Yorkies and Hypoproteinemia plus Ascites, and What Can Be Learned and Done?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Another cause is the kidney…. simply letting the proteins go out of the kidney. Like, NOT filtering and reclaiming these proteins.
  3. 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.

Protein losing nephropathy (Proceedings)

Congenital Portosystemic Shunts in Dogs and Cats- Treatment, Complications and Prognosis

Hepatic Portal Venous Hypoperfusion in Small Animals – Digestive System – Merck Veterinary Manual

Diagnostic features, treatment and outcome of dogs with inflammatory protein-losing enteropathy. – JVIM-33-2005

Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE) in Dogs – WSAVA2013 – VIN

Care of dogs with protein-losing enteropathy (Proceedings)

Protein-Losing Enteropathy-Human

Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.