What is protein losing nephropathy?

PLN occurs when protein 'leaks' out via the kidneys and is found in a wheaten's urine. While the average age for a wheaten to be diagnosed with PLN is 6 - 7 years, some dogs are diagnosed earlier. Other wheatens can develop PLN in their later years so it's highly important to regularly test for PLN no matter what age your wheaten is.

How regularly you test for this kidney disease is up to you but it is recommended that there be minimum yearly blood and urine tests for PLN. As with PLE, it is important for you to be aware of your wheaten's health and see the vet if you suspect your dog may have PLN. Note that some of the symptoms of PLE are the same for PLN.

Symptoms of Protein Losing Nephropathy

These are the common symptoms of PLN:

As with PLE, you may not notice or recognise all of the symptoms but you will certainly notice if your dog is losing a lot of weight, isn't eating, is listless or depressed, is drinking lots more water, has diarrhoea and is vomiting. Not all dogs suffering from PLN will have all these symptoms. One Australian dog diagnosed with PLN and subsequently put to sleep, for example, had a decrease in drinking.

An oedemic dog may actually look as though they have put on weight when they have not (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 wheezing for breath.

While having one or more of these symptoms doesn't mean your dog has PLN, 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:

Testing for PLE/PLN.