yorkshire terrier protein losing enteropathy

Protein Losing Enteropathy: Intestinal Protein Loss in Dogs

Protein losing enteropathy in dogs is a condition that affects the ability of the intestines to absorb protein from the diet. Dogs with protein losing enteropathy have to deal with a net loss of protein, which means they lose more protein than they are able to take in from the diet. This can affect the dog’s health quite severely, as proteins are needed for numerous roles within the body.

Dogs with protein losing enteropathy (PLE) are still able to absorb protein from the diet through the intestines, but these proteins are able to leak back in to the gut and end up being excreted.

The development of PLE can be a result of one of many factors. Two conditions that are often involved in the development of PLE include canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and lymphangiectasia (a condition where lymph vessels become dilated). There are many more acute or chronic conditions that can increase intestinal permeability to proteins, these are listed below.

Urinary loss of proteins and liver disease need to be ruled out before the diagnosis of PLE.

Why Intestinal Protein Loss is a Problem

One of the main proteins that is lost through protein losing enteropathy is albumin. Albumin is the most abundant blood plasma protein, and is responsible for transporting various important biological and chemical compounds around the body.

A net loss of albumin is bad news for the body, as vital biological systems depend on it. As such, a decrease in albumin will cause the breakdown of other proteins such as muscle. This muscle wasting, coupled with diarrhoea and vomiting will result in noticeable weight loss.

Breeds Predisposed to Protein Losing Enteropathy

Certain breeds are more likely to develop protein losing enteropathy than others. A genetic predisposition to a disease can usually be traced back to a single individual early in the history of the breed that had the genetic defect, particularly in pedigree breeds where the gene pool is often limited.

Breeds more likely to develop protein losing enteropathy include: 1

  • Soft coated whetan terrier
  • Basenji
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Norwegian Lundehund
  • Poodle
  • Maltese Terrier
  • Shar Peis

Symptoms of Protein Losing Enteropathy

The symptoms of protein losing enteropathy can be quite easily confused with various other diseases, such as irritable bowel disease or chronic gastritis. Often, the first symptom that indicates a problem, is weight loss. The weight loss associated with protein losing enteropathy can be quite rapid. Diagnostic tests performed by your vet will rule out other possible diagnoses.

The main symptoms to look out for include:

protein losing enteropathy thin dog

  • Diarrhoea – Your pet may develop chronic diarrhoea as a result of protein losing enteropathy, which may contribute to weight loss. However, this symptom may not be present in all dogs with protein losing enteropathy.
  • Weight loss – Protein is required to develop muscle and is an essential part of many cells within the body. A net loss of protein will cause the body to breakdown existing muscle to ensure it is still able to produce the more essential biological components.
  • Lethargy – A lack of energy as a result of net protein loss.
  • Difficulty breathing – This is due to a build up of fluid between the lungs and the chest wall.
  • Swollen abdomen – Again, due to a build up of fluid beneath the skin.

If you notice that your pet has started to dramatically lose weight, you should consult your veterinarian.

Image credit Nottingham Vet School

Causes of Protein Losing Enteropathy

The causes of protein losing enteropathy can essentially be split in to two categories:

  1. Complications of the lymphatic system – part of the circulatory system that is responsible for transporting lymph. Lymph mainly carries white blood cells, proteins and fats, making it an important part of the immune system.
  2. Diseases that affect intestinal tissue, or the intestinal lining – Damage or inflammation to the intestines can impact on its ability to function correctly.
  • Tumours – Cancerous or benign tumours are both a result of abnormal cell growth. The development of a tumour within the lymphatic system or the gastrointestinal system can reduce the ability of the body to absorb protein.
  • Viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections – Infections such as parvovirus, can cause damage and inflammation to the gut, impeding its ability to absorb protein and other nutrients from digested food.
  • Food allergies Food allergies can irritate the gastrointestinal system, causing inflammation. Food allergies may also be responsible for numerous other pet health issues such as itchy skin.
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers – Ulcers can damage gastrointestinal lining.
  • Lymphangiectasia (Dilation of the lymph vessels) – Dilation of the lymph vessels allows protein-rich lymph to ‘leak’ back in to the intestines, causing the digested protein to be excreted instead of being utilised by the body.
  • Intestinal inflammation (e.g. Inflammatory bowel disease) – There can be a number of causes of intestinal inflammation. Inflamed tissue is unable to function as efficiently as normal tissue, so for example, if the intestinal lining becomes inflamed it will be unable to absorb as much protein, and other nutrients, as usual.

Treating Protein Losing Enteropathy

At present there is no medication available to directly treat protein losing enteropathy. In many cases, the underlying issues can be treated, which can reduce the severity of the disorder and make it more manageable through lifestyle changes. As the underlying issues can vary, the appropriate treatment will need to be determined by your veterinarian.

Patients that have developed swelling as a result of fluid build up may be prescribed diuretics. Diuretics aid the removal of excess fluid from the body and as such, can reduce swelling.

Dogs with severe protein losing enteropathy may require a plasma transfusion. This can increase the amount of the biologically important protein albumin. Some dogs may also need treatment with anticoagulants that will reduce the likelihood of blood clots developing due to a lack of the protein antithrombin.

Management of Disease

As mentioned earlier, there is ‘no cure’ for protein losing enteropathy, it needs to be managed through lifestyle changes.

One of the best ways to manage protein losing enteropathy is by altering your dog’s diet. One of the most important aspects of a protein losing enteropathy diet is to restrict the amount of fat. Dietary fat increases the protein content of lymph and also increases the flow of lymph. This results in more protein being lost through the lymphatic system. As a recommendation, <20% of your dog’s calorific intake should come from dietary fat, if they suffer from protein losing enteropathy.

Meals should also be highly digestible but low in fibre, as fibre will decrease the energy density of your pet’s diet, which will already be lowered by the reduction of fat. Feeding a hypoallergenic pet food, such as those given to pets with food allergies, can be beneficial as they contain hydrolysed proteins that are more easily absorbed.

Providing your dog with vitamin supplements may also be beneficial.  It is not uncommon for dogs with protein losing enteropathy to develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For example, calcium deficiency can be a problem as a large proportion of calcium is bound to albumin in the body – a protein that is lost through protein losing enteropathy. In this instance, a calcium supplement may be beneficial. You may also want to consider general multivitamins, formulated for dogs.

About James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

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  1. celeaste pasquariello

    Dear Mr. Watts,
    I just lost my precious dog to these horrible condition. He was a Maltese. I just wanted to let you know how much of a well informed written article you have provided. So easy to understand for us people that have a hard time understanding things. I feel so helpless in knowing that when I bought my Maltese 11 years ago, I had no idea that this could even be a problem and would love to see any type of statistics on how many of these types of dog get this horrible disease. Was wondering if you ever came across how common or rare this is? I love the Maltese breed but after suffering this loss, I don;t think I could take that chance again. Well, I just want to say thank you very much for your time writing about this unknown disease for common people as myself. Sincerely, Celeste

    • My baby Maltese was diagnosed with ple a couple of weeks ago. Could you please respond with me about this condition? I am truly so devastated. Thanks so very much.

  2. I’m very sorry for your loss 🙁
    I have a yorkie and she’s only 8 years old and the poor little thing is suffering from this brutal crap! I’m doing everything in my power to help her and keep her alive. A few days ago she looked like she was dying, I couldn’t help myself by ball my eyes out. She was such a happy dog always wanting to play and she ate everything!! I’ve been feeding her boiled chicken, boiled zucchini and some pumpkin. She hates everything but the chicken. I hope I’m doing the right thing….by feeing her this but she won’t eat anything!!!!!
    im getting married soon and I would hate too Lose her 🙁
    She sleeps a lot and I’ve taken her for some walls….she’s slow. She’s on some meds to help with her bloody diarrhea as well. I feel terribleness for her….she’s my little girl 🙁

    • Please look into science diet low fat ID food. It is with prescription only from the vet. It great for dogs who have GI problem. I have a Yorker who is 12 and if I would of continued feeding him other cheap dog food and table food he would not be here today. Ask your Vet about it.

