Talk to me about BUN levels

    • Gold Top Dog

    Talk to me about BUN levels

    I did some looking online but wondered if anyone else had some suggestions or thoughts. 

    Kota is on Pheno for his seizures and he's on Metacam for his leg pain. He had his levels checked on Wed and the only thing that came back abnormal was the BUN level. Normal is 7 to 27 and his was 47, so pretty high.  Vet wants to do a recheck in a month and also have us cut back the Metacam to half the dose.

    From some sites I've looked at and from this forum as well, seems like if the only thing wrong was the BUN that it could be a simple fluctuation type of thing.

    I have this scary dread that by years' end two of my dogs will have passed away. :( 

    ETA: it was 43, but still high.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Are you using *tons* of milk thistle?  I sure would.  Both of those can have really serious side effects. 

    It isn't just BUN -- it's almost misleading on bloodwork when you see this or that "high" or "low -- because the real story in bloodwork the the relationship of various levels one to another.  Usually they don't worry about *Just* one level being high but if the BUN and creatinine were both high then they'd worry more.

    Is there any chance at all you might try TCVM/acupuncture.  It absolutely rocks for seizure control -- and often you can decrease the pheno by substituting some Chinese herbs.  There is one - Di Tan Tang - that both Kee Shu and Pirate have been on and it is **very** like pheno but without the side effects. 

    Essentially -- seizures are all about electrical wiring in the brain and it is electrical energy that acupuncture uses (essentially that's what "chi" is in the body -- electrical/neural stimulation)

    And for any kind of pain management acupuncture absolutely is awesone and I can attest to that myself (and what ... 8 of my dogs have had acupuncture thus far?? and specifically for pain management for 4 of those) -- there's a locator on the left but email me and we can talk about it.  Particularly about choosing one.

    I understand that scarey feeling -- man, more than I would wish.  Milk thistle can really help stack the deck in your favor -- but get it in bulk.  It's not nasty tasting and it's WAY cheaper that way (and the dogs don't have to digest the cellulose caps either).

    • Gold Top Dog

    Was he fasted prior to drawing blood?  Higher BUN levels can be related to a previous high protein diet.  Dehydration also to a lesser extent.  I'm thinking if the bun/crea ratio is normal and all the other chem numbers are good then there may be no cause for concern.  Could always have them run a urinalysis just to be even more certain.

    I don't know enough on the drugs mentioned above to comment...maybe someone else does.

    I have this scary dread that by years' end two of my dogs will have passed away. :( 

    Oh my....i know the feeling exactly!!!!    Hugs


    ETA:  Callie to the rescue!!!   I second the milk thistle!

    • Gold Top Dog

    There are lots of things (some treatable) that can cause the BUN to be off.  If the BUN gets over 80 you need to have him on a high-quality protein diet with low phosphorus.  Absolutely do not put him on a low protein diet.  That treatment for renal problems has been debunked.  Protein does not cause/worsen renal problems, but failing kidneys have trouble processing phosphorus, so the dog is more comfortable on a low phosphorus diet.

    "Renal Disease

    BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)

    CREAT (Creatinine)

    PHOS (Phosphorus)

    There are other blood levels that can be used to determine possible renal disease, but generally these are the first three blood levels to become elevated. Renal disease can be caused by many factors, including genetics  (malformed kidneys), tick borne disease, leptospirosis, chronic urinary tract infections, NSAIDs and other drugs or poison insults. It is important to get a good diagnosis from your veterinarian and to understand if the problem is acute (treatable) or chronic.

    Simple diet adjustments can be helpful for dogs with renal problems, especially when the BUN is over 80 and creatinine is over 2 or 3.  Two simple diet adjustments that can be very beneficial are providing moist foods and foods lower in phosphorus.  Moist foods will help keep the dog's body from pulling other body fluids to the digestive tract to help digest the food.  Additionally, dogs with impaired kidneys have trouble processing phosphorus, so feeding foods with reduced or lower levels of phosphorus helps reduce the strain on the kidneys. For more diet information for dogs with kidney disease, see the link below:

    • Gold Top Dog

    I think Johnny is correct.  The BUN can be thrown off by high protein in the diet.  I know as a vegetarian myself mine is always low.  That's not to say the solution is a low protein diet-but I'm fairly certain the protein breaking down is what is causing the high number.   

    Was Kota being treated for kidney problems? 


    • Gold Top Dog

     He was not fasted before the test.  He eats Canidae Grain Free ALS, I don't have a bag on hand (we dump into a resealable container) to check the protein but it is higher than what he used to eat.

    He's had 4 rounds of acupuncture and while he didn't mind them, we didn't see any noticeable improvement and at $60 a pop, they were too expensive to continue.

    I do not have him on milk thistle but have often thought about it. I've requested a copy of the report and will report back on numbers.

    ETA: all his other levels are in normal range.

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    • Gold Top Dog

     FWIW  Bugsy's BUN is always high normal or just over normal (not in the 40's though, upper 20's) as long as the bun/crea ratio is good we were told that it is OK.  Plus Bugsy is on a high protein diet/raw which can elevate it somewhat.  Not into the 40's though, I would think the he was potentially dehydrated when they did the test.

    BUN is a kidney function factor.  Milk thistle is a great idea with the metacam but milk thistle helps the liver not the kidneys as far as I know

    • Gold Top Dog

    I think higher doses of milk thistle will also help the kidneys.  I'm not exactly sure how much that means-never was clear on "dosing" for this type of thing. 

    • Gold Top Dog

     I wouldn't worry unless the level is consistently high or if other levels rise. Ginger had one test where her BUN came back fairly high, but all other levels were fine. We rechecked a few weeks later and everything was normal.

     She was on no meds

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