If a dog has a belly full of water, there are a few things that can cause that. When you do bloodwork, and get more information but especially a “hypoproteinemia” (low protein in the blood), it can “narrow down” the possibilities.
But some are hard to separate.
- By far the most common cause of low protein ascites is Protein Losing Enteropathy. Basically a dog has a collapsing intestinal tract environment and the body is just leaking protein through an unthrifty intestine, weight loss, fetid and loose stools and a gradual decline in condition MOSTLY surrounding a bad-belly and diarrhea are ‘the hallmarks’. USUALLY.
- Another cause is the kidney…. simply letting the proteins go out of the kidney. Like, NOT filtering and reclaiming these proteins.
- And then sometimes, the LIVER simply stops making protein, (for several different reasons) and then the blood gets thin and leaks into third space / belly. Those dogs usually have “pretty healthy” gastro-intestinal habits and normal capabilities with minimal vomiting and “fairly normal” bowels.
What follows are “top of the line” professional, quality articles and veterinary proceedings on these issues. I ignored the trash that shows up on sites that sell stuff (PetMD)(Petcarerx), sites that rehash articles to get clicks like Wagwalking, etc. I like NIH, Vet360, DVM Magazine, AVMA Journals, PubMed, and other reviewed credentialed places. I like references, and tend not to put any stock in something written by a part time-content-rehasher, after-schooler or AI without references.