  3. Thanks Dee. I’m still grieving for my beautiful baby. It’s been a month. I was taking him to an internist who had him on Hill prescription diet ZD. I think it help control his disease. But he wouldn’t eat that after a while then I made him baked plain chicken. He loved that and then stopped eating that. He wanted to eat but at that point he couldn’t eat. He lost so much weight that his bones on his hips, ribs and neck were sticking out. He wouldn’t take the medicines. So I then decided I had to end his suffering.
    Maybe try the ZD. Is your little one on any meds? I feel my internist helped him live as long as he did. I wish you all of the best. This has really been a heartbreaking time for me. Celeste

    • Sorry for your loss. I have a yellow lab my girl cory Ann. She is going through this awful protein loss. She only eats a little. She has been a joy for us. She sticks with her daddy like glue. He is a diabetic. She loves to go on the boat fishing and just loves everyone. I am doing everything I can to keep her living. She has always been a playful and happy pet. It is killing my husband and myself but we are going to do everything we can to make her life comfortable. Its really heart breaking. We pray and cry a lot. Margaret allen

  4. Hi Celeste,
    my heart breaks for you 🙁 I know all to well the feeling of losing your precious baby. My baby girl died a week ago today 🙁 its been so depressing for me… was beyond devastating losing her. The worst part is that I watched her die. It KILLED ME! I cried all damn day… parents were a mess as well….she was the best dog in the world. I miss her so much 🙁
    everything that you have said about your dog is exactly what she went through 🙁 it came to the point last friday where she threw up all the chicken I gave her….you could see that nothing got digested. And then within an half hour she was bleeding from her butt. Literally every 10 minutes she was running outside and i could hear it coming out… her breathing was so bad as well. I cried and cried because It was breaking my heart watching her go through this….im getting married in a month and it sucks that I will noy have her there 🙁 she was my baby girl, my angel….and I will never forget her…..its said watching these little creatures suffer 🙁
    I hope you pull through this…sorry again for your loss 🙁

  5. Hi Dee,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your baby girl. Sorry to hear of your sadness. I’m doing okay as long as I don’t think about the day it happened. I’m feeling more like myself. I really miss my baby on my lap at night but the crying spells mostly stopped. It brings me peace to know he isn’t suffering any longer. That same thought, hopefully brings you peace too. I bet she was sooo adorable and she was fortunate to have a caring owner as yourself. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You have so much to offer another little angel when you decide the time is right. Take care, Celeste.

  6. My yorkie was just diagnosed with this horrible disease. She is 7 years old. They did a endoscope with biopsy so we should have that back in a couple if days. Then we will know if this is primary or secondary. She is on a canned food from royal canine. She’s not liking it. Her stomach is so distended she looks like she could have pups any day. But it’s due to ascites. Her albumin was so low. Not sure how long we will have her. This disease sucks and I wish there was a better treatment.

    • So sorry about hear about your 7 year old yorkie. My Maltese lived 4 more years with his disease after being diagnosed and once it was under control did fairly okay until the last go around in which he was really suffering and I decided it was time. Ask your internist or vet about switching to Hill’s prescription ZD diet. Mine seemed to like it over the Royal. Good luck! It is a monster of a disease. Celeste

    • My little 8 year old Milly, a Lhasa Apso was diagnosed with PLE 2 months ago. She lost so much weight you could see her rib cage. She had heart and liver scans and blood tested for almost everything possible. Her abdomen was badly distended too. The vet asked us to change foods and we were told to put her on Chappie. She ate it for two weeks and was given medication and she did improve but now she won’t eat the food. She has been brought up on Burns sensitive which she loves and I have put her back on that to get her to eat and I am topping it up with chicken and lambs hearts. She is still on her medication and will be long term but I am wary about feeding her on her favourite brand as it is low in protein but she is so fussy. Yesterday she gave a painful cry a few times so she’s not out of the woods yet. PLE is awful, there is no real cure and I hate this waiting game.

      • I have a Yorker with this condition and we nearly lost her a couple of years back. The vets we used wasn’t that educated on this condition so I did a lot of research. She has been fine for two years now with no flair ups. We use Purina HA which we buy online. When I researched my studies took me to America where I spoke to vets and other pet owners who gave me a lot of advices. The key to managing this condition is definitely diet. And this Purina HA has been a life saver for my little girl.

  7. My little fellow, Sparky a 6 year old Cairn Terrier is still going through diagnosis. He had an ultrasound 4 days ago and everything looked fine. I am taking him to a place called Medvet which is a step up from a regular vet. They did more blood work and we are waiting for the results from that. This is so scary but I am trying to remain hopeful.

  8. My yorkie is going through this now, she was diagnosed last week. Her protein was so low they had to do a human albumin transfusion. Shis is now on an immunosuppresant, antibotic, and 2 steroids. She has been very actve and eating her prescription food from royal canine but tonight her stomach is a little swollen again. Her bipsies are not back yet. I just hope we get this horrible disease under control. I hate that she is going through this. I can not believe that her vet didnt catch this sooner. Please any answers on what to do would be really helpful. I contunuoulsy pray that my little girl will soon be better!!!!!!

    • Hi Lauren,
      It seems to me you’re doing everything you can. I took my dog to an internist but you are doing everything I did. I think it takes time for the disease to get under control with the meds to help with the fluid in stomach. I wish you the best! Celeste

    • Judy Bloodworth

      My Yorkie is on Predizone and antibiotic seems to be doing better but she is not drinking water. Should I try to for her to drink water with a eye dropper. She is still playing with her toys and us but am really worried about her not drinking water.

      • Hi Judy,
        I too have a Yorkie, Mickey, who is suffering through this miserable disease too. My first vet said to give him CHICKEN… just keep diet LOW IN FAT. So for a few years Mickey ate boiled or broiled white chicken breast. He LOVED IT! Then things went south and he was vomiting and his belly would fill with fluids. At one point his 10 pound little body was carrying 2 1/2 pounds of fluid! We took him to an emergency vet late at night and they DRAINED the fluid and he looked great again!! But that was only temporary. We tried a different vet when mine went on vacation, and HE said the dog was suffering from PLE and IBD, or Lymphangiectasia. All of them serious dog diseases with no cure, just some suggested treatments. However… with ALL of them they say to STAY AWAY FROM CHICKEN!! ANY protein seems to not be a GOOD choice!! My NEW vet has him on Hills Diet Z/D dried and canned food and he is doing much better. Also takes a VERY expensive human RX- Leukeran ($175 a month for 15 tiny pills that I cut in half-and he charges me only what it cost’s HIM- the $175! I checked pharmacy and they charge near $240) used for human lymphoma disease. And it is really helping!! No more fluids in the belly either! He is not totally himself yet, see some weakness in his legs and he’s tired a lot, but SO much better than he had been. And his Albumin just came back as in the NORMAL range!! Finally!! So sad to see these sweet pups suffer through this crap!! And it’s so hard to diagnose. Good luck, Please keep in touch. Marilyn

  9. My mini wire dachshund has had this for several years. Recently his chest filled up with fluid. I thought we were going to lose him, but he rallied. His protein levels seemed better, but more recently we discovered they are heading down again.

    Zachary made it to his 13th birthday on March 21st. I hope he gets to see another.

    Very sad.

    He has been on budesonide for several years. We are increasing the dose again. He is also on prednisolone – a low dose. We were weaning him off, but doesnt look like we will be able to.

    He had been on Z-D – but still got very sick and he stopped eating. The good, if you can call it that, was because he crashed, we did an ultrasound and found that his liver is enlarged (which we suspected) and he has deteriorating kidneys and a bad heart.

    I am now cooking his food. The question now is whether to put him on Cyclosporin (Atopica) or try to manage with the budesonide and pred. Really don’t know what to do.

    I am starting to become resigned to the fact that we will lose him. But I am doing everything in my powers to keep him healthy and happy for as long as I can. He is a wonderful little dog.

    • See my post. One of the meds my Meeka is on is atopica along with azathioprine, spironolactone, prednisolone, and metro flavor. I don’t know if these are helping or not, but she is still a trooper right now.

  10. My Meeka has been sick since Nov, 2013. She is on 5 medications and gets drained approx every 10-14 days for the fluid in her belly. She has lost soooo much weight! I can see all the bones. We have run out of things to try to get her healthy. Other than the fluid forming in her belly and losing weight, she is a typical yorkie, full of energy. I think I have tried every dog food there is, I even ordered kangaroo food for her.
    I have read that they have to eat the different food for 12 days in a row to see if there is a change and that is where my problem sets in. She’ll eat something new for a day or two and then she’s done; typical yorkie. I keep searching for something new or different I can try to help her with.
    My heart is there for all your precious puppies affected by this. It is horrible.

  11. I am so sorry about all of your babies. My Wheat,en Terrier had low normal globulin levels, but high albumin levels on his blood work. Does this mean anything as far as PLE is concerned? Some advice to all is that there is a Dr. Littman at the University of Pennsylvania who has been doing a long time study on PLE in Wheaten Terriers. She is the expert on this disease and will work with your vet on treatment.

  12. Hi everyone- I am hoping someone can help me! I have a yorkie mix that was diagnsoed in october with PLE confirmed by a biopsy. We are feeding him Hill’s ID low fat. Has anyone been cooking their own dogs food for them? If so what kinds of food can they eat that are low in fat but high in protein for them to absorb?? Any help would be appreciated. We are al a mess trying to help this little one! Thank you

    • I had my Maltese on Hill ZD. But, my dog’s internist said he could eat boiled chicken and rice. He liked the chicken, not the rice. Please check with your vet first. This is a horrible disease and even though I don’t have my baby any longer, I’m still trying to learn everything about it. Good luck and take care! Celeste

    • Hi there,
      im sorry to hear about your dog. This is a terrible disease that if its not caught on time, your little one might be in danger. I lost my dog on March 22 of this year. We caught this terrible disease way to late and nothing was going to save her. I tried everything. Please speak to your vet and take charge of every bit of information that you can get. I was feeding my dog rice and boiled chicken. I was also giving her pumpkin. Straight pumpkin not the kind you use for a pie. And it was organic. I was also sprinkling some stuff on her food that helps with enzymes. I believe it was pet Kelp. Please, if you notice your dog pooping dark tar like bloody stool please bring him/her to rhe vet asap. I wont lie, this was the worst experience of my life having to whiteness my little girl suffer from this.
      I wish you nothing but good luck and love. I hope you can save your little one.

