Based on current evidence, it’s clear excess weight in dogs and cats can lead to high blood pressure. Hypertension directly affects the kidney, largely because it receives approximately one-quarter of the blood pumped by the heart. Dogs with obesity have been shown to have higher levels of hyaluronic acid (HA) inside their kidneys. HA, a lubricant and is found mainly in the cartilage, joint fluid, skin and rear half of the eye (vitreous), is responsible for making cartilage highly resistant to compression. Incidentally, HA was referred to as a “goo” molecule until the 1970s. The accumulation of hyaluronic acid damages the kidneys and causes sodium resorption, water retention and high blood pressure. Studies are mixed on whether kidney damage from HA is completely reversible if the excess weight is lost. Additional research is needed to determine the exact extent obesity plays in kidney disease and the improvement, if any, weight loss has on obesity-related kidney disease. Preventing pet obesity is our best treatment advice for now.
If you are concerned about kidney disease, ask us about blood tests to see where your pets levels are. A baseline is always a good idea.