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Sudden detection of chronic renal failure in 11 year old grand prix jumper

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  • Sudden detection of chronic renal failure in 11 year old grand prix jumper

    Hey everyone, I am completely devastated of the news that my horse has chronic renal disease. I thought he was having a mild colic episode, called the vet who came out and gave him banamine and oiled him. A few hours later when he had not improved, I took him to the equine hospital an hour away. Their bloodwork results come back within minutes and we discovered that his creatinine levels were 5.5. We were SHOCKED and devastated. Not only did he jump a 1.45 grand prix a few months ago, he is my best friend and the sweetest animal I've ever known. My equine chiropractor who has worked on him the past five years was equally surprised. She deals with kidney cases from time to time (they are rare in horses in general) and could not believe that she never felt anything.

    So he's been on intense IV fluids for three days and his levels are dropping some each day. However, I learned that once the kidneys have failed to this point and they actually show signs of the disease, the prognosis is extremely poor. We also learned that he has major kidney stones in both kidneys and is currently trying to pass a stone through his right ureter which is painful and likely the reason he was showing me he was hurting in the first place. The vet says he has probably been living with the stones for years and she was very kind in telling me that the fact that he never complained about them was a testament to his level of care. I've been so cautious with his development and always put his health and happiness first.

    Now I am faced with the decision to euthanize. If his levels can stay down once we take him off fluids, I think he stands a chance of living out in a field for some undetermined amount of time. Chronic kidney disease is progressive. It's only going to worsen from here. But he's only 11 years old . . . so do I risk trying to get him into retirement or say goodbye? I'm inconsolable.

  • #2
    I’m very sorry that you and your sweet boy are facing this. As you say, it will not get better, and he is already not feeling well. Having had a horse with chronic kidney disease in the past, I can tell you what I would do. I am always in favor of letting them go before they become uncomfortable. However, you know your horse, and you have to make peace with this. I wish you well. Again, I’m so sorry.
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

    Comment


    • #3
      I am so sorry. Stay strong, he needs you to make those hard decisions for him, if needed.
      Facta non verba

      Comment


      • #4
        awful first post - so sorry to hear you've come to COTH under these circumstances. lots of jingles (jingles = positive thoughts, COTHism for healing vibes, you jingle your pelham/kimberwicke for good luck).

        i have never dealt with a case of kidney failure in horses personally. i have dealt with it in cats and dogs. it is a slow, painful decline -- and it is very expensive. looking at it from a pragmatic standpoint, the QOL decreases while the expenses and constant care increase. i have seen with cats and dogs that the daily meds, IVs, palliative care can be very exhausting and they can struggle because sometimes it is not comfortable and they don't understand you are trying to help them.

        i am very sorry you and your wonderful boy are dealing with this. life is never fair.
        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

        Comment


        • #5
          I've known of two cases. Don't wait to long to make the hard decision. Sorry.
          www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

          Comment


          • #6
            So terribly sorry.
            \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~

            Comment


            • #7
              So sorry that your horse is having to go through this, and that you're having to go through it to.

              First off, I can't tell you what to do, and I can't interpret what your vets are telling you. One of my horses went through acute kidney failure a few years ago as a result of the use of Osphos. The vets at the vet hospital were very pessimistic and kept telling me that once the kidneys fail it's downhill from there and that they would never recover and he would forever be ultra sensitive to NSAIDs and anything else that stresses the kidneys. They offered euthanasia as an option. My vet (not part of that vet hospital) kept reminding me that horses are individuals and they all respond differently and to not jump to conclusions. It was really helpful to have one positive voice in the sea of negatives.

              The advantage we had, though, was the fact that my guy's kidney failure was precipitated by a known cause and not a chronic condition, That alone may make this dissimilar enough to not serve as any sort of a comparison. But after being on fluids for 5 days at the vet clinic I was able to bring my guy home and he has jumped around many prixes since then.

              I really struggle with coming to terms with a diagnosis of a chronic condition when there were no signs of it prior (I don't mean that specific to your case - just that I've had it happen a few times with other conditions and I, personally, struggle to come to terms with it each time). But I don't know enough about chronic kidney disease to be able to comment intelligently on it. Is there a reason that the vets think that he would be facing retirement if he does pull through this? Sorry if that's a known thing when it comes to kidney disease - I only have the one experience. I wish I could give you advice.

              Best wishes to you on being able to figure out the right path for now and the right path long term.
              __________________________________
              Flying F Sport Horses
              Horses in the NW

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                i have dealt with it in cats and dogs. it is a slow, painful decline -- and it is very expensive.
                Renal disease is really, really variable. Some patients can tick along very comfortably for years with little change and very little, relatively inexpensive management and treatment. There's a handful of situations (bacterial infection without uncorrectable originating causes) where it can be more or less "cured" fairly inexpensively. Others can certainly be a long, slow process with a lot of expensive medications, episodic hospitalizations, even renal transplants or dialysis if resources allow (afaik, transplant is only feasible in cats, and hemodialysis is only available at a handful of facilities for dogs and cats, not sure on horses). Still others (unfortunately my own cat was one of them) are like holding a match to a paper airplane and they go down very, very quickly and more or less expensively depending on the details and how quickly a decision to euthanize is made.