  13. Have read through all these posts looking/searching for something that will help us. Our yorkie, Sugar, was diagnosed about 1.5yrs ago with PLE and prednisone was prescribed along with prescription food. What makes it more sad is that Sugar is only 4 years old. Too young to be suffering with this. None the less, she is. Up until now its been managed. But as of now, if there’s not a miracle tonight, this may be our last night with her. Its breaking our hearts. We’ve searched the internet over and over looking for that one post where someone found a “cure”, even if it was not authorized by a vet. Looking for that miracle home remedy to help pull Sugar back to health. She eats, drinks, but is so terribly swollen that its now affecting her breathing. I know she is very uncomfortable. My prayers to all who have pets suffering with this disease. Will be checking back in later tonight in hopes that someone can give us a word of hope.

    • Hey Kevin….my girl is going through the same thing….we don’t have a full diagnosis yet, but she is losing proteins fast, she lost 17 lbs in 4 weeks. She eats but very little, drinks like a horse since she is on steroids….when she first went to the emergency hospital they got her on fluids and antibiotics. After 3 days she had edema everywhere, in her lungs too. We did endoscopy on her and found out she had IBD, but we still don’t know if there is an underlying cause for this. Her breathing was so bad due to edema in her lungs that we decided to do a plasma transfusion and all the fluids disappeared within 4 days. She even got better, had more IV treatments, but today she took turn for the worse after not eating too much for the past four days, so tomorrow we are doing exploratory surgery to take more samples of all her organs and hopefully find the underlying issue finally……I just noticed you posted that last year….I wonder how it ended for you guys?

  14. I wanted to post a follow up to my recent post. My little Norman is dying. I agree with everyone that has said this is an awful disease. He is skin and bones and is so weak he can’t walk. We are going tomorrow to have him euthanized. We just can’t see him like this anymore. He was such a good and active dog and this poor thing had withered away. For anyone that had gone through this I’m so sorry. For people that just find out their dog has this I’m sorry. We did everything we could for treatment but since there is no cure and not much research is so hard. Prepare yourself for the worst. We didn’t and now we are crying every minute of the day dreading tomorrow morning……

    • I’mso sorry hHayley 🙁 I know all too well what you are going through and how you are feeling. That was the worst thing I experienced with my little trixie . she was the best yorkie and the best dog I ever had. I did everything in my power to keep her alive. I think it hurt more seeing her in so much pain and knowing even though I was doing everything, nothing was helping her.
      Hang in there…. Its the hardest thing to have to do. As time goes by you will realize that was thebeat thing you could have done. Your dog is ssuffering and as much as you want him here with you, you have to say goodbye. I held my little girl all night and just rocked her. I also went in to see her go. I should have never done that because I still see that whole experience when I close my eyes….I see her taking that last breath. Oh god this is still not easy for me to talk about. We lost her this past march….she didn’t even make it to my wedding and that was very important for me.
      My heart breaks for you. I’m very sorry you are going through this.
      Keep your head up.

    • We just found out that our five year old Yorkie had all the blood test results for it but we’re going to a specialist next week for a biopsy. Gemma seems to be running a fever a lot. Panting and running around twitching. It’s like she’s getting stung by fire ants. I’m at a loss. Any advice? Annie

  15. My baby Emma has been treated for IBD since December 2013. We have learned that she has PLE which is part of IBD, I guess. This is all confusing. She was on prednisone with cyclosporine & Hills ID food. This worked until June of this year. Since June her albumin has continued to decrease even though we keep increasing her meds. Her albumin level at one point was 1.1. She just had a protein transfusion but the success rate of that is only 30%. Her meds were changed to Dexamethasone and put on Hills ZD. She came home last night slightly better than when she left. However, today the diarrhea has started again with loss of appetite. I’m scared. I can’t lose her. Before she took this horrible turn my thought was “Gosh whenshe turns four on 7/30 – my poor baby can’t have doggie ice cream”. Now I’m afraid she won’t see her fourth birthday. There was mention of a meds in these comments that we have not tried. So for that Thank you for the information. And to all that have lost their beloved family member I am so truly sorry.

    • Hi My dachshund Sasha was diagnosed with intestinal lymphangiestacia on May 13th of this year. She was so sick! She wouldn’t eat, very lethargic and I was about to lose hope. My sister in law suggested something all natural called immunocal. Sasha was so sick that I had to give it to her through a syringe. 3 days later she was begging me for it! She laps it up like a treat. Today, about 2 1/2 months later, you wouldn’t even know she is sick with this horrible disease! My vet said she was 1000 times better after looking at before and after xrays of her lungs that initially had alot of fluid. She is still on prednisone but I have cut that in half over a month ago and she is still doing awesome! I don’t know that immunocal will work for your dogs but I had to share since I’ve seen such quick, excellent results for sasha. Do your research on it as I did. I give sasha 1 teaspoon twice a day. It costs about $100 for a box of 30 packets but it is well worth it to see her so much better! Especially after I spent $2500 at the specialist trying to save her life. She is now a healthy happy dog! Just a note, I do not sell immunocal nor am affiliated with it in any way. I just wanted to share my experience so maybe it can give the doggie owners some hope. I also have her on a very low fat diet .

      • Can you please tell me where to find the immunocal? Also, is your dog still doing well with this supplement? Thanks! (Please see my 11/2/14 post…)

        • Hi Anna,

          Sorry it took me so long to respond but yes she is still doing pretty good. As you know with this disease their are ups and downs but Sasha, 1 year later is still fighting. I strongly feel the immunocal has kept her alive by giving her this extra all natural protein along with her daily meds. You can go to and they have a promotional deal 2 boxes for $119. I know it seems like alot but it’s worth every penny to see my dog survive this horrid disease!

      • My Charlie is very sick and loosing weight because he can’t tolerate fat. He was 15 lbs and now down to 10 lbs. the vet has tested for all the suspect gut issues. We just had surgery to obtain lab samples. Results are not back yet. I want to try ammunocal but not sure how soon to start. I was wondering. If Teresa Philips could tell me if her doxin gained weight or was able to tolerate fat in her food. Or if anybody knows more about ammunocal and how it affects weight gain.

        • Omg, my yorkie was so sick for 9 months , all levels were down, thought I was going to lose her. I boiled chicken breasts, boiled potatoes and green beans and almost 9 months to the day she is healthy,,,all levels are back to normal and no more mess. She was getting drained weekly, it was horrible. This worked for us maybe it could help someone else. Keep trying.

          • Lesia,
            What medications was your dog on? My almost 5-year-old Maltese/Shitzhu was diagnosed today. I want to do everything possible to make her well again.

          • My vet is saving my dogs life NOWW!! Mickey is 7 years old and weighs 10 pounds. Over the last 6 weeks he’s been on Leukeran (2 mg. he gets 1/2 pill a day)- a human RX, and it is WORKING!! (Used in humans to treat lymphoma) He gets this along with Prednisone (5mg) and some Lasix (water pill, 10 mg). He is 10 pounds and doing so much better now! The Leukeran is pricy… I get 15 pills a month and it costs $175 (my VETS price)…and we cut these 15 pills in half…so a months supply. (My pet insurance DOES cover them…I get back $140 of the $175. I don’t know how long they will cover it, but for now they do) He is also on HILLS Z/D canned and dry food. They also make a ‘treat’ biscuit which I cut up into smaller bites for him. 2 months ago he was doing so bad…vet said if we couldn’t find something to help he would be gone within a few months. He did a lot of research and what he found is WORKING!! Must keep checking ALBUMIN level in the bloods…needs to be at least NEAR the 2.7-3.9 reading. Right now we test every 2 weeks, but if it stays in range, that will change to maybe once a month, then every couple of months. Please keep in touch. I was told NO CHICKEN- no ANYTHN+ING except this Hills Z/D. He eats it ok… but still begs for human food. The prednisone meds make them THINK they are starving, so he’s always looking for a table crap or ANY human food… but have to hang in there and not give in to their begging. It’s keeping them ALIVE!!

        • Hi Richard,

          Sasha is on a very low fat prescription diet made by Hills specific to Lymphangiectasia. You can go to to learn more about immunocal and purchase it. I strongly believe that it has provided her with the all natural protein that her body needs with this disease and has kept her alive for over a year now with her daily meds.

          • Sadly Our Charlie lost his battle yesterday. Thanks for your comments.

