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What does it mean when there's protein in dog's urine without normal blood work and no infection?

Posted by pinkcupcakez

About a year ago, my dog's urine test came back with protein in urine.  She was treated with antibiotics since UTI was suspected.  Since then, she has on/off UTI, crystals in urine, had blood work and ultrasound done.  Blood work and ultrasound of kidney and adrenal gland show noting abnomal except that her 'T4' was a little high on lab report.  As of this week, she doesn't have any crystals in urine, confirmed with culture that she does not have UTI but still has protein in urine.  No one was able to explain to me what's going on and vet wants to put her in all kinds of meds to 'try' and see if it'll work, including anapril.  (Vet thinks she has high blood pressure but she was going bonkers when they were trying to take the reading so I'm not sure how accurate that is) I am hesitant to just try any meds without knowing what might be wrong.  She's only 6lbs and 5 years old.  Help!

Answers (3)
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This is a very complex case and I can't even begin to tell you anything certain. One thing that elevated T4 makes me consider--and this would need to be confirmed by a complete thyroid panel sent to a lab that does breed-specific analysis--is that her problems might be stress-related. Stress hormones can affect the entire body and sometimes its expression via behavioral problems appears to protect the animal's physiology to some extent because those behaviors provide a way for the animal to dissipate the stress. However, as time goes on, eventually it takes its toll on the animal's body and the thyroid gland it one of the glands that may take a hit.

Increased bladder activity followed by shut-down is part of the wild animal stress response and, although I have no scientific proof of this, it seems logical that this could be problematic if the dog was stressed multiple times daily as well as house-trained. Such stresses could include excited responses to passers-by, letter carriers, delivery persons, visitors, and/or anything the dog may consider a violation to his/her territory. I have also seen urinary problems in stressed dogs, both males and females, who urinated frequently to mark their territories. 

Because 2-4 is often considered prime in terms of a dog's ability to handle such stresses, in my experience it's not uncommon for stress-related medical and/or behavioral problems to show up or worsen as they move past this age. 

For sure, I think you it would be worthwhile to look at the whole physical and behavioral picture here, and not just the protein in the urine.

Dear Dr. Myrna M.

I appreciated reading your response to this question as I have a similar situation.  I recently adopted a female mini-dacshund from a rescue group.  She came out of a kill shelter in West Virginia.   She seemed to be incontinent so I called the rescue to ask that they check her out and they wanted a urine sample.  It came back high protein and I was told to feed her more grains like pasta and rice.  For some reason I found this a bit strange and that's why I decided to check for myself online about why a dog would have such a diagnosis.  She seems better lately at controlling her urine.  The idea that stress was involved makes sense as she is in a new home with in fact a cat and another dog, which now she seems to have adjusted to.  In fact, the better she adjusted to her new home, the less of a problem she displayed with her inability to hold her urine.  

Without a diagnosis of infection I didn't want to give her the antibiotics she was prescribed as I don't like to give them without a clear indication of infection, and I think she has gotten better over the past couple of days on her own.  

 We, my husband and I are giving her unconditional love and she seems to be making a very nice adjustment here to us and her other pet co-inhabitants.  

I would appreciate it if you would suggest any special diet.  I know she has had at least 1 litter.  She is not at all overweight and alert and happy.

 Thank you for being there for us animal lovers.

I also love caring vets!


Did they do a urine culture and see if any bacteria grew?  Any crystals in urine?  I found that diet has little to do with the issue.  however, if she is drinking a LOT of water, then they may want to check kidneys.  It is something that my vet asked to keep an eye on since drinking a lot of water maybe symptoms of kidney issues when body is not hydrating.


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