Proteinuria in Cats
While in some cases abnormally high protein levels in the urine can be attributed to the diet and easily modified, other cases are represented by a more serious underlying medical condition. Proteinuria is one of those cases and is detected through a urine test.
Proteinuria can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this disease affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
Other than the abnormally high protein levels in the urine, there are often no symptoms associated with proteinuria. In some cases, however, blood may be present in the cat's urine.
There are a number of risk factors to having a high level of protein in the urine, including:
- Chronic infection
- Inflammation of the kidneys
- Scar tissue in the kidneys
- Blood or pus in the urine (hemouria and pyuria, respectively)
Strenuous exercise can sometimes cause additional protein to be present in the urine.
The most common test that will be administered is a urine dip test strip, which reviews its content and makeup. If glomerular disease (a condition where the kidneys cannot process waste) is suspected, a kidney biopsy may be recommended.
The veterinarian will look to identify the underlying cause for the abnormal protein level to be present in the cat's urine. If it the condition is believed to be a sign of something more serious, X-rays and ultrasounds may be used to determine the cause.
Proteinuria is most commonly treated on an outpatient basis. If a disease that affects the kidney's ability to process waste (e.g., glomerular disease) is found, a dietary change may be recommended. Conversely, if the cat's kidney is inflamed or there is a high risk for infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Living and Management
If the problem is determined to be glomerular disease, modifications in the diet have been proven to be extremely effective. The cat's diet will be reduced in its levels of protein and sodium, and enhanced with omega-3 fatty acids.
The cat should be monitored on an ongoing basis as there are rare, but serious complications that can occur such as edema, blood clots, high blood pressure, and progressive kidney disease.
All cats should have their urine tested when they visit the veterinarian to determine its composition and to identify any abnormalities. If abnormal levels of protein are found in the urine, the cat should be carefully monitored.
Image: Mr. Nikon via Shutterstock