• Open Access

Comparison of Signalment, Clinicopathologic Findings, Histologic Diagnosis, and Prognosis in Dogs with Glomerular Disease with or without Nephrotic Syndrome


  • Diagnostic evaluation of dogs was performed at the various coauthors' institutions; analysis of data and manuscript preparation was performed at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Preliminary results of this study were presented as a research abstract at the 28th annual ACVIM Forum, Anaheim, CA, 2010.

Corresponding author: Barrak M. Pressler, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907; e-mail: barrak@purdue.edu.


Background: Nephrotic syndrome (NS) develops most commonly in people with glomerular diseases associated with marked albuminuria. Hypernatremia, hypertension, and progressive renal failure are more prevalent in nephrotic than nonnephrotic human patients.

Hypothesis/Objectives: Dogs with NS have higher serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and sodium concentrations, higher urine protein:creatinine ratios (UPC) and systolic blood pressure, and lower serum albumin concentrations than dogs with nonnephrotic glomerular disease (NNGD). NS is associated with membranous glomerulopathy and amyloidosis. Affected dogs are more likely to be azotemic and have shorter survival times.

Animals: Two hundred and thirty-four pet dogs (78 NS dogs, 156 NNGD dogs).

Methods: Multicenter retrospective case-control study comparing time-matched NS and NNGD dogs. NS was defined as the concurrent presence of hypoalbuminemia, hypercholesterolemia, proteinuria, and extravascular fluid accumulation. Signalment, clinicopathologic variables, histopathologic diagnoses, and survival time were compared between groups.

Results: Age, serum albumin, chloride, calcium, phosphate, creatinine, and cholesterol concentrations, and UPC differed significantly between NS and NNGD dogs. Both groups were equally likely to be azotemic at time of diagnosis, and NS was not associated with histologic diagnosis. Median survival was significantly shorter for NS (12.5 days) versus NNGD dogs (104.5 days). When subgrouped based on serum creatinine (< or ≥1.5 mg/dL), survival of NS versus NNGD dogs was only significantly different in nonazotemic dogs (51 versus 605 days, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Presence of NS is associated with poorer prognosis in dogs with nonazotemic glomerular disease. Preventing development of NS is warranted; however, specific interventions were not evaluated in this study.