Health Screening for Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE), Protein‑Losing Nephropathy (PLN), Renal Dysplasia (RD), and Addison's Disease
Recommended by SCWTCA and its Researchers

The SCWTCA Health Committee recommends that you annually health screen your Wheaten throughout their lifetime. If any laboratory abnormalities associated with PLE/PLN, RD and/or Addison's Disease are found, we strongly suggest that you carefully monitor your Wheaten.

PLE / PLN

  • Clinical Signs of PLE
    PLE is usually caused by inflammatory bowel disease or lymphangitis/lymphangiectasia. In affected Wheatens there is a stimulation of the immune system in the bowel wall. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss
    • Ascites, edema, pleural effusion
  • Laboratory abnormalities associated with PLE
    Note that not all of the laboratory abnormalities are seen in every case. The most important lab changes are indicated with an asterisk*
    • Hypoalbuminemia*
    • Hypoglobulinemia*
    • Eosinophilia
    • Hypocholesterolemia
    • Lymphopenia
  • Clinical Signs of PLN
    PLN is difficult to diagnose. The initial stages of the disease may be mistaken for liver, glandular or other enteric or kidney diseases. Wheatens with PLN may have serious thromboembolic events before renal failure starts, even before there is increased serum creatinine or BUN. An abnormality of the glomeruli usually causes PLN. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
    • Listlessness/depression
    • Decreased appetite, vomiting, weight loss
    • Ascites, edema, pleural effusion
    • Increased water consumption, increased urination (less common)
    • Thromboembolic phenomena & hypertension (less common)
  • Laboratory abnormalities associated with PLN
    Note that not all of the laboratory abnormalities are seen in every case. The most important lab changes are indicated with an asterisk*
    • Hypoalbuminemia*
    • Elevated serum creatinine, BUN
    • Hypercholesterolemia
    • Elevated urine protein/creatinine ratio*
  • Screening Tests for PLE/PLN
    • Biochemical profile
      (include total protein, albumin, creatinine, BUN, cholesterol, Na/sodium, K/potassium & phosphorus, etc.)
    • Complete blood count
    • Routine urinalysis (specific gravity, dipstick, urinary sediment)
    • Urine protein/creatinine ratio
    • PLE — Fecal API
    • PLN — MA (Microalbuminuria)

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Renal Dysplasia (RD)

  • Clinical Signs of RD
    Renal Dysplasia (RD) is the abnormal development of the kidney. This malformation can result in early renal failure. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (SCWT) is a breed with a known inherited (genetic) basis for RD. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
    • Increased water consumption
    • Increased urination (dilute urine)
    • Poor doer, decreased appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Possibly prone to urinary tract infection
  • Laboratory abnormalities associated with RD
    • Low urine specific gravity
    • Elevated creatinine, BUN
    • Small kidneys
    • Small, hyperechoic kidneys with cysts seen via abdominal ultrasound
  • Screening Tests for RD
    • Biochemical profile
      (include total protein, albumin, creatinine, BUN, cholesterol, Na/sodium, K/potassium & phosphorus, etc.)
    • Complete blood count
    • Routine urinalysis (specific gravity, dipstick, urinary sediment)
    • Abdominal radiographs / Ultrasound
    • Kidney biopsy — wedge, not Tru-cut
      *Contact Dr. Littman to discuss size

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Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism)

  • Clinical Signs of Addison's
    Addison's disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) is the insufficient production and secretion of hormones (glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids) by the adrenal gland cortex. The clinical signs are often nonspecific and can mimic those of multiple other medical disorders. Some of the common signs and symptoms are:
    • Listlessness/depression
    • Decreased appetite, vomiting, weight loss
    • Inability to handle stress
    • Sudden collapse
    • Slow heart rate
  • Laboratory abnormalities associated with Addison's
    • Decrease in Na/K ratio (Sodium/potassium ratio)
    • Abnormal ACTH stimulation test
    • Elevated serum creatinine, BUN
  • Screening Tests for Addison's
    • Biochemical profile
      (include total protein, albumin, creatinine, BUN, cholesterol, Na/sodium, K/potassium & phosphorus, etc.)
    • Complete blood count
    • Routine urinalysis (specific gravity, dipstick, urinary sediment)
    • ACTH stimulation test

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NOTE:
Because of state veterinary medicine licensure regulations, Dr. Littman and Dr. Vaden can no longer consult with individual owners who are not patients of their institutions. Any contact with them should be solely through your veterinarian on a professional consultation basis; additionally, your veterinarian can consult with a local member of the ACVIM.
Dr. Meryl P. Littman
Professor of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine
3900 Delancey Street
Philadelphia PA 19104-6010
(215) 898-9288
(215) 573-6050 fax (include cover sheet)
Dr. Shelly Vaden
Professor, Internal Medicine
North Carolina State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
4700 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh NC 27606
(919) 513-6235
(919) 513-6336 fax (include cover sheet)

Updated April 2002


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