Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What are Intestinal Protein Loss?

Animals absorb essential nutrients such as protein through their intestines, especially the small intestine. The small intestine is creased and folded with projections called villi that increase the available surface area for absorption. A healthy animal should be able to absorb most or all of the useful components of their food. Sometimes, a food allergy or anything causing inflammation of the gut can flatten these villi and/or impair the complete absorption of nutrition. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and electrolyte imbalance. Contact and schedule an appointment with a veterinarian immediately if you notice your dog has vomited, passed irregularly soft stool, or seems to be losing weight. Intestinal disorders often come on very gradually, and treating them before they become more severe is the best course of action.

Protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), sometimes referred to as intestinal protein loss, is a failure to absorb sufficient protein present in the animal’s diet. Thus, it is “lost” during waste excretion. Malabsorptive disorders such as PLE can indicate inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), food allergy, intestinal cancer, intestinal infections/parasites, heart conditions or rarely in conjunction with a pulmonary thromboembolism. Many malabsorption disorders are idiopathic and can only be managed rather than fully treated.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

Intestinal Protein Loss Average Cost

From 68 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

Symptoms of Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Bloated uncomfortable abdomen (fluid in the abdomen)
  • Difficult breathing (fluid in the chest) (Heart problem)
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and abnormal behavior (resulting from low blood calcium)
  • Excessive urination
  • Uncharacteristic lack of energy
  • Fluid buildup in tissues (edema) - you will notice this in your dog's legs and feet
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

  • Food allergy
  • Infection in the intestines, this can arise in many shapes and forms including:
    • Salmonella - Bacterial
    • Fungal
    • Viral (Parvo)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Parasitic infection - hookworms, whipworms
  • Ulcers in the stomach or intestines
  • Lymphangiectasia
  • Pulmonary thromboembolism (rare)
  • Intestinal Neoplasia - lymphoma, adenocarcinoma
  • Congestive herat failure
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

Take your pet to the veterinarian’s office for any gastrointestinal upset that does not resolve by the next meal given. Be prepared to give a detailed medical history of your pet, including any medications, recent surgeries or dietary changes. If you make your pet’s food at home, yourself, or are attempting to feed your dog a vegetarian diet, share this with the veterinarian as well. In all likelihood, the veterinarian will request a stool sample for gastrointestinal complaints, so it can speed up the diagnosis to collect one prior to visiting the veterinarian.

The veterinarian’s main goal will be to differentiate protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) from numerous other conditions that present with similar symptoms. Many times, PLE presents as a symptom of a broader gastrointestinal ailment. First, a physical examination of your dog may reveal loss of muscle mass and fluid accumulation in body cavities (abdomen/chest). The veterinarian will feel for abnormalities in your dog’s abdomen. Blood tests will show if the blood protein (albumin and globulin) is low, as well as if the calcium and cholesterol is low. An analysis of the dog’s urine can rule out protein-losing kidney disease. An ultrasound the abdomen if often recommended. An ultrasound is a helpful noninvasive tool for viewing the inside of the body without bulky or expensive equipment. The veterinarian will be able to spot bowel inflammation and identify if any abnormalities can be biopsied with an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with surgical instruments and/or a camera on the end. This can be used to take a tissue sample for examination in the lab. Sometimes a laparotomy (abdominal exploratory) is required to get full thickness biopsies of the intestine and biopsies of the lymph nodes to get a diagnosis.

Examination of the pet’s stool can determine whether small or large intestine-based diarrhea is occurring, and the presence of parasites. Small intestine-based diarrhea can indicate PLE. Blood tests can rule out infection or implicate parasites, and an analysis of the dog’s urine can rule out protein-losing kidney disease.

