Glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease that while you may not have heard about it, is common in pets. It can be detected even in its early stages and is treatable.
The glomerulus is the part of the kidney that filters waste, water and other chemicals from the blood which are then eliminated through urination. Filtering prevents the loss of vital blood products, particularly proteins. When the filters are irritated or inflamed, they swell, becoming more porous. This causes blood proteins to leak through and into the urine where they leave the body.
The gloomerulus can become inflamed through several conditions such as cancer, the use of some medications, viral, bacterial or parasitic infections, Cushings Disease, diabetes, over vaccination, arthritis and in cats, FeLV (feline leukemia), FIP (feline infectious peritonitis).
Loss of protein through the urine can cause high blood pressure, fluid retention, weight loss, muscle loss, edema in the abdomen and legs.
Dog breeds that appear to be more prone to glomerulonephritis include Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bull Terriers, Samoyeds, Rottweilers, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Doberman Pinchers, Greyhounds, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers. The condition usually affects dogs between the ages of 4-8 and older cats.
Diagnosis is made through medical history, complete blood work, urinalysis, kidney biopsy.
Recommendation is for afflicted pets to have restricted activity. Treatment can include blood pressure medications, immune suppressant drugs, low dose aspirin (for cats every other day or 3d day) and a lower protein diet.
Glomerulonephritis eventually leads to kidney failure although pets an survive a long time with treatment.