          • I’m so sorry! This disease is horrible! He’s at peace now and no more sufferring. I dread the day! 🙁

          • Richard, I am solo sorry to hear about you Charlie!! I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. Hard enough to watch them with this awful disease!! To all others who are going through this, let me tell you about what we have found! My Mickey has PLE, Protein Losing Enteropathy- belly filling up with fluids and had to be DRAINED every few weeks. He is now on the Hills Z/D for PLE (Protein Losing Enteropathy). My vet found a great medical combination and he is making tremendous strides to feeling better, He was fading fast. Dr. found a solution that worked!! He’s now taking Leukeran (a human RX for Lymphomia). Costly pills, but it’s working!! That and Hills Z/D diet, canned and dry, and also their treats in the same line. Also takes Prednisone and Lasix water pill, but is now weaning off of them both!! I don’t know how long he must take the Leukeran pills, could be for his lifetime… but it is working and I’ll pay WHATEVER it costs to keep him feeling good and enjoying life. (Pills run $175 a months, 15 pills, cut in half for a 30 day supply. My pet insurance reimburses me $140 now, but I don’t think that’s going to last forever.) Our pups are so precious to us, and watching them suffer is so heartbreaking, Don’t give up! There may not be a CURE, but there are ways to make their lifestyle comfortable and happy. Find a new vet if you must. I loved my old vet, but he just wasn’t finding what Mickey needed. This new vet thinks out of the box!! Does his research and found a way to help Mickey. I’m forever grateful.

      • Hi Theresa can you please tell me how you mix your immunocal for Sasha (with water?) do you open 2 packets per day since you only give 1 teaspoon twice a day. Or do you use from the same packet. Do you administer 1 teaspoon in morning and one in evening. My doxie is severely suffering from PLE & IBD and I just ordered some immunocal to see if it will help her.

        • Teresa Phillips

          Hi Michele, yes, I give her a teaspoon of the immunocal platinum in the morning and dinner time and the regular immunocal at lunch. You can give it to your baby out of the same packet just keep it in a sealed container. It comes with a little shaker cup so just put a tiny bit of water in to mix it. Make sure not to use a blender it just needs to be shaken for 10-15 seconds. You can visit my Facebook page living with canine lymphangiectasia for more info as well. Immunocal saved Sashas life and she’s still doing awesome today at 14 years old! I hope your baby gets better soon, it’s a tough disease!

          • Thank you Theresa. My mini doxie patches is 11yr. old. She has PLE/IBD for over 2 years. I got her regulated but by the end of March she crashed again and she is back on Pred (2x a day) & metronidazole (2x a day). She is not doing well at all. I might lose her. Taking it moment by moment now. I just ordered last night the regular immunocal. Do you think that is okay instead of the platinum? You mix yours with water right? I hope it ships out before she gets worse. It is my last hope for if she remains the way she is I will have no choice but to not let her suffer. I will definitely check out your FB page. Thank you for all your help with your advice on this. It is so appreciated.

          • Teresa Phillips

            Good morning Michele, the platinum is what Sasha needed to get completely out of the woods. She was better with the regular but once I added the platinum she recovered , seems like 100%. I do just mix it with water, she loves it. If your baby won’t drink it at first you may have to use a syringe. I was in your situation over a year ago. I thought I was going to lose her, I felt so hopeless until the immunocal. Today Sasha only gets a quarter of a metronidazole pill and half a prednisone every other day. I’m hoping to take her completely off eventually. She turned 14 in September and feels great now. It’s a tough disease but we’ve managed to beat the odds with low fat senior food and immunocal. Please keep me posted on her progress. The immunocal typically ships pretty quickly.

  16. Hi Mr Watts, Recent blood tests have shown our labradoodle has PLE & u/sound & endoscopy with biopsies is inconclusive but the favourite is IBD ( she is epileptic & takes phenol barb & pot bromide).The next move is full worming & change to hydrolysed protein diet food such as purina HA. My concern is that our dog has no classic symptoms sickness,diarrhoea,weight loss, lethargy, swollen abdomen & looks as fit as a fiddle! Should we ask our vet to look other sources.( Urine & liver are fine & Albumin level is 21).

    • Hi Mr. Nash. Your post was a few years ago so you may not be following this, but if you are could you please tell me what they decided was wrong with your dog, what treatment and diet was followed and how effective it was. My little Papillon has low Serum Albumin, Globulin and Total Protein. Her liver and kidneys have been tested and are fine. She has none of the symptoms of PLE, I am just trying to find out all I can and your post sounded like my current situation. Thank you!

  17. Hi everyone..I found out about Azodyl for my dog. She is a soft wheaten…all I can say is her UPC was fatally at 12 and over 6 months went down to 2.5. It is a renal probiotic and should be on every vet’s checklist for these dogs.

  18. Leslie M. Bliman-Kuretzky

    My little Toy Poodle was diagnosed with this in November of 2010 and put on a special Diet (ZD Hills) and Prednisone high dosage. Over the next four years we were able to manage it but then his liver enzymes became elevated and then he was in pain when he walked so we tapered the dose and started on Denosyl for the liver.

    Now he has very low protein again and his Vet started the high dose of Prednisone again and he seems stiff again when he walks., He did enjoy his chicken breast minus the skin of course, but no matter how hungry he is, he wont touch his new bag of ZD. When do I know when enough is enough>? He means the world to my 19 year old daughter who suffers from Anxiety issues and has tics too 🙁

  19. Hi, Thank you, Mr. Watts, for a great article on PLE. I would appreciate any input you, or any of the readers, might have on our situation. Our toy poodle, who just turned 11, has been battling PLE for years…It actually took several years and many health scares before we got a diagnosis of PLE from lymphangiestacia. I noticed in reading all of your comments that many of these puppies seemed to have poor appetites or not like certain foods, and I wondered if we are the only ones who have exactly the opposite problem. Early on, we discovered that our little one would eat anything and everything, including a penny (her first near-death illness and abdominal surgery), a full-pound of dark chocolate including the wrappers (near-death experience two), buttons, earrings, fuzz balls, literally anything that she can get to…did I mention hair, paper, plastic wrappers, twist ties? We first knew that something was wrong when she was a puppy and kept getting recurrent ear infections…I tried every food on the market and we thought she was allergic to corn, then grains. Thru the years she has had bouts of bloody, mucous diarrhea that would clear up with a trip to the vet and another diet change….all attributed to a sensitive stomach and food allergies. Then a couple of years ago she suddenly developed what sounded like bronchitis and when we took her to the ER they determined that she had a torsion or twisting of the lung because of all the fluid in her chest. We didn’t expect her to make it thru the night, much less surgery, but she did (near death experience three). That was when we finally got a diagnosis of PLE. A few months ago she had to had fluid drained from her chest that was compressing her heart. She has been on steroids for a couple of years now and is on a special low fat diet. She looks like the picture of health. However, she always acts like she is starving to death, and has been that way her entire life. She eats 3-4 meals a day, and never seems satisfied. She will cry and beg for more food, even though we are feeding her what the vet recommends and she is at a good weight. Does anyone else have a pet with PLE who doesn’t ever seem satisfied and who doesn’t seem to distinguish between what is food and what is non-food? I have always thought that there has to be some sort of nutritional deficiency, but I don’t have a clue what it is, and I’m very cautious about changing very much because she seems to be holding her own at this point… Thanks! Anna

    • My dog is on Predisone for the PLE and it makes him think he is STARVING~~ does he take that for the PLE and Lymphangiectasia like my yorkie takes?

    • Anna, my dog exhibited the same way yours does… since a puppy. Ravenous.. would try to eat anything.With this raw food /high protein diet, which she is loving things have changed. Does not go after my slippers paper or my glasses any more.just more food por favor. This disease was always there and exhibited itself in weird penchants for weirder things to try and consume.Our bodies have an intelligence that is unique.Our cravings make sense in the dogs world as well. She was not able to process proteins her whole life I just had no idea…why. she wanted to try everything even after puppyhood. The reasons are falling into place with knowledge.

      • Hi Sharron, Would you mind telling me what is in your dog’s raw diet. I have a 3 year old Aussie with PLE. I have wondered if a raw diet would be better than the cooked turkey, rice, sweet potato diet I have been making for her.

  20. my 4 year old yorkie bitch (breeze) has just been diagnosed with this condition after her tummy swelled,I thought she was having a phantom pregnancy,the vet has her on half a steroid a day prednisolone she is eating her food (butchers tripe) the only other symptom she shows is that she can’t jump onto a chair anymore,her weight is stable so fingers crossed it has been caught in time

    • I hope your yorkie does well. We are currently just maintaining…our 10 lb. poodle is taking 5mg prednisone in morning and 5 mg at night, plus another steroid. She has the bloated tummy, and has lost some muscle and can no longer jump up onto chairs. I am curious about the food your yorkie is eating…our vet prescribed a vegetarian prescription diet. Also, have you had any problems with yeast infections from the steroids?