Another helpful clue can be low calcium, a side effect of PLE, and causes tremors, abnormal behavior, and elevated heart rate. Finally, administering an IV radiotracer of 51CrCl3 can identify PLE by measuring how long it takes the radioactive marker (which binds to protein) to be excreted.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

PLE is best managed by treating the underlying condition if any. Parasitic infections are treated with antiparasitic drugs, IBD with immune system suppressants, surgery and/or chemotherapy for cancer of the bowel, antibiotics for intestinal infections, appropriate medications for congestive heart failure, low-fat diet for lymphangectasia, and in the rare event of a pulmonary thromboembolism, removal of the clot and administration of blood thinners. Idiopathic PLE (not arising from any identifiable cause) is treated in two ways, the first of which is supplementing the animal’s diet with high-quality, easily digestible foods rich in protein and unsaturated fatty acids. Second, an elimination diet can be given to see if a food allergen or component of the animal’s diet is irritating the bowel. This involves systematically replacing certain food items with others and monitoring the animal’s response for improvement.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

If an underlying cause is not found, idiopathic PLE is a lifelong but manageable condition. Proper supplementation of the dog’s diet with formulas approved by the veterinarian is often successful in providing your pet with a good quality of life, as long as irritating or hard-to-digest foods are avoided. Follow-up appointments should be made every few months to monitor nutrition uptake, weight gain, and blood chemistry (albumin and globulin). Test different exercise schedules for your dog. You may need to adjust the length, time, and difficulty of common walking routes. If your dog is undergoing a new prescription or medication for treatment, be sure to allow your dog a personal space to rest. It's critically important to give your dog time and space to heal away from distractions, especially other pets.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Intestinal Protein Loss Average Cost

From 68 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

arrow-up-icon

Top

Intestinal Protein Loss Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

Chloe

dog-breed-icon

Siberian Husky

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Ple

Hi, my poor baby, Chloe, was diagnosed with PLE 2 weeks ago. She swole up to 3-4 times her size in a matter of hours so we rushed her to a vet hospital where we got this diagnosis. She had her abdomen drained via catheters. She was back to her normal size and was acting back to normal the next day. Day 5 after her catheter drainage, she swole back up to 4 times her typical size. Now she has a hard time breathing. And she can’t stand up. Her back legs have pretty much given out. She isn’t herself and she looks so tired. We don’t know if it’s her age or if it’s the 20 pounds she’s gained and her legs can’t handle that much weight. She is on a bland low fat high protein diet. I make her rice and chicken every day and interchange it with the low fat high protein wet dog food the ER vet told us to get. And she’s on a bunch of medications, Omeprazole, Proin, Amoxicillin, Medoprazole, Dexamethasone, and anti nausea medicine. She takes them as prescribed. We just don’t know if this turn for the worse is normal with a PLE diagnosis, if it will get better, if we drain her again will this do the same thing or will she get better, is this life threatening to her, how much life should we expect from her, and what portion of the projected life will be quality life. We love our baby girl and we don’t like seeing her in pain. We don’t want her to suffer for the rest of her either. We just want our happy Chloe back and we don’t know what the best route is. Our vets Keep going back and forth with what to do next and we just feel like a paycheck to their system at this point. Thank you for your help!

May 11, 2018

Chloe's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Cases of protein losing enteropathy can be difficult to manage and has many different underlying cause with treatment being tied to the specific underlying cause along with management. The use of diuretics may be used to try and increase renal clearance of fluid, spironolactone or furosemide may be used; any other treatment would depend on the primary cause of the intestinal protein loss. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/care-dogs-with-protein-losing-enteropathy-proceedings

May 11, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Cookie

dog-breed-icon

Olde English Bulldogge

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

No New Symptons As Of Now

My dog was on the verge of death being misdiagnosed by our Exvet. Needless to say she has an an extremely long road to recovery spending many days in the hospital on Ivs and so on . She is on cyclosporine metronidazole omeprazole clopdigrel prednisone calcitriol ans b12 shots once a week. One of her proteins is still in the low range and she’s not gaining much more weight , We got the ok for her to try fresh fruits and vegggies again I’m just wondering which ones world be the best for her ? What’s something high in protein low in fat and easy on the belly ? Egg whites ? Pumpkin ? Strawberries? Acidic Better for absorption or worse for sensitive bellies ? Thanks !

March 11, 2018

Cookie's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Without knowing what diagnosis your veterinarian has decided for Cookie, I can't comment on what foods are appropriate for her - it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, as they are aware of her situation and condition. They'll be able to responsibly recommend diet changes. I hope that she continues to recover well.

March 11, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Intestinal Protein Loss Average Cost

From 68 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,400

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image
Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.