Failure

"Knowing is always better than not knowing." ~Gregory House/House MD
I remember when Jasmine was to go under anesthesia for the first time to get her spay. We got an estimate with optional pre-anesthetic blood test. I remember us deliberating whether or not we should add that expense. At the end, as you might guess, we decided that we wanted everything to go as safely as possible and asked to have the blood test included. We didn't have much money but we didn't want to take any risks with Jasmine's well-being.

I don't believe that pre-anesthetic blood test should have been optional.

Since then, pre-operative lab work has become standard of care. Even though we never got any surprises that way, we would never have any of our dogs put under without doing the test first. Why? Because you never know.

With our vet, we had the rule that if the last blood test was older than a month before the procedure, we'd run it again.

Why? Because you never know.

Jack was a healthy senior dog, going it for his dental. He was drinking and peeing a little more during the weekend. But seemed perfectly fine. Before the procedure, he had his pre-anesthetic blood test done, even though it wasn't all that long since his last blood draw which was normal.

His pre-operative blood test, supported by urinalysis, revealed that Jack's kidneys were failing.

His creatinine and BUN were elevated and his urine dilute. The dental was put on hold and Jack was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound with a specialist the next day.

Fortunately, the ultrasound didn't reveal any further surprises and Jack could get his dental done.

His anesthesia protocol was adjusted to his condition. 

With kidney failure, anesthesia needs to be focused on maintaining circulation and oxygen levels. Any abnormalities, such as high blood pressure, dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities ... need to be corrected before anesthesia takes place. (Anesthesia for Patients with Renal Disease/Clinician's Brief)

Most anesthetic drugs don't directly affect the kidneys but can decrease blood flow to the kidneys, so drugs that preserve cardiovascular function are preferred and other measures might need to be taken.

Jacks procedure went well and he got his teeth all fixed up.

How smoothly do you think things would have gone without doing the pre-op test and not knowing that his kidneys were bad?

Knowing that Jack's kidneys were failing also allowed to take measures to protect them from further decline. Because he no longer could get NSAIDs, his arthritis was managed with acupuncture and trigger point therapy. His diet was changed and he was put on herbs that support kidney function. He'll have regular blood and urine tests to monitor the development of his disease.

Kidney failure is a life-changing diagnosis.

But knowing about it allowed to take measures to keep Jack as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible.

Knowing is life-saving.

Source article:
Jack begins the next chapter of his life in kidney failure

Related articles:
Kidney Disease – Say What?
What Happens In The Dog's Body When The Kidneys Fail To Function Properly? 
Is Your Dog Showing Signs Of Kidney Disease? How Is It Diagnosed? 
Veterinary Highlights: New Way To Diagnose Kidney Disease Early
What Caused Blitzen's Kidney Failure?

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!

1 comment

  1. Well said. As someone who had a dog dealing with kidney disease and kidney failure, it's so important to know - and the earlier you can catch it, the better!