  21. Hi latest report on my little yorkie breeze,after half a tabley a day,she is now only on half a steroid every 3 days,she has never had the symtoms other dogs have had appart from not being able to jump with her belly swelled .She is now 5 years and jumping around like a new born lamb her appetite has grown con siderablly,she went off the butchers tripe and is now earting puppy pedigree and b utchers puppy in fact anything my new pup eats,she is having her teath cleaned 14thmay if her protein levels are ok after a blood test on that morning before any dental work

    • Hi Maureen:

      My little Gizmo was just diagnosed with PLE last week. Just today I got him back from the hospital where he had the upper endoscopy (waiting for the biopsy results). I am scared reading all the posts and I do not want to loose him. He presented last week with diarrhea, watery but not bloody and some vomiting and at the end his belly was swollen.
      He is on prednisone 2.5 mg po twice a day, Flagyl for 14 days and one more med to control the vomiting, he is kind of down, but I still can see the light in his eyes and his curiosity. Since the diet seems to be the biggest game, can you please let me know what you feeding your little one? Thank you, Ana

  22. We have a 15 year old Yorkie rescue that has been wit us for 2 1/2 years…..Lily was diagnosis with PLE. A few months back…had never heard of it before….so many test to rule everything out….blood test, ultra sounds, etc. she has no cancer…thank goodness….but watching your pup starve to death right in front of you while feeding her good foods is a terrible thing…she had the walking poos so bad..,.we papered our floor with pee pads….only way to handle it….now her bowels are under control but drinks gallons of water because of meds, & has many piddle accidents inside….she is taken out about every hour…..many times during the night also….no more solid night sleeps here anymore….she is also on probiotics which I think helps to heal intestional track….so far no fluids in belly….she has a vet appointment tonigh for check up… long as she is in no pain, we can deal with it….there is no cure for this disease. Prayers for all of the families dealing with this

    • I have read all posts and am so happy for some and sad for others. I lost my 2 year old coon hound ( not typical, but some siblings were terrier mixes) rescue. In April this year he wouldn’t eat for a few days and took to vet. After exploratory surgery for a possible obstruction, which he didn’t have, it was realized that he had a lot of fluid in abdomen. Chance ( his name) was referred to UGA Vet. Hospital where he remained for 7 days until diagnosis of IBD with PLE. He did fine on his new meds and diet ( RC Ultimino – a new food that is more absorbable and tasty. Taking pred and Atopica for 2 months then budsonide instead of pred. Could never get his protein levels up to the magic 5 number so he wasn’t weaned off. On July 30 he crashed, only a week after visiting vet with good results. His protein levels were back to 2.1 and was having difficulty breathing plus swollen abdomen. Took back to UGA, but he died 10 yours later from acute inflammatory lung injury or a blood clot. Have sent a letter to get a better explanation, but I all his problems were tied to this unrelenting disease that knows no boundaries or breed. He was a sweet heart and quite a fighter. He lived 4 mo. and had just turned 2. He was on everything from probiotics, two steroids, special food, B 12 shots, B complex, you name it. No one saw this coming including me. This disease is a thief in the night that takes our animals with no or not much warning. I pray for more research .

      • My little toy yorkie is only 5 years over that time she has had 3litters of stunning pups but was diagnosed with PLE 3 months ago,I thought she was having a false pregnancy as her belly was very swelled,however she is on half a steroid every 3 days,and she has a visit to the vets tomorrow,because her belly is swelled again,fingers crossed it’s nothing serious Mo

      • Your situation sounds just like ours. Our Boykin Spaniel was diagnosed a year ago after suffering pancreatitis. We have experimented with every drug and food known to man but his protein and albumin levels are still low. He has had two additional bouts with pancreatitis. We have spent thousands of dollars at a Veterinary hospital in Charleston, SC. We are having him euthanized today, becaise he has been through so much and is suffering. He will not eat, has diarrhea and has lost a lot of weight. We are so sad. He is only 8 and a wonderful dog, but his quality of life is not good. If his condition was curable, we would continue our treatment, but the best you can do is try to manage it and that has failed for us.

        • So sorry to hear about your situation. You have my sympathy.

        • So sorry for your loss. I know how much we invest, in the emotional aspect of pet partnerships.
          It sounds like you made the correct decision for all concerned. That is all… we as mere mortals
          can do sometimes. Carry no burdens, he would not want that. The only question I asked my vet was,
          can my dog have a good quality of life? i would base my own life decisions on this answer as well.
          Just breathe and move forward.

  23. Can any comment if they have tried a raw diet for their dog that has PLE? By raw meaning no bones only protein such as Natures Variety Instinct

  24. Lost my 3 year old coonhound 2 days ago to this horrible disease. He was diagnosed 3 mo. ago and has been on all the above and seemed ok for a while. Developed a staph infection in foot due to suppressed immune system and it was almost well when he developed breathing problems, which is an often overlooked. This was not due to edema caused from protein loss, but actually an acute inflammatory lung injury due to his IBD. He lived 3 mo. from diagnosis.

  25. Please visit my Facebook page “living with canine lymphangiectasia” . Immunocal Platinum helped my doxie Sasha turn this disease around. You can read my story there.

    • Can you send me your facebook name? I’d love to see what you’ve found out!! Marilyn Frese. Please FRIEND me so we can share!! Thanks!

      • Hi Marilyn,

        I searched your name on Facebook but couldn’t find you. Try searching me Teresa Phillips. You could probably search my page as well “living with canine lymphangiectasia “

        • I”m sorry! My FB also has my maiden name for HS friends to find me… Marilyn Monsrud Frese

          • Ok i emailed you on fb but it probably went to the “other” folder since we’re not fb friends. For some reason theiris no option to friend you so you can go to my page and friend me. 🙂

          • TERESA, Can you send me a FRIEND REQUEST on my facebook page?

        • I’ve tried your name but there are about 7 or 8 with your name… they tried your page “teresa phillips, living with canine lymphangiectasiat” and didn’t take me anywhere. Maybe you can find me?? My yorkie Mickey is on my home page.

  26. I love how supportive you guys all seem. I had just been giving the news my six year old lab/basset mix has this disease. She has a lot of fluid in her abdominal and she can’t hold in her bladder/stools much. My husband is currently deployed for another nine weeks. The vet is saying I need to think about putting her down bc it is the inevitable. I am trying everything to keep her comfortable and like most of you said she is still so happy and alive minus the pregnant feeling I’m sure. I think my main question is whether I can keep fighting for her and if she will make it another two months? I will have to continue the prednisone and atopica and also bought enzymes and probiotic for her. The doctor just gave her a b12 shot and that seemed to be amazing honestly. But should I continue to clean up her messes with two small children running around it? Should I put her through more uncomfortable and possibly pain at the end when this disease is inevitable? I’m struggling so much with this decision.

    • My little Yorkie has (we think) PLE Protein Losing Enteropathy AND LYMPHANGIECTASIA (a lymph fluid problem). as well . They make some RX dog foods for this… they are used for ALLERGIES but help with PLE as well. Hills Z/D and Royal Canin HP (Hydrolyzed Protein). My vet also put him on a HUMAN RX- used for Lymphoma called LEUKERAN. He gets 1/2 a pill a day but the do run about $180 for 15 pills (1 month). He’s holding his own… now filling with fluids every 2 weeks. BUT he has a lot of diarrhea. Takes FLAGYL for that but doesn’t always work. I am still praying for a miracle. Have you had her belly DRAINED? It gives them a lot of relief and can last for MONTHS before it starts filling up again. My vet drains him in the office… only takes a few minuets and dog doesn’t seem to have an side effects. They use 1 needle and it drains pretty quickly. First time he had 2 PINTS drain out!! And he’s only about 10 pounds…11 to 12 with the fluid. It’s hell for the poor dogs… they just don’t know WHAT’S wrong… they loose their puppyness and energy. I wish you luck..please keep in touch. There is no CURE, but I have read of dogs living almost a full life span and enduring the side effects of this disease.

      • This is what I went through, except my yorkie was on more meds, and was being drained ever 4-5 days. Did this for 9 months, fed her only boiled chicken, rice, veggies….after a while it was hard to get the meds down her and I stripped her of all of them…I was prepared for her to pass….yet after 9 months almost to the day, she looked better, and yes, I haven’t had her drained and she is off all meds and ALL her test levels are back to normal. Don’t know what happened, don’t care and today, a year later is is healthy as ever. Keep trying everything you can. I know what you are all going through.

  27. I’d just like to share my success story about my wheaton terrier, KayLee. Over a year ago, she was diagnosed with Protein Losing Enteropathy. She went from 34 lbs. to 27 lbs. in a very short period of time. She had severe diarrhea,lethargy, and very yellow urine. We took her to the vet. He started her on prednisone, cyclosporine, and a new diet of Hill’s Z/D ( can and dry food ) It is very high in hydrolyzed protein. In addition, we also added a probiotic from Natren Trinity for dogs. It has caninedophilus for dogs, it supports and maintains their intestinal flora. Within a short period of time, we noticed a significant difference. Her diarrhea stopped, and she started to rallye. The vet did blood tests every few weeks to check her protein level, albumin, etc. Her protein levels were originally 2.6 and after six months were up to 5.9. Over the following months, the prednisone was reduced, because it can cause liver damage if high doses are sustained. Currently, she is on 5 mg every other day and will soon be off of it completely. The cyclosporine, an auto immune suppressant, will be at maintenance levels of every other day. Cyclosporine is the human derivative of ATOPICA. There is no difference except cost. Atopica is $100 a month, the Cyclosporine is $33 a month. Our KayLee is very healthy again.She goes for 2 mile walks and she’ll be 13 yrs old soon. Over a year ago, she was on death’s doorstep. She’s back to being naughty again and that’s why we love her. I hope this can help someone. Between my research and my vet Paul Ryan in Camanche, Ia, we came up with a plan that worked wonderfully.

