Juvenile Kidney Disease, also known as Juvenile Renal Disease, is very common in many of the popular breeds of dogs. The list of breeds that is affected by the disease ranges from the tiny Yorkshire Terrier up to the large and giant breeds such as the Great Danes and the Irish Wolfhounds. Other breeds can include the Standard Poodle, Alaskan Malamute and the King Charles Spaniels to name just a few. It is largely believed that Juvenile Kidney Disease is somehow genetic in nature, but there are no tests or specific indicators to predetermine if a breeding male or female in any breed is carrying the gene that causes the condition. Often the biggest problems in diagnosing or correctly diagnosing Juvenile Kidney Disease is that it is wrongly grouped as part of other types of kidney diseases including renal dysplasia, which is common in many of these same breeds of dogs. The only way to completely confirm the death of the puppy or the presence of the condition of Juvenile Kidney Disease is by a biopsy of the kidney either after the second month or after the death of the puppy. Typically the condition will start to show between 5 and 10 months but may not be seen until up to two years of age. This varies greatly between breeds and even between specific cases of the disease.
The symptoms of Juvenile Kidney Disease include heavy and constant water consumption followed by large amounts of very weak and odorless urine. Often puppies with Juvenile Kidney Disease seem to constantly dribble or leak urine, which is sometimes assumed by unknowing owners and vets to be a bladder control problem that will develop with age. Often owners are not aware of how much water their puppy is consuming, leading the vet with little to make a diagnosis on. Typically owners become very frustrated, as the puppy seems to be impossible to housebreak despite their best efforts. Often these puppies are sent to shelters and rescues by owners that don't understand how ill the puppy really is and what the cause of the urination actually means. As the kidney malfunctioning becomes worse the puppy will become tired and lethargic and will not want to move about or eat. Vomiting, weight loss and coma will eventually follow as the metabolic system ceases to function properly.
Treatment for Juvenile Kidney Disease is not yet available, but with early diagnosis medical treatments can be provided to keep the puppy comfortable and prevent any further damage. While the kidneys will function at a lower level than other puppies, there still will be some functioning with very early detection. It is believed that the gene for Juvenile Kidney Disease is a single autosomal recessive. This means that both parents have to carry the gene for the puppy to have the condition, plus it also explains why not all puppies in the litter will develop the condition. Reporting each incident back to the breeder is therefore critical in stopping the number of carriers within a particular purebred line.