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Keywords:

  • Canine;
  • Formal consensus;
  • Immunosuppression;
  • Kidney biopsy;
  • Proteinuria

The purpose of this report was to provide consensus recommendations for the use of immunosuppressive therapy in dogs with active glomerular diseases. Recommendations were developed based on comprehensive review of relevant literature on immunosuppressive therapy of glomerular disease in dogs and humans, contemporary expert opinion, and anecdotal experience in dogs with glomerular disease treated with immunosuppression. Recommendations were subsequently validated by a formal consensus methodology. The Study Group recommends empirical application of immunosuppressive therapy for dogs with severe, persistent, or progressive glomerular disease in which there is evidence of an active immune-mediated pathogenesis on kidney biopsy and no identified contraindication to immunosuppressive therapy. The most compelling evidence supporting active immune-mediated mechanisms includes electron-dense deposits identified with transmission electron microscopic examination and unequivocal immunofluorescent staining in the glomeruli. For diseases associated with profound proteinuria, attendant hypoalbuminemia, nephrotic syndrome, or rapidly progressive azotemia, single drug or combination therapy consisting of rapidly acting immunosuppressive drugs is recommended. The Study Group recommends mycophenolate alone or in combination with prednisolone. To minimize the adverse effects, glucocorticoids should not be used as a sole treatment, and when used concurrently with mycophenolate, glucocorticoids should be tapered as quickly as possible. For stable or slowly progressive glomerular diseases, the Study Group recommends mycophenolate or chlorambucil alone or in combination with azathioprine on alternating days. Therapeutic effectiveness should be assessed serially by changes in proteinuria, renal function, and serum albumin concentration. In the absence of overt adverse effects, at least 8 weeks of the rapidly acting nonsteroidal drug therapy and 8–12 weeks of slowly acting drug therapy should be provided before altering or abandoning an immunosuppressive trial.