    • Mr. Czer, I would appreciate any details you can supply regarding Kaylee’s treatment plan. This is the first site found full of truth tellers.My little Spring, a wheaton was diagnosed just two weeks ago. AFTER
      over 5,000 spent in testing and hospitalizatin she is home. She was put on a raw derm fish diet. She is only two years old and lost her fiesty puppy personality over night. Your post gives me hope , need I say more

      • I wish you the absolute best Sharron. This is an awful disease. See my post below regarding my JRT Rugby. We’ve been in and out of the vet hospital literally almost daily at times since his diagnosis this spring. He just had a relapse and was in for 2 days on IV fluids, he came home yesterday. He’s on the Hills z/d but doesn’t like it. He’s also on metronidazole, prednisone and a probiotic. After reading Mr. Czer’s post above, I’m going to ask about Cyclosporine. He’s gone from a healthy 14 pounds down to 10.5 pounds, he’s skin and bones but he wants so badly to live. He’s full of life and love and isn’t ready to give up. I’ve also ordered a product called Endosorb to help with toxins in the gut but it hasn’t arrived yet. His protein levels were the lowest my vet had ever seen at 1.9 but have increased to 2.6 at last testing. Please let me know if you find anything that works for you, I’m desperate. We’ve been consulting with vets at two universities in Florida and North Carolina but he’s just wasting away and I feel so helpless.

        • Dear Mr. Carpenter,
          I know what your are feeling and I empathize completely. I have had Spring home from the hospital for
          over two weeks. No relaspe. Predisone 10mg. was prescribed , One and half tabs daily with food. I am
          weaning her off this, down to 0.5 tab daily. No store bought food. Strictly novelle diet. I make myself, so I know exactly what goes into it.She was down to 24 punds from 29. Weighed 26.7 on Monday. I buy fresh or
          frozen cod and salmon. Cut this up into very small bites. Feed two and half cups of this morning, noon and night. Let her sleep with me and give her license to me 24/7. People won’t give direction in fear they will be wrong. This includes vets. This protocol is working for us. I know things should be taken on a case by case basis but this is working for now, no complaints. Protein levels are improving. I wish you only the best and no more heartbreak.

        • Dear Mr.Carpenter,
          Know that the food given is more than 85% cod. The salmon high in omega 3’s is given less liberally.
          Very little coming out the other end; because her body is using it all. She loves this and eats with wild
          abandon, I let her…. right or wrong. She still lacked energy so grated sweet potato and steamed until tender
          , carbs help her energy level.Know carbs… ie. sweet potato, given vary sparingly. I ordered a scale that weighs
          grams ,so receipe can be duplicated exactly ,at each feeding. Hope this helps.I had a Jack Russel for years,
          keep faith and hope. People told me my dog is just going to die anyway. This just helped me become more resolute.

  28. my 7 lb chihuahua, 10 years old, was diagnosed with PLE in 2013. We are in the middle of another bout with it. I am alarmed because he has not had a bowel movement for 3 or 4 days now. It’s the weekend, I have no idea what to do.
    Any advice, please?

    • Kathryn,
      This alarmed me as well my dog would go for 3 or 4 days w/o a bowel movement . This happened for weeks on end. Now that she is in full recovery mode it is like clockwork. Enemas
      are sometimes helpful if you have someone to hold pet and use an infant syringe, with just a small amount of warm water. This is what your vet could do for you if you are really concerned

  29. Robin Carpenter

    My Jack Russell rescue Rugby was recently diagnosed with PLE. He’s a heartworm survivor as well. He’s currently on Tylosin (1/8 tsp 2x daily) and enalapril for his heart (permanent damage from the heartworms). He’s on Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat dry and canned. Initially he ate it well but now he won’t eat it at all. He’s losing weight quickly. The only thing I can get him to eat is boiled chicken. If he eats any fat at all he gets terrible diarrhea (no blood or vomiting). If that happens, I put him on metronidazole until it clears up. We have another vet appointment in about 3 weeks. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to get him to eat? Thanks so much, he’s my baby and I just can’t bear to lose him.

    • Please see my long post on this site as well as others. It is very hard, just keep trying. As of today, may, 2016, she is still healthy,,,still fussy tho.

      • Robin Carpenter

        Thank you Lesia. I got a bag of the Hills i/d low fat today to see if he’ll do better with that but the only way he’ll eat is if I feed him one kibble at a time dredged through fat free cream cheese.

  30. My dog had a stroke and was paralyzed from the neck down. He is now learning to walk again. It’s very slow but we are getting there. What would you recommend for him to eat to build his muscle s up

    • Dear Jane, I am just a pet owner who can only share what I do for my dog. She is not a stroke victim but does have ple, a chroic and serious disease. She is two years old .a young dog. I have just begun to feed her a commerical dog food mixed in very small amounts with her raw fish and baked sweet potato diet. Let me also mention I feed three times a day, 10 oz at each feeding. She is not not gaining weight but, is stablized at between 26 and 27 lbs. I add a probiotic, Balance IT supplement, and krill oil at each feeding. She gobbles everything up and loves it. The commercial dog food I have started this week came highly reccomended by a breeder who stated ,”this is all I feed my dogs.” Namely.. Holistic Select, Salmon Anchovy and Sardine. This is readily available from Amazon or My dog needs a novelle diet..proteins not given before. We learn so much about ourselves from our companions and our relationship with them is so important i do understand the heartbreak when they are impaired, sick or injured. You are amazing in that devotion is a rare commodity and greatly needed in todays world. I hope this helps. If they enjoy their food that says a great deal. It is trial, error and learn for all of us. All the best to you and yours.

  31. Hi everyone. Our 6-yr old dog Rocky has PLE and IBD–not sure which is the cause and which is the symptom. He had his first bout with IBD when he was only one year old after being kenneled for 2 weeks. Since then he has been on Purina EN and we’ve always been careful about what we feed him. He has gotten sick after being kenneled a few times over the years, and we always assumed it was something he caught at the kennel. Most recently, he became sick when he stayed at the kennel for 2 nights while we brought our son to college. We thought it was all the changes in our household that were affecting his behavior–he just stopped eating, threw up a lot (which he often does anyway). But after refusing to eat and losing a great deal of weight, he had blood work and an endoscopy done and was diagnosed with PLE. He is half wheaten terrier, and we now know this breed is at risk for PLE. He was on budesonide for a few weeks (plus tylosin, myrtazipine to stimulate his appetite, B12 shots, and baby gas-x), but it wasn’t helping enough and he stopped eating again. This week, he refused to eat even cooked chicken and has lost nearly 1/3 of his body weight. Yesterday, the vet put him on prednisone in addition to budesonide and all his other meds. She decided we needed to “hit him hard” and treat it much more aggressively because his behavior was really declining.
    Has anyone had experience giving prednisone PLUS budesonide? Like you all, we just want to get him healthy again. Thanks for your comments.

    • Dorothy,
      My dog is a wheaton terrier with PlE. Interestingly, her bio seems to be similar to your dogs. Two weekend trips, new surroundings and boom explosive symptomolgy; by the 2nd weekend and emergency trip to vet late ,on Sunday night. One week of hospitalizatiion and two months later the
      entire way she is taken care had to change. Homemade raw fish meals, predisone dosage now down to
      0.5 mg every other day. Hopefully we can come off this soon. Take every day one day at a time. Watch
      carefully. I keep track of her weight, energy level, bowel movements monitor urination. Easy for me since my yard is mostly all concrete. I bought a gram scale and food processer to help me prepare meals. It takes more time to prepare her meal than mine now. The rewards are you get to keep your dog.Please don’t give, up my dog was at one time on all of those meds. plus iv fluids. Be patient and know that food is medicine . Also, your loving care is the best antidote for all situations. All the best.

      • Sharon,
        Thanks for your reply. I’m curious: did your vet recommend the raw fish? What kind of fish? Is that easier to digest than chicken? Our dog is stubbornly refusing the Purina HA dry food that the vet recommended and will only occasionally eat the Purina EN canned food; he holds out for chicken. He’s just fur and bones, and he has started shedding, which he has never done before, so that’s got us very worried (and if he’ll eat chicken, we’ll give him chicken!). Tomorrow he will be seeing the vet to have a blood test so we’ll see what she says.

