About canine proteinuria
While it’s perfectly normal for a healthy dog to have a trace amount of protein in its urine, when a urinalysis identifies excessive protein in the urine this condition is known as proteinuria.
Causes of canine proteinuria
There are number of potential causes of canine proteinuria. The source of the problem can come from all of the varying structures within the urinary tract as well as from connected portions of the reproductive system. Potential causes include:
- Infection (of the bladder for example)
- Fever (can cause temporary canine proteinuria)
- Inflammation (such as caused by stones, polyps or tumours)
- Bleeding of the urinary system
- Glomerular disease leading to chronic kidney disease
- Diseases such as Lyme disease, diabetes and Cushing’s disease
Of these, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is probably the most common cause.
Symptoms of canine proteinuria
Because proteinuria is in itself a symptom. The symptoms of an individual dog’s proteinuria can vary according to their underlying cause.
Difficulty in urinating/inability to urinate
Blood in the urine
Strong odour to the urine
Loss of appetite (anorexia)
Lethargy and or weakness
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Increased thirst and urination
Managing canine proteinuria
All is not necessarily lost if your dog develops proteinuria. Particularly if the disease is detected in its early stages. Depending on the underlying cause, the prognosis can be very encouraging.
If for example the cause turns out to be an infection in the urinary tract, a simple course of antibiotics is likely to resolve the situation.
Even if the cause is diagnosed as glomerular disease, a satisfactory outcome can still be achieved in many cases. Especially with appropriate dietary changes and monitoring on an ongoing basis.
Studies have proven that improving a dog’s nutrition can slow down the progression of the disease and prolong life expectancy considerably.
Improving your dog’s diet is paramount. Changing from one dried food to another, even if it is said to be a renal function or kidney support diet, is simply not going to work. In addition to costing a lot more money, it is still likely to contain the same low-grade ingredients and, because it’s dry, cause your dog’s already compromised kidneys to work all the harder. Evidence suggests there is unlikely to be any increase in life expectancy by changing from one dried food to another, whatever the advertised benefits.
Dietary requirements of proteinuria
There is strong evidence to support the case for changing to a more species-appropriate diet such as homemade food made with fresh natural ingredients if your dog is diagnosed with proteinuria.
Key to the success of this is the proven need to reduce dietary phosphorus at the same time as adding extra omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish body oil. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids from the likes of salmon oil have proven successful in combating kidney-related diseases such as proteinuria.