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What is Excess Protein in the Urine?

A diagnosis of proteinuria, or excess protein in the urine, may be alarming for cat owners, but a plan can be made with your veterinarian for your cat's long-term care and quality of life. A diet change is often required to ensure your cat's renal health.

Though it is easily diagnosed with a simple laboratory test, excess protein in the urine in cats can have a variety of causes that range from acute and treatable to chronic and merely manageable. Protein is filtered from the blood and the gastrointestinal system by the kidneys when they are fully functioning, and excess protein in the urine can indicate a potential renal problem. 

Excess Protein in the Urine Average Cost

From 590 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

Symptoms of Excess Protein in the Urine in Cats

Often there are no symptoms or proteinuria, but there may be symptoms that are related to the underlying cause of the excess protein in the urine. Owners may notice a strong odor to the urine when there is a high level of protein present. An uncommon symptom of proteinuria that may also be present is hematuria, or blood in the urine. This may occur due to the strain that is being put on the kidneys or may be related to the underlying cause of the proteinuria. 

Types

  • Acute proteinuria has a sudden onset and is typically caused by benign factors, such as a diet high in protein, or emergency reasons, such as kidney trauma or poisoning.
  • Chronic proteinuria occurs when there is prolonged stress on the kidneys or progressive renal insufficiency.
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Causes of Excess Protein in the Urine in Cats

Proteinuria is a condition with many potential causes that range in severity. If a cat is found to have proteinuria during routine testing or when an illness is suspected, the cause for the excess level of protein should be thoroughly investigated due to the potential for more serious problems. Though there are other possible causes for proteinuria, some more common ones include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Kidney infection or inflammation
  • High-protein diet
  • Hypertension
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Parasites (such as lungworms and hookworms)
  • Cancer of the bladder or kidneys
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Diagnosis of Excess Protein in the Urine in Cats

Excess protein in the urine in cats is diagnosed through urinalysis testing. The easiest way for a veterinarian to diagnose proteinuria is to obtain a sterile urine sample to perform a urine dipstick test on. The sterile sample is ideally obtained by cystocentesis, a process in which the veterinarian uses a long needle to obtain the sample from the bladder through the body wall. A sterile sample can also be gathered through urinary catheterization if the patient allows it. A drop of urine is then placed on each square of the test strip and is allowed to sit for the designated time for each test square. Protein levels, the presence of blood and the pH of the urine can all be checked for with the same dipstick test.

A ratio of the urine protein and creatinine levels can also be performed on the urine to determine the level of function that the kidneys have. If glomerular disease or other kidney disease is suspected, the veterinarian may recommend a biopsy of the kidneys to determine if there is a pathological cause for the low level of functioning.

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Treatment of Excess Protein in the Urine in Cats

To treat proteinuria, veterinarians must first treat the underlying cause for the condition. If an infection is present, antibiotics will be prescribed. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be prescribed in conjunction to treat inflammation. An uncontrolled disease such as diabetes or hypertension may cause proteinuria, and controlling the disease with medication is the best way to treat proteinuria in these instances.

Hospitalization with intravenous fluids may be recommended if the proteinuria is due to renal disease. Many cats with renal disease become so dehydrated that they do not want to eat and their other systems begin to shut down, so fluids are often used to increase hydration and replenish the body's electrolytes while also flushing the kidneys to cleanse them. Some cats will be prescribed subcutaneous fluids to be administered at home to continue to hydrate and cleanse the body.

Whether the cause for proteinuria is as simple as a high-protein diet or as complicated as renal cancer, a diet change may be recommended. A veterinarian may suggest a prescription diet that is designed for increased kidney function. 

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Recovery of Excess Protein in the Urine in Cats

The prognosis for a cat with proteinuria depends largely on the cause for the excess protein being excreted from the body. With the proper treatment for what is causing the proteinuria guided by a veterinarian, cats can live a healthy and fulfilling life. These cats should be regularly monitored with an annual or semi-annual urinalysis and blood work to ensure no progression of problems.

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Excess Protein in the Urine Average Cost

From 590 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

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Excess Protein in the Urine Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Tikvichko

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Mixed breed

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pain In Kidneys Area
Pain In Kidneys Area,Poor Appetite

Hi,my male cat is 6 years old,he shows signs of kidneys problems,so our vet made urine test,it showed he has proteins in the urine, pH 7.0, proteins 2+, leukocytes 2+,is that showing serious problem,how can be treated?Thank you.

