December 21, 2016

Juvenile Nephropathy in a Boxer, a Rottweiler, a Collie, and an Irish Wolfhound

In this in depth case study, four dogs, each of different breeds, were examined with a variety of studies in order to determine whether or not they had a rare form of renal disease called juvenile nephropathy. The breeds in this study were that of a Boxer, a Rottweiler, a Border Collie, and an Irish Wolfhound. “Juvenile nephropathy” is a kidney disease found in young dogs. The cause of this disease has not yet been defined, however in recent years, the condition has been observed as familial in certain breeds (especially in the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu). There have been ties in the past between the disease and pups that are underdeveloped or premature at birth. This review of the study will highlight “Dog 2”, also specified as a four month old Rottweiler. The study discussed considers a variety of categories.

First, the physical findings are explained. At the time of the study, the Rotty had a one-week history of depression, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, polyuria, and polydipsia. The dog’s mucous membranes were exceptionally pale, rectal temperature was 37.9 °C (a little lower than normal), and heart rate was 140 bpm (higher than normal). These physical traits are often associated with cases juvenile nephropathy.

Next, laboratory findings were discussed. For each of the four dogs, the researchers performed a hematology, a serum biochemical test, and a urinalysis. In all four of the dogs, there was severe azotemia (high bodily waste compounds including urea) and hypophosphatemia (low serum phosphate levels) present. These conditions also help indicate that the dogs involved in the case study may have juvenile nephropathy.

Following this, the researchers analyzed radiographs of each dog. With “Dog 2”, the young Rottweiler, the abdominal x-rays were comparable to a dog with no prior health problems. After consideration, this does make sense. This is because although kidney stones would appear on an abdominal radiograph, it is to my understanding that an excess amount of urea would not be easily recognizable. Because that is the main issue with the Rottweiler’s kidneys, the radiograph appears unremarkable to the researchers.

Additionally, blood tests were performed on each of the dogs. In regard to the Rottweiler pup, there were some red flags present on the report. “Dog 2” displayed a high white blood cell count, low total protein levels, very high urea and creatinine levels, and high phosphate levels. Additionally, the dog was experienced extreme renal atrophy (as would be expected).

The researchers, thus, arrived at the conclusion that each of the four (obviously including the Rottweiler) dogs in the case study were experiencing juvenile nephropathy. The four dogs were euthanized shortly after the diagnosis. Although the disease has been found to be familial in Lhasa Apso and Shi Tzu dogs, recently four young Rottweilers have been diagnosed with “familial atrophic glomerulopathy”. This is a specific form of juvenile renal disease that is considered hereditary, and is a newly discovered medical condition that is still today being explored.  


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                                                                                                                     Reviewed by: Roxy Ackerman