Canine Diabetes Wiki

Illustration of how the kidneys are shrunken and scarred with chronic renal failure, making them less able to do their job of removing wastes from the body.

Renal failure, especially CRF (Chronic renal failure), is a fairly common condition in older cats and dogs. The kidneys become less and less efficient at removing wastes from the blood.

CRF can sometimes be mistaken for diabetes, since polyuria and polydipsia can occur in both; this may lead to incorrect treatment and progression of the renal failure. [1][2]

Diabetes can affect all bodily organs. Many humans with long-term diabetes have some problems relating to the kidneys, including diabetic nephropathy. There are many people who are renal dialysis patients and on renal transplant lists who are also diabetes patients.

When CRF occurs in a diabetic pet, things can get tricky, since diabetes and CRF can complicate each other:

  • prolonged hyperglycemia can lead to diabetic nephropathy.
  • CRF can make it harder to regulate blood glucose levels. [4]
    Insulin is metabolized mainly through the liver and kidneys. [5][6] The term used in references such as Physicians' Desk Reference and other medication information is reduced renal clearance, for the kidneys, reduced hepatic clearance for the liver.
    When the system processes insulin (and other medications) at a slower than normal rate, they remain in the system longer. [7] In the case of insulin, a previously acceptable dosage may lead to hypoglycemia, because it takes longer for the kidneys and/or liver to render it useless. Renal problems seem to affect the clearance of insulin more than disorders of the liver. [8]
  • CRF and high blood pressure are both possible complications of diabetes, and of each other.

See also urination, renal threshold, urinary tract infection. I16

Fluid therapy set-up-MarVista Vet.
Administering Subcutaneous Fluids-MarVista Vet.

Here's help-message boards and e-mail lists[]


  1. Polydipsia & Polyuria in Dogs.
  2. Lunn, Katharine F., James Katherine M. (2007). Normal and Abnormal Water Balance: Polyuria and Polydipsia. Compendium.
  3. Bartges, Joe (2011). Urine Heaven: Of Bugs and Drugs-Urinary Tract Infections. Western Veterinary Conference.
  4. Duckworth, William C., Bennett, Robert G., Hamel, Frederick G. (1998). Insulin Degradation: Progress and Potential. Endocrine Reviews.
  5. Metabolism of Insulin Through Liver & Kidneys. InChem.
  6. Drug Clearance-Elimination. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  7. Drug & Metabolite Excretion. Merck Veterinary Manual.
  8. Insulin-Metabolism-6.4. InChem.

More Information[]