Proteinuria in Dogs: What Is It?

10 September, 2020
Proteinuria in dogs is a pathological condition that results from an alteration in some of the organ systems. In this article we explain everything you need to know about this condition.
 

So, proteinuria in dogs: what is it? When faced with clinical cases, vets use certain techniques to find out the root of the problem.

You could say that these signs are like breadcrumbs that lead us to the cause of the issue. Proteinuria in dogs is one of those breadcrumbs, which generally leads us to the kidney. However, it can also lead to problems in other parts of the body.

Proteinuria in dogs: what is it?

Semiology is a fundamental discipline that, among other things, is responsible for cataloging and labeling clinical signs. If we analyze proteinuria from a semiological point of view, we find that:

  • Protein-: Prefix that refers to proteins.
  • -uria: Suffix meaning urinary excretion.

So, proteinuria is nothing more than an abnormal increase in the amount of urinary protein.

This condition is usually found through the use of test strips. This is very quick, useful, and effective. These test strips have the same function as those used in human medicine to establish the diagnosis of urinary infections, as well as other things.

Proteinuria in dogs.
Currently there are other more specific methods for diagnosing proteinuria.

Proteinuria in dogs: how is it produced?

In order to understand this condition better, we’ve split the causes into three components:

 

Prerenal causes

What we mean by this are causes that aren’t related to kidney problems, but other conditions which increase the flow of proteins to the kidney.

Therefore, in this section we can find:

  • Fever: certain processes that occur with high fevers
  • Seizures
  • Hypothermia: A significant drop in body temperature.
  • Excessive exercise: Where there is a significant injury to muscle tissue.
  • Hemolytic anemias

Generally speaking, in these conditions proteinuria is nothing more than a collateral consequence, and it’s rarely a major problem. In fact, it often goes completely unnoticed and is resolved only by treating the primary problem.

Kidney causes

When the problem is to do with kidney dysfunction, it produces a failure in its filtering capacity, which then eliminates proteins.

In this section we find various kidney diseases, such as:

  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Amyloidosis
  • Glomerulosclerosis
  • Diseases that affect kidney tissue, such as leishmaniasis

Postrenal causes

These are problems that produce protein elimination, but the issue is between the kidney and the urinary tract.

In this section we can find pathological processes such as:

  • Hemorrhages: By some trauma or erosion, such as the presence of crystals in the urine. When blood is excreted in the urine, proteinuria occurs.
  • Urinary tract infection: Urinary tract infections can produce an increase in excreted proteins as a result of the blood produced and the presence of white blood cells.
  • Prostate problems in males.

Proteinuria in dogs: how can it be treated?

This condition doesn’t usually require specific treatment. Normally you can resolve the primary cause and, as a result, the proteinuria recovers naturally.

However, while it’s true that it isn’t a serious problem, you should still be aware of it. It’s still a significant loss of protein, whatever the origin, and it can lead to undesirable conditions such as:

  • Edema
  • Thromboembolism
  • Systematic hypertension
  • Problems in wound healing
A sick dog.
 

Considerations

Proteinuria is a sign that goes completely unnoticed by dog owners. As we’ve already seen, it’s found by a series of chemical tests carried out by a vet.

However, while proteinuria, as such, isn’t possible to detect with the naked eye, we can take into account certain important signs which may be related to it. For example:

  • Urine color: Dark and reddish.
  • Frequency of urination: More urination, which can be related to kidney problems.
  • Difficulty urinating: If the dog urinates little, and in drops, it can mean a urinary infection.