Uremia is an acute,
usually fatal disease, characterized by the
accumulation of urinary products in the blood stream. It is caused by
the breakdown of kidney tissue with the result that the proper
functioning of the kidney is disrupted and waste materials that should
go into the formation of urine become absorbed into the blood instead.
The disease may occur in animals of all ages but is much more common in
Animals with uremia usually present a picture of extreme depression,
intermittent vomiting and diarrhea, and a strong, fetid odor from the
mouth. The veterinarian makes a positive diagnosis of this disease by
urine analysis. It may take months and sometimes years before there is
sufficient destruction of kidney tissue to give rise to symptoms of
uremia. Unless the diagnosis is quickly established and bold
therapeutic measures are taken, the animal will usually die. If too
much destruction of tissue has already taken place, the animal will
die no matter what is done.
The routine manner of handling this condition is to apply heavy doses
of dextrose and saline so that the animal does not get depleted. A
nonirritating diuretic, such as ascorbic acid, is also indicated. Blood
transfusions are of further help. Unfortunately the ordinary case is
usually presented to the veterinarian when the animal is beyond hope.
The owner is generally advised to have the animal put to sleep because
of the hopelessness of the condition and the expense of the treatment.
However, if the owner is willing, the veterinarian will throw
everything in the book at the animal, and if it does happen to
recover, it will be due less to the skill of the veterinarian than to
an aggregate of factors beyond his direct control.