By Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M.
Both acute and chronic kidney failure are serious illnesses that afflict dogs, cats, horses and other animals. Conventional treatment can help manage many of the symptoms. Supplementing with calcium Montmorillonite clay may help with a number of conditions brought on by kidney failure. Scientific research has proven calcium Montmorillonite effective in preventing osteoporosis and there are virtually no contraindications for its use. In addition to augmenting standard treatment for kidney disease, calcium Montmorillonite clay can be used as a daily supplement for animals to improve overall health.
What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease in dogs and cats often occurs in two main groups.
1. Acute Kidney Failure
The first group relates to a sudden failure of the kidneys known as acute kidney failure. This generally occurs when the patient ingests a poison or a toxin or is exposed to Leptospirosis (a rare and serious bacterial infection) and through urine formation, the kidneys are damaged.
2. Chronic Renal/Kidney Failure
The second group relates to a slow deterioration of the functional units of the kidneys. In cats, this condition is referred to as chronic renal failure. In dogs, this condition is referred to as chronic kidney failure. This can happen through slow ingestion of toxins, damaging heavy metals, poisons, radiation, and chronic inflammation due to an infection or due to an endocrine immune imbalance.
Improper diet, and/or a diet containing poor quality protein may also cause an excess use of the kidneys’ ability to breakdown and excrete increased amount of nitrogenous waste products. Often the patient loses muscle mass, overall weight, and loss of appetite due to the elevated nitrogen level. Once your health care professional has made this diagnosis - and with your help - the following treatments may be suggested.
Subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be instigated to help perfuse the kidneys and help flush out the nitrogenous waste products. Note: If this is done for 48 hours, and the very elevated BUN diminishes only 10 to 15 points, there is a good chance that the kidneys may be permanently damaged, and to continue therapy may cause unnecessary suffering and expense for the patient. Your health care professional will advise you properly.
A special diet is usually recommended. For many years, a low protein diet was recommended, as it is thought to reduce the “pressure” placed upon the remaining functional kidney units referred to as nephrons for protein breakdown. The kidneys both in animals and humans detox waste product from the process of metabolizing protein. I have always believed, that high quality protein, in a small quantity, more frequently, would allow for less insult on the remaining nephrons. For pets, this would include the same attributes sought for humans:
-Hormone- and antibiotic-free
This would include the same The diet also needs to be low in phosphorus since with kidney failure, phosphorus retention occurs. High quality protein, organic, grass-fed.
Often Omega 3 fatty acids are given and their anti-inflammatory action, can be enhanced when Vitamin E is also given, to help reduce any inflammation that is helping destroy the kidneys. Much more recently krill oil is being substituted for the fatty acids.
A product called Calcitriol is often given due to advanced kidney disease, which may cause a lack of Vitamin D production.
Tumil K (potassium gluconate) may be needed, if the kidney disease causes the potassium levels to drop too low.
A Natural, Complementary Treatment
Health care professionals and pet owners that would like to use a more natural treatment to not only enhance normal treatment of patients with kidney disease, but also as a preventative treatment to help reduce the development of kidney disease, should consider including the use of a natural, earth created mineral compound called calcium Montmorillonite clay. I have found this to be a better way to enhance the treatment of kidney disease in both dogs and cats even while still using traditional therapy. As I am not an equine veterinarian I cannot report on my direct experience of patients’ use of clay to treat renal disease in horses, but I assume it is similarly effective.
Improved Micronutrient Absorption
Calcium Montmorillonite clay from the Death Valley area in California originates from volcanic ash that has baked in the hot sun for many centuries. It is thought that the exposure to high temperature from the sun, allows the micronutrient to lose one molecule of water, and create a negative ion that allows the micronutrient – once ingested - to enter the cell, through the cell membrane. This negative ion helps other essential nutrients, vitamins and supplements to traverse the cell membrane also.
Another very important feature of this special calcium Montmorillonite is that it helps neutralize harmful toxins that enter the body through the mouth, the nose and the skin. When hydrated, the clay’s negative ionic charge becomes available or ‘alive’. As it moves through the body, the clay attracts positively charged molecules (toxins, parasites, harmful bacteria, allergens) to the outside surface of the clay molecule. In addition, the clay absorbs or binds the toxins into its internal molecular structure. The negative ions are exchanged with the positive ions and the clay is eliminated from the body.
The importance of these trace minerals - in addition to providing micronutrients that do not occur in depleted agricultural soils - is that they have been created in a chelated state, meaning that the body will not absorb any of these micronutrients unless the body needs them. This eliminates the possibility of over- mineralization.