        • Dorthy,
          It is good to have blood work done this will tell you and the vet so much. Yes, my vet reccommended
          a raw fish diet. This because my dog needs a novelle diet. That is proteins she has never eaten before.
          This same vet sent me home with samples meals of ‘FOOD JUST FOR on web they ship. It was the raw fish derm diet. I will not change this diet untill another episode happens. I am hoping we can just stick with this plan. She has put back on some weight feeding 10oz three times a day. She wieighed 29 lbs. before
          becoming, ill in july 2016. She weighs 27 lbs. now.I make her food now. I make sure there is at least 7oz of pure protein at each feeding. I use a gram scale before adding sweet potato ( cooked until mushy and usually some other fresh organic veggie to help keep weight on her. Holistic formula, dry samon and sardine is used for a dry doggie treat and she tolerates this as well. The fish I buy is cod and salmon raw and cut up into bite size chunks. I make up a weeks worth of food every Saturday. Her coat is beautiful and energy is good. I hope this helps.I do know every case should be taken on an individual basis. This seems to be working at the moment. ASK your vet lots of questions food and your love are the best medicines ever. This is a horrible disease for sure

  32. I am so sad to say that our dear Rocky lost his battle with PLE yesterday. We watched him waste away before our eyes, but we remained optimistic that he would recover. We struggled to get him to eat, and even though the meds were helping and his protein levels were starting to increase, he could not put on any weight. He had no strength left to fight. We are still trying to understand why this happened, even though we can’t go back and change anything. The vet thinks he may have had a mass in his abdomen, possibly lymphoma, in addition to IBD. We just know he was suffering at the end, and hope he is now at peace.
    This was my first and only dog, and I was unprepared for how hard it would be to lose him. He was truly a member of the family. I have owned four cats, and loved each one dearly, but somehow this is different. I feel guilty for saying that, but it’s true. He was a constant presence in our home, always present, always right there at our sides.
    To all of you struggling with sick pets, my heart goes out to you. It’s a horrible, helpless feeling, I know. Wishing you all the best.

    • Dorthy, My heartfelt condolence for you and your family. It is never easy. So sorry I could not do more to be of help. He was so fortunate to have been loved and to truly belong. What a wonderful gift you gave to him.

  33. Anna, if your Aussie is tolerating this diet and maintaining, don’t change it. I have blood tests done every year to make sure my dog’s diet is on track.I have not changed anything from the Summer of 2015, when she took critical. My vet advised me not to change anything, as long as she is doing well.My understanding is that diet changes should only be advised, if and when your dog can no longer tolerate the present one. The reason being, they are carnivores… and there are only so many protein sources we can feed them: chicken, turkey, beef,fish are usually available w/o going to more exotic species; some of which are off limits because of laws. availabilty and even price! ALWAYS consult your vet. The receipe I use each feeding of 10 oz. meal, x3 daily. Know that she only weighs 29 pounds and there is not one oz. of fat on her even with 30 of food every day. She just burns thru it all.
    The ratios are 7 oz of raw fish (cod and salmon) with 2oz of sweet potato or yams ( these are baked until soft and 1 oz. of a green vegtable usually zucchina, cut up very fine. Time consuming but worth the effort, she is a service dog.
    I know there are some univeristies, studying diet and for a price they will design at diet for your dog with PLE.I just read…. got lucky with a diet that sustains her w/o further episodes thus far.
    All the best. read, educate and document this will help others like yourself when they are desperate and do not know where to turn. When desperate turn to” Holistic formula”.brand name on internet They make pet foods with no preservatives/additives . It is the only pre- packaged commericial dog food she can tolerate.
    This is only fed when it become impossible carry around fresh/ frozen to feed. With raw food make sure to keep it clean, bowls are scrubbed in hot soapy water after every feeding.
    Keep educating yourself and others.

  34. Hi everyone. I have a mixed breed dog named Lucky who was diagnosed about 3 months ago. but he’s been sick for about 5 months. He is 12. He was 72 pounds, but he’s about 55 right now. He is on steroids and a couple of other things to help him feel better. But he has lost so much muscle that he is becoming totally weak. There’s such a mix of sadness and hope in this forum. I wish I found this site earlier–I kept hoping I could find something to fix my boy but now I have tried to accept that I can’t fix him. I’m wondering if I should try some of the things mentioned or just let him go. My husband doesn’t live with me and he’s only been hearing of Lucky’s struggles via phone and text. He came home today and was shocked when he saw Lucky, with his hip bones and spine so prevalent. I have spent thousands on medications (Atopica, etc.) and have tried every food–raw diets, hydrolyzed food, etc. Right now, I just give him whatever he’ll eat, which changes daily. Today he only wants rawhides that I cut into small pieces. But, he still WANTS to eat, he just turns up his nose at nearly everything. He poops nothing but liquid and has been doing so for months. Lucky still has quite a bit of spirit left and isn’t telling me it’s time for him to go–he’s still walking and sniffing and wagging his tail. But he is not even close to getting better. Not sure whether I should bring my walking pet to be euthanized, or try something else. But I feel like I’ve been saying “My dog is really sick” for such a long time. My credit cards are maxed out with his vet visits (weekly) and meds and food he won’t eat. OH! And he also has cushing’s disease which we are just not treating. I guess I’m wondering, for those who said goodbye, how did you know it was time? My vet said he is still bright and he’s not telling me it’s time, but my friends who see how skinny he is, and that he poops orange liquid, say that I need to say goodbye. I just don’t know what to do.

    • Hello Heather, I’m so very sorry and I’m right there with you. My Rugby is wasting away and has the same exact symptoms as your boy. We’ve tried everything conventional medicine has to offer and like you, I’m afraid it’s too late. As a last ditch effort I’ve consulted a holistic vet but honestly, if his diarrhea doesn’t improve this week I’m going to make a decision I don’t want to make. I’m trying a product called Oceans Alive, it’s marine phytoplankton. There are a number of different brands on the market but the manufacturing process is what is the difference with this one. Also we have him on L-glutamine which promotes production of the cells which line the intestines. He’s taking a product called Rx Biotic and Dr Mercola digestive enzymes as well as a product called Seacure. These did not cost me anywhere near what I’ve spent on his conventional treatment. He’s off all of his drugs including metronidazole, Prednisone and
      baytril. He’s eating 99%lean ground turkey mixed with organic pumpkin and liver broth which is the water left over after boiling calves liver. He’s a picky eater but will eat when he gets hungry. It’s very difficult for me to not give him something else when he’s so emaciated but this is my last hope. We just started this regime earlier this week. He still has liquid diarrhea but I’ve noticed it’s not as frequent and not immediately after he eats. They say it takes several weeks to see a marked improvement but I don’t know how much longer I can watch him growing weaker and wasting away. I want what’s best for him but he has such a strong will to live and such a beautiful spiritthis is killing me. I’m so very sorry you’re going through this too. Please keep me updated. If you want to email me I’m at I’m probably violating the rules by disclosing that but any support I can give you I will.

      • Please visit my fb page “living with canine lymphangiectasia” for info on how I helped my Doxie with this seemingly hopeless disease. She’s 15 and doing awesome still!

        • Hi Teresa. I saw your post about the immunocal and that is specifically why I wished I had found this site earlier. How long did it take to work? Lucky doesn’t have much time left.

          • HI Heather,

            With Sasha it only took a few days to see improvement. Does your baby have any underlying cause for ple? I was desperate like you are and was willing to try anything. I’m so glad I did! She was extremely sick. Did you read my story on fb? I’m sure you can relate if so. Sasha turned 15 in September and she really shows no signs of ple anymore at all. She begs me for food every day and is extremely healthy for a dog at her age. Let me know if you have any questions and if you decide to try immunocal get the combo package with 1 regular box and 1 platinum. I still give her both. She takes 1/4 metronidazole and a 1/2 of a 5mg prednisalone every other day. I could probably even take her off those at this point but I don’t want to take any chances since she’s doing so well. I pray this works for your baby as I know first hand how frustrating and heartbreaking this is.

      • Hi Robin, thanks for writing. i’m sorry about your Rugby. What kind of dog is he? I took Lucky to the vet again yesterday and she said he was deteriorating. She is nice, but, I know that is doing worse. I didn’t even need to bring him but I took my other dog as well, so he came too. I feel like Lucky will be gone within 2 weeks, although he has been super hungry the last several days. But, he only eats foods that are bad for him. I haven’t tried turkey and pumpkin in a while, but I guess I can give it a go.

    • Heather,
      I can sympathize with your plight and am sorry your dog was not so lucky after all. I understand how stressful this is for you, and costly too. Once our Rocky had lost so much weight that he seemed skin and bones, I think we knew that we weren’t going to reverse course, but we did not want to give up. We expected that he would somehow let us know when it was “time”, and he did. The last few days he wanted to spend more and more time outside, away from us. On Sunday, we had a few hours of sort of normal behavior, social, happy, like his old self but with less energy. By Monday, I noticed him standing and staring at nothing, like he was zoning out, and I told my husband I thought he was done, that we probably should be thinking about euthanasia. Tuesday morning, that was it, Rocky couldn’t even sit up or raise his head, so I took him to the vet–he started having seizures in the car–no doubt that it was over. So yes, he let us know when it was time. I don’t think he was suffering until the very end, less than a day I think. You will know when his suffering is no longer bearable for him.

