Anatomy and Function of the Kidneys
The kidneys play a vital role in the health and well being of all dogs. Kidney failure has been cited as the second most likely cause of natural death in dogs and cats. This fact alone makes the information on how the kidneys work and what their prime function is in the normal course of your dog's life extremely important.
The kidneys have several functions such as eliminating waste products from the body, regulating the level of water in and outside of the cells within the body by concentrating or diluting the urine output and producing hormones which help the bone marrow to grow red blood cells. The kidneys help control blood pressure, maintain the proper balance and removal of calcium and phosphorus.
The basic unit within the kidney, which acts as a filtration device is called the nephrons. Kidney failure occurs when three- fourths of the nephrons of both kidneys are damaged or unable to function. The most common causes of kidney damage include immune-mediated diseases, kidney infections, kidney stones and congenital diseases. The main problem for the nephrons is any damage can cause irreversible changes and, therefore, function cannot be restored.
Another function of the kidneys is to regulate the volume of extra-cellular fluid in order to maintain a stable internal environment for cells. This is accomplished by regulation of water, electrolytes and calcium and phosphorus production. The fluid that remains is urine, which is collected in a central area of the kidney and funneled into a small tube called the ureter. The ureters (one from each kidney) run from the kidney to the bladder, which is located just in front of the pubic bone of the pelvis.
Types and Descriptions of Kidney Disease
Enteropathy and Nephropathy
Share Your Information with the Bedlington Terrier Health & Wellness Committee
In the Bedlington community, we are getting anecdotal and disjointed information about kidney issues. While the incidence of kidney disease was low in the BTCA Health Survey of 2003-2004, we are hearing enough anecdotal stories to warrant watching this, arming you with information, and gathering factual information.
If you have any kidney disease, it might help us improve the breed if you would please make the information available to one of the Health & Wellness committee members. We will track this and add all information we receive into a database. If sufficient information is available to warrant a research effort by a qualified researcher, we will pursue starting something. Until then, we will accumulate data and periodically review it to see if there is sufficient data for us to investigate with a research effort. In the meantime, thank you very much for your cooperation.
Treatment for Kidney Disease
Given the long list of different kidney diseases, covering possible treatment was beyond the scope of this article. However, there is excellent information available from the referenced web sites below. If you have specific questions about treatment that you believe would benefit the larger Bedlington community, please send them to:
and the Health & Wellness Committee will consider addressing it.