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.

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.

What is a “Novel” Protein, and Why They’re Important


If your dog has never eaten any of these meats, they are considered “novel” proteins.


I want to talk about elimination diets again, and specifically about the concept of “novel” proteins.

Elimination diets are used to determine what foods agree with your dog, and they’re used a lot in dogs that have IBD. These diets are meant to determine what protein sources your dog can safely eat.

Many of our CIL dogs also have IBD. Dogs with IBD are sensitive to certain proteins (meats). It’s similar to an allergy. Just as with allergies, they become sensitive specifically *after* exposure to that protein. So, a dog that’s never had turkey can’t possibly be sensitive to it. That would make it a good option to try if your dog is having problems like this.

A protein source that your dog has never been exposed to is called a “novel” protein.

Sometimes the challenge for us is to find a food that is both low-fat and novel. If you mix up a bunch of different meats and feed them to your dog at once, none of those meats will be novel anymore. Your dog might now be sensitive to all of them.

This is why I’m always saying choose a low-fat protein and feed that, and only that, until you’re sure it isn’t helping. The idea is that you will still have options if your dog becomes sensitive to the food that agreed with him yesterday.

So please don’t feed this and that and the other thing, even if it all seems to agree with your dog. You’re limiting your options down the road when you do that, if you should ever need them.

Please join our new Facebook Community

Blogs and forums do not seem to be preferred ways of providing support these days, so we started a Facebook Group a few months ago, and it’s thriving.  Please join us there.

I’m posting the most important blog entries from this blog over there in the ‘Files’ section.  We’d love to have you aboard.