kidney failure

wickedwilfred

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 August 2010
Messages
49
A blood test just diagnosed my much loved 25 year old mare with kidney failure. We noticed she was suddenly looking uncomfortable and off her food but curiously, not grass. I have been told she must go to a clinic and have infusion for 3 days, with blood tests before and after at a huge price, with an open-ended prognosis, but I am sceptical because she is now looking much better and am reluctant to put her through the clinic ordeal if it isn’t really necessary. Wondered if any readers had similar experience and how they coped ?
 

southerncomfort

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 September 2013
Messages
3,602
Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your horse.

I don't have any experience of kidney failure, but I think if it were me I'd want to know what the likely cause is. If the cause is known and fixable then I might try the treatment if I thought the horse would cope with it.

However, if the cause is unknown or just old age then I probably wouldn't put an old horse through it to be honest. In that scenario the treatment is unlikely to fix the problem long term and would only be putting off the inevitable.

Its a horrible dilemma, I really feel for you.
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
35,958
Location
W. Yorks
Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your horse.

I don't have any experience of kidney failure, but I think if it were me I'd want to know what the likely cause is. If the cause is known and fixable then I might try the treatment if I thought the horse would cope with it.

However, if the cause is unknown or just old age then I probably wouldn't put an old horse through it to be honest. In that scenario the treatment is unlikely to fix the problem long term and would only be putting off the inevitable.

Its a horrible dilemma, I really feel for you.



I agree with this 100%. I would be extremely reluctant to travel an unhealthy elderly horse without a guarantee that the treatment would work and give her several more active, healthy years.
 

ycbm

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
38,579
My horse had total kidney failure at the age of about 17. In the prior the years he would badly lose weight in winter and put it all back on and look marvelous in summer, but he was always cold backed on mounting. I could not get the vet to believe me that he was ill. But when I finally did and his bloods were tested he had practically no kidney function left and it was clear that he'd been failing for the whole 2-3 years.

I would not put any 25 year old through what your vets are suggesting, but I would not leave her with the pain and constant bad-blood hangover of kidney failure either, I would PTS. I'm so sorry.
 

irishdraft

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 November 2009
Messages
1,227
I haven't had a horse with kidney failure but have had a dog . It turned out he was operating on 25% function but the vet still wanted to try and keep him going with dialysis which we did once but he quickly went downhill again so we had to let him go . I think if your horse has lost a lot of function I'm not sure how you can recover it so I probably would decline treatment.
 

wickedwilfred

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 August 2010
Messages
49
Since my posting, she has looked much better and I am not about to give up on her just yet. I agree with comments of not wanting to put her through the ordeal of a trip to the clinic and we are awaiting results of a urine test, which will tell us more. We have turned her out in a small paddock, so she has access to grass and she set off at a canter ! Meanwhile, my son tells me their 16 year old cat was diagnosed with kidney failure last summer and after 2 weeks of wrestling to get the medication into him, they gave up and he has been fine ever since, so am thinking perhaps these test results are not very reliable.
 

ycbm

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
38,579
The tests are reliable. You aren't listening.

Kidney failure in cats is extremely common. Kidney failure in horses is rare, my vet told me last week that the primary cause is cancer, and they are a much bigger animal to have the blood filtration system fail on. My horse looked so well that I couldn't get a vet to believe me he was ill. Every summer he would "recover" with green grass.

The vet I eventually got to test him said he thought there was nothing wrong with him but that to humour me he would test kidney and liver function. He was utterly shocked when he rang me with the result and said the horse would be in such pain that he could not possibly allow me more than 24 hours to say goodbye.

Please don't let your horse have years of pain before she dies like mine did. I still have bad dreams about it. You owe it to her either to have the scale of the failure investigated, or to accept that her time has come.
 

scrat

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 February 2006
Messages
692
Location
hampshire
Having lost a horse to kidney failiure I would listen very carefully to your vets advice. In our case the horse showed no signs that there was a problem. Came in one afternoon, thought it was colic. She was treated for colic initially, vet back early next morning and after further examination suspected kidney failiure. He left with bloods to confirm and in that short time the horse deterioated rapidly Her heart was racing and she was stooping as if trying to wee but couldn't. She collapsed in agony and died before the vet could get back and end her misery. It was the worst thing I have experienced. My point is that in less than 18 hours the situation that we never even suspected turned into a nightmare very rapidly. You have the advantage of knowing that this likely to be the cause of your horses future pain. The blood test indicated extremly high enzymes.
 

Lady2021

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 February 2021
Messages
117
That’s cruel if you don’t want to do the vets treatment then put her to sleep. Don’t let her suffer and they test are extremely accurate.
 
Joined
19 July 2010
Messages
22,264
I'm speechless...

The cat and the horse may not be able to talk and tell you how they feel but as a human I can. Having your kidneys fail is horrendous, you feel awful and it HURTS. Both cats and horses are notorious for hiding how ill they are until they are on death's door. You have to do something. Either treat the issues or euthanize so they don't suffer.
 

Murphy88

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 August 2008
Messages
997
Prognosis depends on whether kidney failure is acute or chronic and the degree of increase in her kidney values, plus whether she still has the ability to concentrate her urine. Does she have any history of receiving bute or other medications, as these are the most common cause of kidney issues?

IMO (as a vet who works in an equine hospital), the majority of horses are not in any way bothered by transport / hospitalization or by having a catheter in to have IV fluids. The idea behind the fluids is to flush the kidneys - if the kidney failure is acute then it may well be reversible in which case fluids can fix it, and if nothing else fluids make the horse feel much better. Lots of horses that have had colic/dehydration or a course of bute can develop some degree of kidney failure and recover well with IV fluids for a couple of days. If it is chronic kidney failure then these cases tend not to see much improvement with fluids. There are many horses that live happily with mild-moderate chronic kidney failure for months-years as long as there is enough function to still do their job, however in your horse's case if she is off food then that suggests to me that she is already feeling the effects and therefore I would say it may not be appropriate to just wait and see, at least not for any extended length of time.
 
Top