Wheaten Terriers and Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLN)

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Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 12:54pm PST 

I'm new here and I am also new to owning a wheaten terrier. I have a beautiful 6 month old wheaten puppy I absolutely love. I recently did reading and I scared myself learning about Protein-Losing Enteropathy. I hear it is somewhat common in wheatens. It terrified me. I am planning on talking to my vet about it at his next checkup and getting any/all screenings done for it as I have a tremendous concern over it. Can anyone who knows about it tell me some info about it? Early symptoms? Prognosis on it? And also, if there are any preventative things you can do for it?

Information much appreciated. I looked online but everything is a two paragraph run down of symptoms that sound just like every other thing out there. Some first hand knowledge or experience would be helpful.

Also, is it possible to diagnose his disposition to it in a 6 month old puppy?

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Barked: Thu Jan 17, '13 6:03pm PST 
My Yorkiepoo Rocky was diagnosed with PLE. The best thing I can tell you is this,get blood work done right away. You need to know your dogs base line levels as early as possible. We used a holistic vet and a change of diet. What I have learned is that dogs, many breeds have very sensitive digestive systems and with the right diet you can change your dogs life.

I do have an 18 month old Wheaton and we have allergy problems and hair falling out, any suggestions?

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Barked: Sat Mar 23, '13 12:38am PST 
Hello, I have an adopted 7 year old Wheaten whom I have had 6 months now. From the moment I received her, I soon found out she had zero to no health records due to having never ever seen a vet for the most basic of things including vaccinations and being spade. She received this at age 7 right before I adopted her, poor thing. In time, she began to have reverse wheezing and bouts of severe nausea, diarrhea and constipation. I went from vet to vet and finally decided to see a specialist first in dermatology where a series of antibiotics and changing her diet to one of the rarer proteins of rabbit and pheasant worked well versus the chicken she was having severe reactions to. Food is key here. We then went into blood and stool tests. All negative. She had many bumps on her skin...all due to allergies..we differentiated the flea allergies from the allergies due to environmental and food. This took weeks and I had the house de-flea'd...she was on a strict diet of elimination of various proteins and deciding on the proteins her system did best on...less snoring, coughing, scratching and reverse sneezing on. Many of the bumps were analyzed with tissue cultures and they were not cancer bumps or life threatening. Some of them disappeared from the anti-biotics which really helped her bumpy , dry and panoramic scaly skin condition..she was a new dog with her coat, energy, new skin without bumps and lumps. But there still were other issues that now had to be addressed...her GastroIntestinal System as wheatens are known for PLN and she did have a slight rise in it in her initial bloodwork that my usual doc did not consider important enough to follow up on. I went from the dermatologist (who is absolutely brilliant in diagnosis) to her pal, the GI specialist.

Here she performed the next series of tests including a urinalysis, urine tissue culture to rule out a UTI (negative in her case) and then lastly a urine protein/creatinine ratio which showed a definite loss of protein (albumin) in her urine, meaning her kidneys were not functioning properly. She also was losing weight, from 32 to 29 pounds in a matter of 3 weeks, again a sign I rarely noticed..she was likely puffy and her hair and energy level of high strung was covering it up. The doctor said that she would likely need to be on a medicine to control kidney function, kidney clearing function that is..called an ACE Inhibitor. Now tomorrow she goes in to get her blood pressure taken. If it turns out her blood pressure is high, she will likely also get a blood pressure medication.
To think of all the money I spent on a holistic vet who was more like a religious zealot and anti anything medical really makes me mad. He was a total pariah to his own veterinary field and his contribution to her diagnosis was unscientifically deciding she was allergic to everything I knew she was allergic to and then deeming his methods balanced her energy and she now was fine to eat the most offending substances of all..beef, turkey and chicken..all of which proved seriously practically deadly with her breathing and gutteral reactions, sending her to the ER immediately.
I will say that it is critical to go to vets who really take the time for differential diagnosis and I would not worry about something now that may not even be in the cards for your puppy. As it turned out, the vet said this was a genetic predisposition and this breed of terrier is subject more than others to this. Having this diagnosis put all the pieces together about her allergies, skin, breathing and GI issues. Being on a low protein diet along with the ACE Inhibitor and possible blood pressure med is what appears to be in the cards for us. As much as I want to go holistic, my doggy is sick and needs some serious real medical attention now. Having the specific screening tests and the intelligence of the specialists behind the diagnosis has put me more at ease. I know my baby girl was destined to be in my life and I was destined to be on her path to getting well. I hope she can live out as normal a doggy life as possible with the help of the meds and food which will lighten the load and work on the kidneys. I hope my story helps you and others. I really think VCA hospitals are a large part of why I am so informed. The 4 other vets I had seen just did not do the workup I knew was necessary. I am a doctor myself in the human world and knew that all these other docs were playing it safe, playing it really lazy and not getting far enough into the minutae of details to figure out the why behind the symptoms. I knew enough to proceed and push on despite not being satisfied with these medicre vets. I will say that all of this costs a serious amount of money, $3000 so far with vet bills. It is not going to be a realistic fate for those owners that plain and simple will not or cannot afford the testing and the change in diet to specialized foods that are more money. However, the cost of procedures and possible surgery and loss of quality of life down the road is what can be expected...I would rather pay the financial price now and have my dog be on the road to health now versus waiting due to funds and having her suffer only to likely die later on because a serious illness was ignored. There is help for vet bills by the way. Just google Financial Help for Vet Bills and there are some great philanthropic organizations that actually will pay for steep surgeries, radiography studies like 1500 colonoscopies and cat scans, x-rays, etc, ultrasounds....just take some time and research it and I promise there is always a way. God Bless and feel free to write me if you need any more info. I would put it out of your mind now since it is not an issue. Just make sure to have regular visits with your vet, start your doggie off on good healthy food with a good protein balance and if you cannot locate the food, treats or items you need locally, there are always wonderful holistic online stores. My dog is now solely with Primal foods and Evangers which I think is one of the best pet brands out there. Primal is for the treats that are protein sourced and for the raw excellent pheasant she eats. Evangers is for the Vegetarian and Rabbit and Pheasant she eats that is canned as it is hard economically to feed her raw for all her meals. Currently she is not on any kibble, I could not locate any her finite appetite or tastebuds allowed. I forgot to add that she is very very finicky and has a very odd appetite..can go for days without eating at all....she was actually on an apetite stimulant and then taken off as that screws up her feedback (no pun intended!) mechanisms and I did not want her reliant on that instead of her own endocrinology telling her when she was hungry and when to eat. She drinks plenty of water and gets exercise daily..lots of love and sunshine and many kisses and hugs.