PLE in Dogs
Low protein levels are generally the sign of a very poor diet, intestinal, or renal disorders

Protein Losing Enteropathy in dogs, also referred to as PLE in dogs, is a condition in which dogs will have a variety of intestinal diseases that are directly associated with hypoproteinemia, or low protein levels.

In the vast majority of cases this is caused by a loss, a leakage, or a failure to absorb protein in their stomach.

It can in some cases, be the kiss of death for your dog, it is that serious.


This life threatening condition in dogs can be controlled in some cases with a specific diet as well as with pharmacological therapy.

If controlled, the chances of your dog surviving are fair to good in some cases, while the more severe cases will most likely cause the death of your dog.

In severe cases, some dogs may not respond to any type of therapy, or relapse quite suddenly after initial treatment, and pass as a result of worsening conditions or other complications.

It is extremely important to note that this is a very, very difficult disease to properly diagnose by your veterinarian.

They must exclude non-intestinal causes of the low protein levels that may be specifically related to the kidneys or the liver.

Hypoproteinemia, or low protein levels, is a condition where there are low levels of protein in the blood.

It usually indicate that there is an inadequate diet or an intestinal or renal disorder.

The driving force behind your dog losing protein in PLE in dogs may be related to either inflammation or erosion causes that are affecting the normal functions of the stomach.

Or it may be caused by some type of a congenital problem or vascular drainage problems.


Beagles eyesPLE in dogs first real warning sign is sudden weight loss

Most cases of PLE in dogs have been linked to disruptions or a series of issues that cause problems with your dog’s ability to absorb food proteins in the small intestine.

In the intestines, mucus from both the small and large intestines will form a barrier, so to speak, that controls movement of fluid and electrolytes.

However, this lining only provides a small barrier that protects against the loss of protein.

The major loss of protein from PLE in dogs is caused by either the lining mining blood supply or the area that is between the cells.

However, the intestinal lining provides only a minor barrier to the loss of plasma proteins from the body.

An alteration or a change of this lining by disease or conditions such as PLE in dogs results in the loss of the protein into the intentional lumen.

This in turn causes as loss of albumin, a water soluble protein, and globulins, which are serum proteins, both at an equal ratio.

All this spells very bad news for your dog if it is not corrected, and the challenge you now face is can it be corrected.

What makes the situation even worse for you dog, is that most of the ultra-low-fat commercialized dog foods that are sold today will contain an increased dietary fiber in them.

This is potentially very dangerous to a dog with this condition as the fiber reduces both the availability and the digestions of proteins as well as carbohydrates.


The symptoms to watch for with this horrible condition will be an initial loss of weight which is actually their muscle wasting away, as well as decreased body fat.

Some dogs may stop to vomit or develop diarrhea, but not always.

Limb swelling and fluid accumulation may also start to formulate in the abdomen, indicating a decrease in serum counts.

Other symptoms will include edema, which is any type of an unusual or an abnormal fluid accumulation in any part of the body, and respiratory problems.

Respiratory problems are especially important to watch for as this is most likely fluid accumulating in the chest and or lungs.

A diagnosis of this condition will again be very difficult as there are several possibilities to rule out first by your veterinarian that may be caused by hypoproteinemia.

They include hepatitis, cancer, or even cirrhosis of the liver.


Treatment for protein losing enteropathy in your dog will have to be directed at whatever can be determined as the actual underlying cause.

The first form of treatment will obviously be your dog’s diet and feeding them diets that are homemade will be an absolute necessity.

The diet must be something that is very easy to digest and ultra-low in fat such as white turkey meat combined with either rice or potatoes.

MCT oil is also highly recommended. MCT oil is a clear, light colored liquid that has no flavor and a very low viscosity, making it easy to digest.

When it t is metabolized by your dog’s body, it acts as a carbohydrate, which produces the much needed fuel to their body, and is a very quick acting source of energy.

Fluid forms of therapy may be necessary in some dogs that have experienced either severe vomiting or diarrhea, or both, to replace lost fluids as well as electrolytes.

They also help maintain a normal fluid distribution on your pet’s body.

Metronidazole, tetracycline or other long term antibiotic therapies may also be required to help control bacterial growth.

Supplements of calcium, magnesium, and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K will be required as your dog is not absorbing these vitamins.

In normal circumstances, these fat soluble vitamins are easily stored in your pet’s liver.


These minerals and vitamins will be extremely important in conjunction with the diet therapy, but also very important if the diet therapy does not correct the imbalance.

Protein Losing Enteropathy, or PLE in dogs in your dog will be very difficult to overcome.

However it can be done in several cases if caught early, diagnosed properly, and than treated properly, but it certainly will not be easy.

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