Renal failure is a common disease of dogs and may result from genetic, toxic, infectious, malignant, vascular, and degenerative causes. Medical and nutritional management with mineral- and protein-restricted diets, gastrointestinal protectants, phosphate binders, antihypertensive medications, and erythropoietin supplementation may temporarily ameliorate the clinical manifestations of mild to moderate renal failure.1 Progressive nephron loss ultimately results in end-stage renal disease, which is only variably responsive to conventional medical treatment. Definitive treatment is possible only with hemodialysis or renal transplantation. Hemodialysis is now available in many universities and referral hospitals and can alleviate many of the signs of end-stage renal disease, but patients require dialysis 2 to 3 times/wk.1 Renal transplantation has been the treatment of choice for end-stage renal disease in humans for > 30 years and in cats for > 15 years, but transplantation in dogs has not yet been performed as commonly.2–5
Human renal transplant programs rely on cadaveric and living kidney donors. Donor kidneys from related living donors are optimal because delay of allograft function is less common, optimal histocompatibility matching is possible, and donation and transplantation can better be coordinated. Longitudinal studies4,6-9 in humans clearly reveal that kidney donation is associated with minimal surgical risk and is safe for the donor. Moreover, kidney donation does not increase the risk of long-term metabolic complications or early renal disease.6
Veterinary renal transplant programs rely on living kidney donors because of impracticalities associated with cadaveric renal transplantation. Most reports in the literature have emphasized preoperative, operative, and postoperative care of the recipient, but the health of donor dogs is of equal importance, and preoperative screening is paramount to ensure that donors are not put at risk as a result of donation. The purpose of the study reported here was to assess clinical status and renal and hematopoietic function in healthy dogs after unilateral nephrectomy for kidney donation and to identify potential problems resulting from kidney donation.
Glomerular filtration rate
Achieve biopsy needle, Guidant Co, St Louis, Mo.
SigmaStat Statistical Software, version 3.0, SPSS Inc, Chicago, Ill.
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