Glomerular Disease in Dogs (July 2019)

I recently spoke about glomerular disease in cats and how it can affect them, but did you know this type of problem affects dogs, as well?

As a dog owner, it’s always good to stay informed on what can go wrong with your dog’s health, what to look for, etc.

What is Glomerular Disease?

Glomerular disease occurs often in dogs and is basically chronic kidney disease.

Kidneys consist of millions of glomeruli, which are microscopic filtration units that are in charge of filtering out large protein molecules that affect the ability to pass urine properly.

When the glomeruli are damaged in any way, it leads to glomerular disease in dogs.

It’s also known as glomerulopathy, glomerulonephropathy, glomerulonephritis, and protein losing nephropathy.

Unfortunately, there are select breeds of dog that are more prone to this type of disease, which are:

  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Shar Pei
  • Dalmation
  • Bull Terrier
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Samoyed
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Newfoundland Dog
  • Doberman Pinscher

If you own any of the breeds listed above, you’re going to want to pay extra attention.

How Glomeruli Become Damaged

Glomerular damage can occur from a number of things:

  • Amyloidosis
  • Frequent high blood pressure related to the kidneys 
  • Glomerulosclerosis – a form of scarring
  • Autoimmune-related inflammation

Understanding how glomeruli are damaged can be a little confusing, so don’t worry if you don’t get it – I didn’t either.

Symptoms of Glomerular Disease in Dogs

Glomerular disease and chronic kidney disease, as a whole, present a lot of simple to very scary symptoms, so bear with me here:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Halitosis
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss

On top of that, there are a complications that come from damage to the glomeruli, including the formation of blood clots, less protein in the bloodstream, and high blood pressure.

Health Problems Associated With Glomerular Disease in Dogs

Glomerular disease can occur by itself, but it also happens due to other health issues seen in dogs as an underlying health problem:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Heartworm disease
  • Pyometra
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Immune mediated diseases – autoimmune
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer

If your dog has any of the health issues listed above, ask your vet about testing for glomerular disease.

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