What is PLE?

PLE occurs when the lining of the gastrointestinal tract is damaged, allowing protein to 'leak out'. It is often diagnosed in wheatens who have previously been diagnosed with some other form of gastrointestinal illness, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The average age for diagnosis is 4+ years, though this can be earlier or later.

If your wheaten has been diagnosed with IBD or another gastrointestinal illness, he or she may already be on a special diet and medicine. It is important to note that having IBD or another gastrointestinal illness does not mean your wheaten will automatically go on to develop PLE. It is also important that owners take note of the symptoms for PLE and to contact your dog's vet immediately.

Symptoms of Protein Losing Enteropathy

These are the common symptoms of PLE

Owners may not notice these last three immediately but you will certainly notice if your dog is losing a lot of weight, has diarrhoea and is vomiting. Not all dogs suffering from PLE will have all these symptoms.

An oedemic dog may actually look as though they have put on weight when it's really being lost at a rapid pace (think of malnourished children with big stomachs). Generally, the legs will be soft to touch as though filled with water. A dog with the last three symptoms may also sound, particularly at night, as though they are struggling and wheezing for breath.

While having one or more of these symptoms doesn't mean your dog has PLE, you should take your wheaten to the vet and have blood and urine tests done.

Laboratory tests may pick up other symptoms as well. These are:


See the PLN menu for information regarding test results and treatment for PLE.