Proteinuria in Dogs

Proteinuria is a serious condition that can occur in dogs. It can cause a multitude of lasting effects on your pet and is something that should be treated as soon as possible.

Defining Proteinuria

Proteinuria is something that happens when there is too much protein present in your dog's urine. In ordinary urine, there is only a small amount of protein present, but when proteinuria forms, the protein becomes too large and too much in quantity to be able to pass through the filters of the kidneys. This will cause blood protein - which is necessary for your dog - to become lost within the quantity of abnormal protein.

In most cases, this is something that will occur in older dogs. It is something that can sneak up without any warning whatsoever, so it is always important to keep an eye on your dog and make sure that he has regular check-ups.

Causes of Proteinuria

There are a few different causes that could be behind this condition.

  • Cushing's disease
  • Infectious diseases
  • Immune mediated diseases
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichia

Symptoms of Proteinuria

Many symptoms for this condition do not actually appear until it has progressed to a very serious level. The first symptom that can be noticed is any amount of blood in your dog's urine, especially in older dogs. If you notice this, no matter how small the amount may seem, it is very important that you take your dog to your veterinarian. Early detection can prevent the worst of the damage and avoid your dog losing valuable protein.

As the disease progresses to more severe levels, other symptoms will appear, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pus in the urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Infection
  • Scar tissue on the kidneys
  • Excess fat in the blood

Diagnosing Proteinuria

Diagnosis includes checking for underlying symptoms, such as kidney disease or kidney failure, or Cushing's disease. Your vet may perform more tests, such as a clotting profile or a kidney biopsy. A 24 hour urine quantification can be performed, where urine is taken from the dog over a period of 24 hours to observe frequency of urination and to examine the urine.

Treatments for Proteinuria

High protein amounts in dog urine are a cause usually cleared up with a simple dietary change for your dog. The new diet will involve lower amounts of protein, low phosphorus and low sodium with Omega 3 fatty acids. Underlying causes could be the culprit as well. First and foremost, if there is any underlying cause behind the proteinuria, it needs to be treated. Depending on what this cause is, treatments will vary.

Once the underlying issue has been taken care of, the proteinuria can be dealt with. This is usually handled by putting your dog on a special protein-restricted diet. This diet can also include an Omega 3 fatty acid supplements to help out. In some cases, baby aspirin will be given to help prevent other problems, such as blood clotting.