                Kidney disease of almost all kinds is notoriously "sneaky" in all species because there's such a huge function reserve (which is why living donors are viable for transplants), and most of the diseases process don't cause any pain or any other signs until they are very advanced or something happens like a stone moves from the kidney into the ureter. Even most kinds of bloodwork and urine tests may not pick up most kinds of renal disease, and imaging tests like US can look AWFUL but function is actually OK and may or may not deteriorate over time. It's very, very frustrating for everybody concerned with these cases.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NikkiPony View Post
                  But he's only 11 years old . . . so do I risk trying to get him into retirement or say goodbye? I'm inconsolable.
                  It's a hard choice and best made between you and the vet staff. A lot depends on whether there is infection present (infection is actually-kind of-a GOOD thing, because you can do something specific to treat it), if stones present appear to be obstructive and if that obstruction might resolve if the stones pass to the bladder, just how well the values have dropped with fluids, how comfortable he is, etc.

                  I am so sorry you are going through this, please don't beat yourself up about not noticing there was anything amiss, renal disease is so very sneaky. My dad was diagnosed with renal cancer that had probably been present for months, and he had no clue. Found on an US as a surprise. They were doing it because his renal values were rising, but that's probably because of his diabetes, not the tumor--they haven't really changed much since they removed the kidney.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    https://equusmagazine.com/management/eqkidneys31003 Parts of this may not be relevant, but some input on chronic renal failure towards the end of article. So very sorry for you and the horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would wait things out and get a second opinion. Humans who have renal impairment due to stones often do well. After a stone passes, renal function can improve. Dietary changes such as more to drink and a low protein diet will help some people. I have no idea about horses. Get the horse’s medical records together. Ask the vet hospital vet to find the best kidney vet in the country or the world, and to contact them on your behalf. Then, submit the records and see if they have any ideas.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I’m so sorry to meet you like this. Totally agree with those saying every case is individual.
                        Be prepared and take your time ❤️
                        Time management tough for you? 42 great tips and support through this course!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This may sound far fetched, BUT...my 32 year old had chronic renal failure. I signed him up to do stem cells and PEMF. Within a month of doing 3 session a week of PEMF (while waiting for the stem cells to arrive), his creatinine levels dropped almost a whole point!!!! I did PEMF another month, and they continued to slowly decrease. I ended up losing him 3 months later to something unrelated but please find a PEMF practitioner near you. PM for more details....

                          https://pulseequine.com
                          Kristen

                          Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I’m managing a nine year old show hunter still in work right now. Diet is key. Low protein, low calcium. What is his current diet?
                            Originally posted by EquineImagined
                            My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm very sorry you and your horse are going through this. I lost a horse to renal failure in 2008. He, too, was a jumper and the first clue that something was wrong was that he started to refuse jumps. No one ever thought of renal failure as the reason, and he limped along for another 5 plus years (I retired him as he began to refuse to allow me to mount/ride), and he'd have great years, bad weeks on and off) before it was actually diagnosed, and I put him down. The last few months (before diagnosis) were awful for him - he wouldn't eat any grain or hay, only a few handfuls of grass, and lost a great deal of weight. Flooded his stall with urine every day. He stood around most of the time with his head hanging down almost to the ground, and I'm sure he felt horrible. The supporting vets in my area weren't the greatest obviously - kept telling me that he had worms and I can't remember what else. Had colic several times. Very stoic horse. His necropsy showed that one of his kidneys was very shriveled, the other just stopped working at the end. He was 21.

                              I know that you're looking for some hope, but I don't believe there is a cure for this. It sucks. Horses are not like people or dogs or cats with renal failure where a kidney transplant or even supportive IV fluids are in the cards for the chronic cases. Some, like Herbie19 seem to manage/hold off the disease for a time with low protein, low calcium diets (good for you Herbie19. I mean it!) - but the disease wins in the end.

                              My thoughts are with you - I know you will do what is best for your horse, however difficult it will be for you..I cry every time I read about another horse with renal failure....I still feel the pain on hearing those words. I so loved that horse....
                              Please come back and let us know how you're doing!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It honestly isn't up to you if an Equine Insurance Co will be involved (and being a GP horse, I'm sure he's insured). What did they say?

                                Jingles for your horse. This is tough.
                                #JusticeForSunshine

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by NikkiPony View Post
                                  Hey everyone, I am completely devastated of the news that my horse has chronic renal disease. I thought he was having a mild colic episode, called the vet who came out and gave him banamine and oiled him. A few hours later when he had not improved, I took him to the equine hospital an hour away. Their bloodwork results come back within minutes and we discovered that his creatinine levels were 5.5. We were SHOCKED and devastated. Not only did he jump a 1.45 grand prix a few months ago, he is my best friend and the sweetest animal I've ever known. My equine chiropractor who has worked on him the past five years was equally surprised. She deals with kidney cases from time to time (they are rare in horses in general) and could not believe that she never felt anything.

                                  So he's been on intense IV fluids for three days and his levels are dropping some each day. However, I learned that once the kidneys have failed to this point and they actually show signs of the disease, the prognosis is extremely poor. We also learned that he has major kidney stones in both kidneys and is currently trying to pass a stone through his right ureter which is painful and likely the reason he was showing me he was hurting in the first place. The vet says he has probably been living with the stones for years and she was very kind in telling me that the fact that he never complained about them was a testament to his level of care. I've been so cautious with his development and always put his health and happiness first.

                                  Now I am faced with the decision to euthanize. If his levels can stay down once we take him off fluids, I think he stands a chance of living out in a field for some undetermined amount of time. Chronic kidney disease is progressive. It's only going to worsen from here. But he's only 11 years old . . . so do I risk trying to get him into retirement or say goodbye? I'm inconsolable.
                                  I'm so sorry to learn of your situation. My heart goes out to you. Renal failure is fortunately rare, but not unheard of. My understanding is that it is not age-related. Nor is it related to work or performance. I believe that it is the same condition that afflicted Technicolor, and he passed away this year at 7 years old weeks after being champion at WEF. Whatever you decide, my heartfelt condolences. I'm very sorry.

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