The only way to know for sure whether or not a dog has a kidney infection is through a veterinary examination. According to the Merck Manual for Pet Health, symptoms that may indicate a kidney infection include pain in the sides, fever and a general sense that the dog is not well. Vomiting, reduced appetite, increased urination or thirst are other symptoms of a possible kidney infection.
The Merck Manual for Pet Health states that veterinarians are often able to diagnose kidney infections by examining the blood or the urine of a dog; however, determining the cause for the infection is not always possible. Very young and very old dogs are at higher risk for developing kidney infections than middle-aged dogs. Additionally, dogs with compromised immune systems or a history of kidney stones or bladder obstructions are at higher risk than healthy dogs. Kidney infections, which veterinarians call pyelonephritis, can be very serious. Sometimes, dogs with long-term, chronic pyelonephritis may not display many symptoms until they suddenly experience acute kidney failure.
The Merck Manual for Pet Health explains that treating a kidney infection usually involves four to six weeks of antibiotics. In severe cases, the affected kidney must be removed to prevent the infection from spreading to the healthy kidney.