Renal (Kidney) Amyloidosis in Dogs

Overview of Canine Renal Amyloidosis

Kidney amyloidosis is a rare disorder of protein metabolism in which abnormal deposits of protein called amyloid is deposited in the kidneys. The cause of kidney amyloidosis remains poorly understood. It is a hereditary condition in certain breeds of dog. It also may occur in other breeds or mixed breeds as a reaction to chronic infections and inflammatory conditions. The term kidney is commonly used interchangeable with the word “renal”.

Most dogs with kidney amyloidosis are old at the time of diagnosis (9 is average age). The disease can occur in any age or breed, with one study showing Beagles, collies, and walker hounds at increased risk, and German Shepherds and mixed-breed dogs at lower risk. It is a hereditary disorder in shar-pei dogs.

Amyloid deposits in the kidney lead to excessive protein loss in the urine and eventual chronic kidney failure. Amyloid may also be deposited in other organs like the liver, spleen and pancreas, causing them to malfunction as well.

What to Watch For

Signs of Amyloidosis in dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Renal Amyloidosis in Dogs

Treatment of Renal Amyloidosis in Dogs

Home Care and Prevention

Manage any concurrent kidney failure as described by the veterinarian with prescription diets, subcutaneous fluids, hormonal therapy to correct anemia and vitamin D therapy. Control hypertension with medication if necessary and minimize risk of thromboembolism (forming blood clots) using low dose aspirin, if prescribed.

There are no specific preventative measures against amyloidosis.

In-depth information on Renal (Kidney) Amyloidosis in Dogs

Kidney amyloidosis is an uncommon disorder of protein metabolism in which a protein called amyloid is abnormally deposited in the kidneys, causing excessive protein loss in the urine.

Among the domestic animals, it is most common in dogs, and seems to be a hereditary disorder in shar-pei dogs. Chronic inflammatory diseases can predispose animals to the development of kidney amyloidosis; however, only a small percentage of animals with chronic inflammatory conditions develop amyloidosis, thus, other factors must also be important in the development of amyloidosis. These other factors are poorly understood. Most dogs with amyloidosis do not have discernible inflammatory or infectious conditions at the time of diagnosis. However, various diseases have been observed in some dogs with amyloidosis, such as systemic fungal diseases, chronic bacterial infections, heartworm diseases, and cancer.

Most dogs with kidney amyloidosis are old at the time they are diagnosed with the disease. The average age is 9 years in dogs. The hereditary form tends to strike earlier; affected shar-peis are 4 years old on average at the time of death or euthanasia from the disease. Beagles, collies, pointers, and Walker hounds may be at increased risk, while German shepherds and mixed breed dogs are less prone to the disorder. Both sexes are affected, although a slight predilection for females may be present.

In dogs, amyloid deposits in the kidneys lead to eventual kidney failure. Signs of kidney failure include anorexia, lethargy, and weight loss. Excessive water consumption and urination is another common sign of kidney failure. Occasional vomiting is also seen.

Kidney amyloidosis causes excessive protein loss in the urine. One of the proteins lost in the urine is a protein responsible for preventing the blood from clotting. As a result, affected dogs are more susceptible to formation of blood clots. These clots tend to lodge in the lungs, causing clinical signs that may not be obvious, ranging from labored breathing to major respiratory distress.

Excessive urinary loss of a protein called albumin may lead to ascites, which is an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. It may also lead to edema, which is a swelling of the limbs and/or face. Ascites and edema are relatively uncommon occurrences in dogs with kidney amyloidosis.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Amyloidosis in Dogs

In-depth Information on Treatment of Amyloidosis in Dogs

Treatment of kidney amyloidosis in dogs is difficult and often unrewarding, especially if kidney failure has already begun to develop. The principles of therapy are as follows:

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Amyloidosis

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.