What is Renal Dysplasia?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I am so upset – I recently got a dog and was told that she has renal dysplasia. What is this? Is she going to live?


Jessica B. – Palm City, FL


Hi – thanks for your email. I'm very sorry to hear about your dog. Is she sick? How did they diagnose it?

To answer your question, renal dysplasia, also known as familial renal disease or progressive juvenile nephropathy, is a disease in which development of the kidney tissue is abnormal.

I have an article on our site about it. I'll give you some of that information here:

Clinical signs of the disorder typically occur before the age of two years. Ultimately, renal dysplasia can result in chronic renal (kidney) failure and death.


Kidney failure is the malfunction of the kidneys to filter waste products produced by the body. Waste products are normally carried by blood to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted in the form of urine. When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove these waste products causing toxins to build up in the blood producing clinical signs of kidney disease. Kidney failure affects almost every body system causing many changes throughout the body.

Some dogs will get sick and others won't. If the renal dysplasia is severe enough kidney failure will occur.

I'd recommend talking to your vet, have her evaluated and allow them to check her blood to see what her values are at this time. If she does not have any symptoms or blood abnormalities, that is great. There is medication that can be given to treat this condition once signs of kidney failure occur.

The prognosis really varies with the severity of the condition. Repeat blood testing will help determine the progression of the disease and ultimate prognosis.

An article that might be helpful to you is Renal Dysplasia in Dogs (Familial Renal Disease) and Chronic Renal (Kidney) Failure in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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