What will happen if my dog has a kidney removed?

Our question this week was:

My vet had to do an emergency spay on my 9-year-old Yorkie today. During the surgery she noticed that the left kidney was surrounded by a sack of blood. An x-ray was done but couldn't show the vet what they needed to know. She said an ultrasound would show the problem better. She said it looked like she had a tumor and she is referring her to a kidney specialist surgeon. What is the worst scenario if her left kidney have to be removed?


Debra Harrison


Hi – thanks for your email. I'm sorry to hear about your dog. From what you wrote, your 9-year-old dog was spayed (had an ovariohysterectomy) at which time they found an abnormality associated with one of the kidneys.

Your question is "what will happen if she has one kidney removed". The answer is that it depends on her overall health and the health of the other kidney. If the blood work is normal and the other kidney is normal, she can live normally with only one kidney. If her blood is abnormal suggesting some problems with the "good kidney" then she may have associated problems of chronic kidney failure.

I think a biopsy, ultrasound, and referral to a specialist sounds like a very reasonable approach.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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