While the signs of organ failure in dogs vary depending on the affected organ, any type of organ failure is a life-threatening risk. A pet with organ failure is clearly a very sick pet. With prompt treatment, your vet may be able to save your dog. If this is the case, the dog will likely require some type of special management, whether it be medication or food, for the rest of his life.
Certain diseases can lead to organ failure. If your dog is diagnosed with pancreatitis, pneumonia, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, leptospirosis, osteomyelitis, peritonitis or parvovirus, your vet will monitor your pet for signs of organ failure. Blunt trauma can cause device failure – if your dog has injuries, cuts, bumps, burns, or snakebites, device failure is possible. Organ failure requires aggressive treatment, including intravenous fluid therapy and ventilation.
Symptoms of liver failure include loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration – symptoms that occur with many diseases – and jaundice, a yellowing of the whites of the eyes and gums. Stomach ulceration often occurs in liver disease, so your dog may throw up blood and his stool may turn a dark color. Fluid buildup in the abdomen is common. Some dogs experience neurological changes and seizures. Treatment consists of various drug treatments, including antibiotics, glucocorticoids and intravenous fluids. Your dog may need a feeding tube if he is not eating on his own.
Acute kidney failure usually occurs if the dog swallows poison or has a bad reaction to certain medications. It can also happen if the kidneys do not receive enough blood or oxygen. Symptoms include loss of balance, vomiting, depression, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are quite obvious. Chronic renal failure usually occurs in older dogs, with more subtle signs. These include increased drinking and urination, a chemical odor in the breath, loss of appetite and weight, and blood in the urine. Treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy, dietary changes, and possibly dialysis. Your vet will treat acute renal failure depending on the specific cause of toxins requiring specific treatment.
If the left side of a dog’s heart is failing, he will generally experience a cough due to fluid buildup in the lungs. Low blood pressure will make him prone to fainting. If primarily the right side is affected, fluid accumulation or edema occurs in both legs, chest and abdomen. Your vet can prescribe medication to treat symptoms after your pet is diagnosed. For edema, you will probably be prescribed diuretics to get rid of fluid. Vasodilators or ACE inhibitors make blood vessels wider. Your vet may switch your dog to a low-sodium diet.