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Kidney Enlargement in Dogs

Renomegaly in Dogs

Enlargement of the kidneys, known as renomegaly, occurs when one or both kidneys in dogs become unusually large. This condition can be confirmed through methods such as abdominal palpation, ultrasounds, or X-rays. Renomegaly affects various systems within the body, including the respiratory, nervous, hormonal, urinary, and digestive systems. It’s important to note that renomegaly is not limited to dogs; cats can also experience this condition.

Symptoms and Types

There are instances where the dog may not show any signs at all, being asymptomatic. However, typical symptoms observed in dogs with renomegaly include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Oral ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Discolored urine
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Foul-smelling breath (halitosis)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Abdomen unusually large
  • One or both kidneys palpably enlarged
  • Increased urination and thirst (polyuria and polydipsia)


Kidney enlargement can be triggered by inflammation, infection, or cancer. Renomegaly may also arise from urinary tract blockages, degeneration of the ureters, cyst formation in the urinary tract, infections, abscesses, inflammatory disorders, genetic diseases, kidney clots, and toxin exposure. Exposure to infections like leptospirosis is also a potential factor contributing to renomegaly.


To diagnose renomegaly in your dog, your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis. Additionally, palpation exams and X-rays will be utilized to visualize any abnormalities in kidney size. For dogs suspected of having cancer, thoracic X-rays may be necessary to assess whether the cancer has spread. Ultrasonography, using sound waves, will provide detailed images of internal organs, aiding in the assessment of renal swelling and detecting any irregularities in other organs. Aspiration of renal fluid and biopsy may also be performed to gather further diagnostic information.


Unless your dog is experiencing dehydration or renal failure, treatment will typically be administered on an outpatient basis. The initial steps involve diagnosing and addressing the underlying cause, ensuring fluid balance through intravenous fluids if needed, and replenishing minerals and electrolytes. For otherwise healthy dogs, a regular diet and exercise regimen are recommended.

Medications prescribed by your veterinarian will depend on the specific underlying cause of renomegaly. However, it’s important to avoid medications that could potentially harm the kidneys.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule regular follow-up appointments to monitor your dog’s physical recovery and hydration status. Should your dog’s symptoms reoccur, prompt communication with the veterinarian is essential. Potential complications of renomegaly include kidney failure and hormone imbalances that may resemble hormone-producing cancers.

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