Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Juvenile renal disease

Contributor(s): Phil Nicholls, Julien Bazelle


  • Cause: juvenile renal disease is usually caused by a congenital (developmental) or hereditary renal abnormality.
  • The diseases include renal dysplasia, renal agenesis, renal cortical hypoplasia, glomerulopathies or reflux nephropathy with segmental hypoplasia (Ask-Upmark kidney).
  • Signs: the animals present with signs of chronic renal failure, stunted growth, dysphagia, signs related to renal secondary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Diagnosis: history, clinical signs, biochemistry, hematology, blood pressure, urinalysis, radiography, ultrasonography, histopathology.
  • Prognosis: guarded.



  • Not well-defined.
  • Insults during the fetal and neonatal period, eg:
  • Hereditary:
    • A familial basis has not been established in all cases.
    • Hereditary nephropathy: abnormalities of type IV collagen genes. 
    • An autosomal recessive mode of inheritance is probable in Lhasa Apso Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu Shih Tzu breeds.
    • Familial disease has been reported in Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier , Standard Poodle Poodle: Standard , Chow Chow Chow Chow , Alaskan Malamute Alaskan Malamute , Golden Retriever Retriever: Golden and Dutch Kooiker Kooikerhondje.
    • But the disease has been reported in many other breeds also, for which a familial basis has not been shown.
  • Same as chronic renal failure (less common in young dog)

Predisposing factors


  • Breed.


  • Renal disease in immature or young adult dogs which is not associated with primary renal inflammation:
    • Agenesis.
    • Hypoplasia.
    • Dysplasia.
    • Primary cystic diseases.
    • Glomerulopathies.
    • Tubulointerstitial nephropathies.
    • Tubular transport dysfunction.
  • Renal dysplasia is characterized by disorganized development of renal parenchyma due to anomalous differentiation.
  • Induction of the metanephric blastema is initiated but fails to undergo complete differentiation → persistence of poorly differentiated tissue, ie fetal glomeruli and/or tubules, persistent mesenchyme, or anomalous structures, ie atypical tubular epithelium.
  • Persistent metanephric ducts and dysontogenic metaplasia - rare in dogs.
  • Due to agenesis, developmental abnormalities and non-functioning renal tissue signs of chronic renal failure usually develop before the animal is one year old.
  • Increased renal calcium loss → hyperparathyroidism → osteoporosis → increased risk of fibrous osteodystrophy (rubber jaw) and fractures.


  • Once clinical signs develop, the disease progresses rapidly.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Fyfe J C, Hemker S L, Venta P J, Stebbing B, Giger U (2014) Selective intestinal cobalamin malabsorption with proteinuria (Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome) in juvenile Beagles. J Vet Intern Med 28(2), 356-362 PubMed.  
  • Brachthäuser L, Pingen C H, Hecht W, Reinacher M (2013) Rubber jaw in a Weimaraner dog due to juvenile nephropathy. A case without evidence for genetic involvement. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 41(3), 198-202 PubMed.  
  • Fyfe J C, Hemker S L, Venta P J, Fitzgerald C A, Outerbridge C A, Myers  SL, Giger U (2013) An exon 53 frameshift mutation in CUBN abrogates cubam function and causes Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome in dogs. Mol Genet Metab109(4), 390-396 PubMed
  • Lees G E (2013) Kidney diseases caused by glomerular basement membrane type IV collagen defects in dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio) 23(2), 184-193 PubMed
  • Kolbjørnsen O, Heggelund M, Jansen J H (2008) End-stage kidney disease probably due to reflux nephropathy with segmental hypoplasia (Ask-Upmark kidney) in young Boxer dogs in Norway. A retrospective study. Vet Pathol 45(4), 467-474 PubMed.
  • Peeters D et al (2000) Juvenile nephropathy in a Boxer, a Rottweiler, a Collie and an Irish Wolfhound. Aust Vet J 78 (3), 162-165 PubMed.