Sept. 19, 2018

Tikvichko's Owner

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Lisa

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Siamese

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

She Is Thiner And Her Coat Duller

Hi my cat Lisa is 5 years and I am worried about her urine test results and specifically protein) and I would like your opinion. Do you thing she needs any treatment or further investigation? Thank you! Urine test results: color: straw-like transparency: clear reaction: acid protein: positive specific gravity: 1005 glucose: neg ketones: neg hemoglobin: neg urobilin: neg urobilirubin: neg pus cells: a lot (20 - 30) red blood cells: none microorganisms: a few odor: yes sediment: yes Her blood test results are as follows: RBC: 9.21 Μ/μl HGB: 13.6 g/dl HCT: 45.5 % MCV: 49.4 fl MCH: 14.7 pg/ερ MCHC: 29.8 g/dl RDW: 19.9 % WBC: 22.4 K/μl PLTs: 152 K/μl MPV: 10.1 fl PCV: 0.073 % PDW: 13.7 % Creatinine: 0.92 mg/dl Urea: 60 mmol/L Protein tot: 8 mg/dl SGOT-AST: 55 IU/L SGPT/ALT: 36 IU/L

Sept. 13, 2018

Lisa's Owner


Lisa occasonally takes bronchodilator for respiratory issues!

Sept. 13, 2018

Lisa's Owner

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Piper

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tabby

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Straining To Urinate

My cat has recently been having on and off problems with straining to pee with little coming out. She also from time to time does not use her litter box. She does not seem in pain. The problem started to once again go away after using otc urinary relief drops, but then we moved across the country and it started up again. We took her to the vet once we got to the new house. They did a urine analysis and got negative results for bacterial infections/uti but there was small amounts of excess protein and blood in her urine. They recommended x-rays to rule out kidney stones and also bloodwork to check out her kidneys. It is now 2 days later and she is limping when she walks(one of her back legs) She isn't showing signs of pain but I did hear her and our other cat get into a small fight, so I'm not sure the cause. What do you think the best next direction to go is? I'm currently unemployed and can't financially afford all the tests they are telling me to do.

June 28, 2018

Piper's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The problem is that there are a few possible causes for the presence of protein in the urine, each potential cause has a different treatment so it is important to get the correct diagnosis so that the right treatment is given. Urinary tract infections and urinary stones are the most common causes; however systemic infections, poisoning, tumours, inflammation, autoimmune disease among other causes may lead to protein in the urine. I wish I could give you an answer, but without further testing we cannot be sure what the cause is; there are charity clinics and other nonprofits which help people with tight budgets, it may be worth checking the link below. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.dogingtonpost.com/need-help-with-vet-bills-or-pet-food-there-are-resources-available/

June 29, 2018

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Midnight

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Ferral

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Balance
Loss Of Mass

I'm feeding my cat cat chow he's been on it for years, then he lost weight , I took him to the vet the lab work was fine, they told me to put him on iams so I did I got him on iams high protein was I wrong for doing this

May 7, 2018

Midnight's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Generally it is best to place a cat on a higher protein and fat diet when trying to get them to gain weight; there are many options to help a cat gain weight and not just Iams, your Veterinarian would be able to guide you better especially not if there are some issues like protein in the urine. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 7, 2018

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Callie

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Calico

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Sensitivity
Throwing Up,
Peeing In A Different Area

My cat is 10 years old, I've had her all her life, and she has been relatively healthy. Lately, she has been throwing up at night, a brown mucus color. Also, I tested her urine, and she seems to have a high pH, and the presence of protein.

March 18, 2018

Callie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Testing urine at home can often yield bad results due to non-sterile collection cup (may show a false positive for protein), holding the test strip wrong (there is a right way) as well as using a test kit for humans not cats (or at least taking into account different reference ranges). However, there are a number of different causes for high pH and the presence of protein which may include kidney disease, kidney stones, infections among other causes; if Callie is also vomiting you should visit your Veterinarian on Monday morning for an examination and tests to determine an underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 18, 2018

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Kira

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Bombay

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Vomiting
Not Eating
Peeing Outside Litter Box
Hiding
Lack Of Appetite

I changed my room around & repainted. I changed my bedding to white & noticed stains from my cat as if she was leaking when she laid down. I took her to to the vet & she was diagnosed with a UTI. the vet gave me medicine, but still wanted to do a urinalysis. After a few days of giving her medicine to her, she lost interest in eating, started acting different & was just uninterested in stuff. I figured she was stressed out because I changed my room around but I brought her back to the vet because she hadn’t ate in 3 days. They gave her xrays to rule out constipation but that was not it. I got the urine sample results back & he said the proteins are very high in her urine & it was very diluted. She is now vomiting & peeing outside litter box. I took her to get blood work done so now I’m just waiting for results. :(

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maggie

dog-breed-icon

Cat short hair

dog-age-icon

18 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Protein In Urine

my kitty is 18 shes been healthy..but her urine test showed protein in her urine.but her blood test was good..i feed her hounds and gatos chicken liver can food it is high in protein and also on top she likes fancy feast can turkey giblet.could it be the high protein of her food doing this.how will the vet be able to find out?

Excess Protein in the Urine Average Cost

From 590 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$650

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