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Urinary

This is a Kidney and Bladder condition.

Autosomal Recessive Hereditary Nephropathy, Familial Nephropathy, ARHN

What is ARHN?

This condition causes inappropriate loss of protein in the urine, which leads to muscle wasting, abnormal fluid accumulation in the skin and limbs, and excessive thirst and urination; if diagnosed early it can be managed with dietary changes and close monitoring. Certain parts of the kidney act as a sieve where ions, small molecules like urea, and water are filtered out of the blood into the urine. Normally, cells and large molecules like proteins are excluded by the sieve and are retained in circulation. In PLN, the sieve is compromised and protein moves in the urine. Protein retention at the level of the kidney is essential for maintaining lean body weight, blood volume, and blood pressure. Animals with PLN exhibit muscle wasting, abnormal accumulation of fluids in the tissue (edema), and excessive thirst and urination. Loss of certain clotting proteins also puts PLN dogs at high risk of clotting problems. Finally, huge loads of protein are toxic to the kidney, so dogs eventually show signs of renal failure, which include vomiting, poor appetite, lethargy, and reduced urine production (anuria). Current therapies for PLN are aimed at reducing the protein load on the kidney and fighting the toxic effects of protein wasting, and include prescription diets, reducing blood flow to the kidneys, and anti-inflammatory therapy. However, there is no definitive treatment for PLN besides dialysis and/or a kidney transplant. Some efforts in gene therapy have been made to supplement PLN animals with the functional protein that they lack, but these are far from being used in practice.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

Affected dogs exhibit muscle wasting, abnormal accumulation of fluids in tissue (usually first observed as edema in the limbs), and excessive thirst and urination. PLN dogs are at high risk of clotting problems due to a loss of clotting proteins. Finally, excessive protein is toxic to the kidney, so dogs develop signs of kidney failure: vomiting, poor appetite, lethargy, and changes in thirst and urination.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Signs typically develop as early as 2-3 months of age and rapidly progress in severity.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

PLN is diagnosed through genetic, urine and blood testing. Additional tests, including blood pressure and abdominal ultrasound, may be recommended based on your dog’s clinical signs. There are secondary causes of PLN not associated with genetic mutations.

How is this condition treated?

Current therapies for PLN are aimed at reducing the protein load on the kidney and fighting the toxic effects of protein wasting. Dietary and medication recommendations are based on how clinically advanced the PLN is. Dialysis, kidney transplants, and gene therapy are being explored as potential treatment options.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

Regular veterinary visits and laboratory testing will be vital to catching this disease in any early stage where it can be more easily managed. Closely monitor your dog for changes in their drinking and urination patterns.

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