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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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Hello, Im concerned about my 3 year old english bulldog. After two vet visits they have told me that her urine tests indicate that her protein levels are too high however they seem to not be able to tell me what causes high protein levels in dogs. Therefore my question is what are causes of high protein levels in dogs and how harmful are high protein levels? I imagine it could only be either the diet or something physically wrong with my dog and Im not sure what to do. If I change her diet how should I change it? Are there any supplements that I should give her? Would appreciate any help that you could offer.
Thank you
Is your dog showing high protein levels in her blood and in her urine?
Did you want to know what can cause high protein levels in urine, or blood, or both?
Is your dog acting sick in any way, or were these high protein levels just found on some routine laboratory work?

Dr. K
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hello the levels were shown in her urine and yes they were just routine tests but this is the second time it is showing that. The vet said on some scale that goes up to 4 she is as a 1.6 so it is not terribly high. Im trying to find out if its from diet or something physically wrong with my bulldog. She was a rescue dog and I was able to find her paperwork last night that shows she had this condition even when I was rescuing her back 2 years ago. What type of abnormality would it be? From what I have read it could be a kidney condition she was born with or aquired later but I cant find out what test to have done, What tests should I do first? Is it likely that its from a tick because my other dog did have lyme disease. So basically my main question is more than likely what would be causing this problem? Then my question is what test should I have done first? Please let me know if you need any more info and thank you for your time
High levels of protein in the urine is called proteinuria. This is often the first sign of early renal (kidney) disease and indicates damage to a microscopic part of the kidney called the glomeruli. Basically, there is something wrong with the function of the kidney, that is then allowing proteins that should not escape from the blood into the do so. Hence, why there are elevated levels of protein in the urine.
Other things that can cause high levels of protein in the urine include some type of damage to the urinary tract, that causes hemorrhage (bleeding) into the urine. This blood in the urine will cause high levels of protein in the urine. If you dog does not show any blood in the urine, then this is not the cause of the high protein.

In cases like your dogs, where the patient is showing persistent proteinuria, but is not showing any clinical symptoms of renal disease, treatment to try and control the leakage of protein is considered beneficial. The treatments usually involve drugs called ACE inhibitors (a type of blood pressure medication), which by their actions can lower the leakage of protein into the urine. Diet change to a restricted protein diet (like Hill's k/d or Purina NF) is also beneficial. These diets also tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which leads to lower levels of protein in the urine.

As far as diagnosing what exactly the inciting damage in the kidney is...this involves renal biopsy. What is usually done, is your dog would first have a test called a coagulation panel to make sure that her blood can clot normally. Then she would have an ultrasound (sonogram) of her abdomen to look at the structure of her kidneys. If the doctor doing the sonogram felt that the kidney architecture looked abnormal, then a biopsy of the kidneys would be taken. This biopsy should be able to tell what the underlying problem is, and what is causing it. Then, the most accurate treatment plan can be formulated.

I am attaching a client information handout that I use in my practice that discusses this problem in more detail. I hope that you find it useful.

Click Here

I hope that this information is of help to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your dog. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Dr. K
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