Details about the disease

Persistent high levels of protein in the urine of a young dog most often proves to be due to FN. Dogs affected with FN have a genetic defect within the glomerulus, a structure that filters blood flowing through the kidney. This defective glomerulus lacks a certain type of collagen (main protein in connective tissue) that helps to hold the filter structure together. Once the glomerulus begins to lose its ability to work properly, blood proteins leak through into the urine. The glomerular abnormality also leads to further kidney damage, which eventually destroys the entire nephron (tiny structures that make up the kidney and cannot be replaced once damaged or destroyed). The renal disease caused by FN invariably is progressive and ultimately fatal; however, the rate of disease progression observed in affected dogs is more rapid in some individuals than in others.

Clinical signs

Dogs with FN typically develop chronic renal failure between 6 months and 2 years of age, with eventual and sometimes rapid destruction of both kidneys. The early clinical signs are the same as those associated with chronic renal failure due to any other cause. These include excessive water consumption, excessive urine volume, reduced growth rate or weight loss, poor quality hair coat, reduced appetite, and vomiting.

How it is inherited

The disease is described as an autosomal recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

Can you test for PRA?

Yes, DNA test through Optigen