Kidney failure in dogs: benazepril and life expectancy
Kidney failure in dogs involves a decline in the amount of kidney tissue that functions correctly and is the fourth most common disease in dogs. It mainly affects adult or elderly animals, and the incidence is higher in cats than in dogs.
The main consequences of losing kidney function are:
- Retention of nitrogenous substances (azotaemia/uraemia).
- Phosphorus retention and no final step in vitamin D activation (hyperphosphataemia/secondary renal hyperparathyroidism/renal osteodystrophy).
- Protein loss (nephrotic syndrome/thrombosis).
- Reduction in bicarbonate reabsorption and proton excretion (metabolic acidosis).
- Reduction in erythropoietin synthesis (nonregenerative anaemia).
- Impaired urinary concentrating ability (isosthenuria/hyposthenuria/arterial hypertension).
- Lack of potassium excretion, although in most cases of polyuric kidney failure there is abnormally excessive excretion, which is a very specific and constant characteristic in cats.
Nutrition can be used to improve kidney failure in dogs by acting on three fronts:
- Improving the clinical signs.
- Controlling macro- and micronutrition.
- Slowing disease progression.
Reduced life expectancy in chronic kidney disease
The prognosis for chronic kidney failure is generally poor; however, in many cases, if the clinical signs and metabolic consequences are not severe, animals can live for months or years with an acceptable quality of life. Furthermore, it has been shown that correct dietary treatment can significantly improve the quality of life of dogs with chronic kidney failure and increase their survival time by up to 3.2 times. The new clinically proven formula in Advance Veterinary Diets Renal reduces nitrogen excretion by the kidney by 14% and works via three channels:
- Reduced nitrogen excretion via the kidneys: It reduces the nitrogen excreted through the kidneys thanks to the soluble fibres which are highly fermentable in the intestine, a low protein content and supplementation with high-quality protein. Soluble fibres improve digestive health (Simpson 1998) and stimulate the growth of the gut microbiota (Younes 2004, Verbrugghe 2010). The gut microbiota consumes plasma urea and produces propionate, which stimulates the conservation of amino acids.
- Glomerular protection
- Acidosis control
Its composition is especially effective in managing the signs of chronic kidney disease such as nephron hyperfiltration, proteinuria, uraemic syndrome or hyperparathyroidism.
Have a look at this post about other essential dietary features for dogs with chronic kidney failure.
Treatment with benazepril?
In human medicine, benazepril has been shown to improve proteinuria and extend the life of patients with chronic kidney failure (CRF), hence a study was published in 20001 that assessed the efficacy of benazepril in dogs with CRF. They found that treated dogs had lower proteinuria, a better state of overall health, greater appetite and less weight loss than dogs in the placebo group. Although survival times were longer in the benazepril group than in the placebo group (290 and 236, respectively), the difference was not statistically significant.