Assessment of Amino Acids and Inflammation in Dogs with Protein-Losing Nephropathy


The purpose of this study is to determine how amino acid status and markers of inflammation are affected in dogs with PLN. We will evaluate plasma amino acid concentrations and markers of inflammation [C-reactive protein (CRP); tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF- α); interleukin-6 (IL-6)] in order to then develop novel medical and dietary therapeutic strategies for dogs with PLN.


Protein-losing nephropathy (PLN) is a common disease in dogs and can be difficult to treat. Although nutritional therapy is one of the main components of managing this disease, optimizing nutrition is extremely challenging. Dietary protein restriction is recommended to reduce proteinuria. However, at the same time, these dogs have accelerated loss of lean body mass and also may have alterations in amino acids. Additionally, inflammation has been shown to be inversely correlated with amino acid status in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). All of these factors can contribute to loss of lean body mass and subsequent harmful effects on strength, immune function, morbidity and mortality.  An optimal nutritional approach would reduce dietary protein enough to decrease proteinuria without contributing to lean body mass loss. Our hypothesis is that dog with PLN will have altered amino acid profiles and that this will be correlated with increased inflammation as compared to healthy control dogs.
The ultimate goal of this study is to determine if we can better optimize nutritional management of PLN in dogs. In people with PLN, feeding low protein diets with concurrent supplementation of keto acids or essential amino acids can improve whole body protein status but minimize nitrogen load. It can also improve hypoalbuminemia and reduce proteinuria. Amino acid supplementation may have some anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit dogs with PLN. If we can identify consistent amino acid imbalances in dogs with PLN, we may be able to tailor nutritional management to improve overall survival and outcome.

Inclusion Criteria:

To qualify for enrollment in this study, dogs must have:

• Dog must have a clinical diagnosis and clinical parameters consistent with PLN +/- mild chronic kidney disease (CKD) – creatinine < 2.0 mg/dl.
• Dog must be at least one year of age.
• Dog must not be diagnosed with any other disease known to affect urinary protein loss (eg, urinary tract infection, hyperadrenocorticism) or amino acid status (eg, protein-losing enteropathy).

Study Design:

Your dog will have blood and urine collected to evaluate a complete amino acid profile and a few markers of inflammation. Your dog will only need to have blood and urine collected at one time and the total amount of blood collected is considered very safe for dogs.

Client Compensation:

• The study will cover the costs of a, CBC, chemistry profile, urinalysis, urine culture, urine protein:creatinine (UPC) ratio and blood pressure. Blood will be collected for future evaluation of amino acids and inflammatory markers.

Client Cost:

• Owners are responsible for all other costs.

Client Contact:

Dr. Valerie J. Parker
Phone: (614) 292-3551; Email: Parker [dot] 888 [at] osu [dot] edu