PLE: What is it, exactly? And what is PLN?

PLE or PLN?  What are these labels?  PLE = Protein Losing Enteropathy and PLN = Protein Losing Nephropathy.

What does that mean, and do we need to worry about both of them?

There’s a lot of confusion around these terms, and additional confusion arises due to the fact that there are other protein losing diseases, as well. I want to try to clear up some of that confusion.

First, let’s talk about PLE. What does that mean? Well, “enteropathy” means “disease of the intestine.” So, “protein-losing enteropathy” would refer to a disease of the intestine that causes protein loss. Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia is one of these diseases.

An important point is that CIL is just one of many forms of PLE, and treatments for these diseases vary depending on the form.

You can think of it the way you think of the word “cancer.” Cancer is a broad term, covering many kinds of disease. PLE is also a broad term that covers many kinds of disease. With cancer, we narrow down the term to enhance the meaning, usually by adding a location: brain cancer, or lung cancer, or skin cancer. They are all cancers, but they are not treated in the same way. You don’t shoot radiation at the brain to cure lung cancer.

PLE is a similar term. There are many things that can lead to a loss of protein through the intestine, and they are all treated in different ways. CIL is one form of PLE and it has very specific treatments that don’t apply to other forms.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I want to mention PLN. That stands for “protein-losing nephropathy.” Nephropathy is defined as a disease of the kidney, so PLN is a disease in which protein loss occurs due to kidney dysfunction. It is not the same disease that our dogs have, it is not related in any way, and is not treated in the same way. There are dogs here who have both, but If your dog has PLN and not CIL, you’re in the wrong group. You’re welcome to be here, as there are common issues with protein loss, but we won’t be much help in terms of helping you find the proper treatment for PLN.

There’s a Facebook group for PLN in dogs, but I have no idea if it’s a quality group. Those who have PLN dogs might want to check it out, though. https://www.facebook.com/groups/473665082680477/

Louie’s mom is now retired from her previous work at the University of California, Davis.  She works part-time as a pet sitter, caring for others’ pets in their absence, and functions as the admin of the Canine Lymphangiectasia Educational Support Group on Facebook.  Donations through PayPal help her find the time to continue to provide information and research to others struggling with CIL.  If you find this information helpful, please consider a small donation.  Thank you.

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