      As for the cost–why are you taking him to the vet weekly, and why is s/he charging for this? We were in contact with our vet at least every week, but we didn’t need to bring him in every time, and she only charged us for the medication, not the advice. You should discuss your concerns about money with your vet, and ask if all of the in-person evaluations are really necessary.

      I wish you all the best and hope you enjoy your time with Lucky, however long it lasts.

      • Hi Dororthy. I read your story about Rocky and I’m so sorry. Thank you for writing. I don’t really need to take Lucky to the vet for weekly visits anymore, but it sort of makes me feel better. It started because they wanted to monitor his medicine and see if we needed to change it. Lucky hasn’t eaten any healthy food in about six weeks. He lost so much weight trying to get him to eat either hydrolyzed food, raw food, low fat food, etc., that the vet told me to just feed him whatever he would eat to put some weight on. At times he has put on a pound or two, but it goes up and down weekly. I’ve kept him on the prednisolone the longest because that seems to keep him feeling the best. Although he is still getting skinny and having diarrhea, he doesn’t seem to be suffering with a lot of pain. We haven’t actually checked his blood work in months because it won’t really make a difference since I know the food he is eating isn’t helping him. He takes one pill that is $12 per day (Cerenia). I have cut that down to every other day, but it really seems to make him feel better. I didn’t give it to him for 5 days and he looked like death again and I panicked and got more of it. I had one vet visit that was over $3000. The regular weekly visits only cost $25, so in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t that much. And they make me feel better because she checks his stomach and heart, and when people tell me that I need to put him down because he is suffering, I can tell them the vet said he’s not ready.
        Thanks for sharing about knowing it was time to take Rocky. I hope Lucky will let me know too. I don’t want him to see him in the state of not being able to pick up his head, but I also feel that I can’t bring my happy walking dog to the vet to be put to sleep. I would feel like I gave up on him. But, he had an accident in the house the other day. All over the house. Upstairs, downstairs, in every room. It’s nearly impossible to clean because its so hard to see since it’s only drops of poopy water, but I can smell it. I leave the door open for him so he can go outside when I’m gone, but he didn’t. I’ve already thrown out most of my rugs because this has happened before. But, my husband said if this happens again, he might make the decision early.

        • We used Woolite + Oxy pet stain remover, works great! After Rocky threw up yellow bile all over a brand new wool rug, we put gates up to keep him confined to part of the house with just one carpet he could mess up. The indoor messes are the worst, I can relate, but this cleaner is the best I’ve found so far.

    • Hello Heather
      Can I give you some positive news. My 8 year old rescue Yorkie was diagnosed with PLE 18 months ago.Her albumin and protein levels were dropping rapidly. Her weight dropped from 4.6kgs to 3.8kgs due to loss of muscle and she was having 1 litre of fluid drained from her abdomen every fortnight. After trying different diets and giving her high protein foods, egg whites and spirolina I researched online for any advice. I found that in a study one Yorkshire terrier out of 26 had survived after being given Imuran. I asked my vet who initially wasn’t very keen on the idea. He said it’s like a chemotherapy drug and only one dog in the study of 26 had responded. What if my dog could be another one I asked? I would never forgive myself if I don’t try !

      Well, she has been on 1/4 of a tablet twice a day for 15 months now, plus 1/4 spironolactone a day and her weight has gone back up again, she eats well, no vomiting or diarrhea and NO more ascites!!

      I hope our story gives you and others whose beloved pets are suffering with this terrible disease, some hope for the future.

  35. Hi! My mom has a little 4.6 pound Yorkie that was diagnosed with this awful disease about 2 years ago. His Albumin had dropped so low that the Veternarian was shocked that he pulled through. He stabilized and we were able to maintain with diet (Science Diet W/D) and Prednisone 1 MG every other day. My mom has dementia, but has been able to stay on top of his care. The sad part is with dementia, as a caretaker, I don’t know what she doesn’t remember until she forgets, and that’s exactly what happened. She forgot to give him his medicine. Last week he had another flare-up and the doctor was treating him with the Prednisone and some other medications. His Albumin at the time of Vet. Visit was <1. With treatment, within 2 days his Albumin climbed back up to 1.6. So we were continue using the same treatment. Last night he started having severe tremors, difficulty breathing, and foaming at the mouth. We rushed him to the emergency Vet. Where they kept him overnight. The tremors were a result of low calcium, which resulted from another Albumin drop. The gave him calcium and plasma. This moring they called him a miracle, because he survived through the night. I picked him up this morning and transported him to our regular Vet. Where he is now, still receiving plasma infusions. It is still undetermined if he will pull through this, not knowing owing yet if his condition has worsened to the point that it can no longer be maintained. Not to mention his Prednisone has been increased to 2.5mg, twice a day, which is very high for such a little fellow. This in itself could cause more issues with other internal organs. I'm just praying we can get him back to a maintenance stage and we can maintain with diet and low dose of Prednisone every other day. This is heart breaking to see such a sweet little fellow go through this.

  36. Our 7 year old Lagotto (lab breed) developed and ACL tear. While we were waiting for surgery he suddenly started having diarrhea and one day of vomiting, yellow bile. The vet did some lab work and he was fine except he needed some Vit B12 injections. The diarrhea continued– mostly just water for weeks. He wouldn’t eat anything and lost 20% of his body weight. He was urinating a lot– almost no color to it. He was checked for diabetes and Addison’s disease but he is fine with that. After anti-biotics and deworming didn’t help he was started on Prednisone. The diarrhea stopped in 4 days and he started eating again. He won’t eat any of the low fat specialty diets though. He is now eating ravenously and has gained most of his weight back but he should be fatter for the amount of food he eats. He has a little problem with constipation and his stools are hard and small now. He is starting to have a problem with excessive gas again, which he started with about a year ago. The prednisone is making him pee all over the house– I’m taking him out every hour sometimes. It comes and goes. The vet says he has PLE but he only seems to have some of the symptoms. His energy is pretty good except he is often restless and panting a lot, which is from the prednisone. The vet just decreased his dose to see if he can slow down the potty accidents. I don’t know what’s up. We didn’t do all of the diagnostic tests because of the cost and poor prognosis if it is PLE. We also started him on pro-biotics 3 x a day and I am going to start him on a supplement called Seacrest which is a fish based product that is supposed to help with intestinal healing. So, that’s our story. I don’t know what the outcome will be but we’re going for a conservative approach and hoping for the best.

  37. Hi Patricia,
    Sorry to hear about your dog and hope it turns out to be something treatable. There are only a few reasons why a dog would be losing protein, so (although I’m not a vet) I don’t know that a huge battery of tests is really necessary to diagnose PLE. Having said that, my husband is bitter about the fact that our vet didn’t diagnose our dog sooner, although I don’t really blame her for what happened. Rocky had intestinal issues for years (IBD, pancreatitis) that may have all been related to or due to PLE, but the PLE wasn’t diagnosed until a few months before he died. So my husband thinks things would have gone differently if we had the right diagnosis sooner, but I’m not so sure. And for us anyway, it doesn’t really matter at this point, so I figure, why hold a grudge. Our vet treated him rather aggressively once we got the diagnosis, but this isn’t a disease that responds to treatment in every dog.
    In my opinion, as long as you are comfortable with what your vet is doing and how your dog is feeling, follow your instincts. And maybe put up some gates in the house so you have a smaller area to clean up when the inevitable accidents occur.
    Best of luck to you.

  38. Hi. We have a white suisse shepherd soon to be 8 months that has been diagnosed with PLE. He is now on a diet with cooked horse meat and potatoes. I guess we are lucky he was diagnosed so soon. Until recently he has been gaining weight in spite his chronic diarrhea and weekly yellow vomiting (that fortunately changed a month ago when we changed his eating habits). But now he started to lose weight and I am very scared. He is in high spirits though, enjoying his runs in the park and eats very well. Is there hope for his health getting better?

  39. – And A RAW Food Diet – BUT you have to study this to make sure you give the right amounts of foods – supplements …. its vital to heal the gut to aid in absorption of foods – No kibble as its one of the reasons for pet health problems! Google PLE and read comments from pet owners as well… dont just rely on vet medications – REAL FOOD is the way to go ….

  40. Hi. I am scared. Our 7 year old male cockatoo shitzhu was diagnosed with PLE last Tursday. Five days before this I noticed Manny not jumping up on our beds to sleep with us and his abdomen so swelled suddenly. He doesn’t cry or scream in any pain.he is on prednisone and another med. He eats boiled turkey from Turkey legs or breast m water.after four days of this his swelling is down a little and he is prancing around. But his level is very low 1.7. I never heard of this horrid disease til now. I really need to know what to feed him. I did decide against the ultrasound and biopsy and all that stuff. I decided to give Manny quality of life until he can no longer function. Then I will be with him at my best office sending my Manny to doggy heaven. We all have choices and think differently. But I could not see us taking him thru all those tests n treatments and still the same ending. I just want some advice on good for him. Thank You for listening. I feel in my heart for all your doggies with this disease. I was very shocked.

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