Conditions Clay May Help With
Supplementation with this special living clay may make a difference for the patient, while providing an additional natural supplement to enhance their nutritional health and aid the actual healing process. We can only treat the clinical effects of a disease, but often the success or failure of our therapy will depend on the overall health of the patient. Calcium Montmorillonite can make that difference.
The elevated nitrogen that builds up in the blood stream from failing kidneys can cause many problems. The resulting high level blood urea nitrogen (BUN) can irritate the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines, reduce red blood cell production and inflame the pancreas. Often Carafate is used to sooth this irritation. Calcium Montmorillonite contains many micronutrients, which will have a similar soothing effect like Carafate, but is natural.
The irritation of the gastro intestinal system that occurs from the elevated BUN can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and the calcium Montmorillonite will help stop this with its soothing effect. Calcium Montmorillonite aids with absorption of normal foods while also “settling” the stomach and intestines.
Calcium Montmorillonite also provides a chelated potassium and calcium to help correct any ratio imbalance caused by failing kidneys.
Osteoporosis From Phosphorous Retention
Another serious problem that is often encountered with kidney disease in animals is the retention of phosphorus. The body tries to maintain a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. When kidney disease causes retention of phosphorus, the body often will remove calcium from the bone in order to try to maintain a normal ratio, causing osteoporosis.
Products like Amphogel and Maalox are used to help keep the phosphorus levels under control. Including the use of a calcium Montmorillonite, which is very high in chelated calcium, and can make a difference in reducing the amount of bone loss that occurs due to the kidney retention of phosphorus. It is also used extensively in people and animals that suffer from lack of bone density, aka osteoporosis, that do not have a kidney disease. Scientists and researchers have found that the use of calcium Montmorillonite will allow for normal bone density to remain, while also correcting a state of diminished bone density.
Not only can the use of calcium Montmorillonite. help stop bacterial infections in the already damaged kidneys, but it can also help neutralize toxic molecules that may continue the damage.
Renal studies in allied species conducted at X’an Jiaotong University College of Medicine indicate that calcium Montmorillonite. will help reduce elevated serum urea through concentration and increased excretion by the intestines.
Beyond Renal Disease
Over 30 years ago I began using calcium Montmorillonite extensively in my practice to treat many different conditions as well as for better overall health for all of my patients including dogs, cats, horses, livestock, birds, wildlife and fish. recommend daily supplementation of pet food with calcium Montmorillonite to help reduce the effects of toxins, damaging heavy metals and radiation. I have also used it successfully with my friends and family, our family pets and of course myself.
Scientific Research on Clay
Dr. Walter Bennett
Dr. Walter Bennett, PhD, Epistemologist and Research Scientist published the following on calcium Montmorillonite:
-It is a valuable food supplement as a source of most essential minerals.
-It is an effective topical treatment for dermatological disorders.
-It is a safe, effective dressing for burns, abrasions, lacerations and punctures.
-It is a safe, fast, and effective remedy for gastrointestinal distress.
-IT HAS NO CONTRAINDICATIONS TO HUMAN HEALTH.
This is what I have also found in the early 1980’s in over 5,000 patients. For these reasons, I have also found that using this special living clay is helpful to add to standard therapy for kidney disease in dogs, cats and horses.
The NASA Study
Controlled studies were conducted by Benjamin H. Ershoff, PhD, to find a calcium supplement that might help NASA astronauts fight bone density loss or osteoporosis. His studies were conducted with male rats, hamsters, mice and miniature pigs. His findings were reported to NASA Manned Spacecraft Center as “The Physiological Effects of Dietary Clay Supplements”. Calcium Montmorillonite clay increased the growth rate of the animals and in addition, protected them from a nutrient-deficient diet.
Hydrated Bentonite Studies
Several laboratory studies were done by a major researcher showing the antibacterial effect of calcium Montmorillonite. The major researcher was Dr. Howard E. Lind, BS, MS, PHD, with a huge list of accomplishments including many research foundations that he headed. Experiment I proved that hydrated bentonite was able to remove bacteria via sorption. Experiment II proved that significant numbers of gram-negative bacteria (E.Coli) were reduced with hydrated bentonite. It also showed that hydrated bentonite is only one-third effective as to a gram-positive organism (S. Aureus).
Eaton, Jason, Upon A Clay Tablet, Las Vegas NV, AV Marketing Group, 2009
Knishinsky, Ran, The Clay Cure: Natural Healing From the Earth, Healing Arts Press, 1998