Protein losing enteropathy can be described as any disease or condition that causes lose of protein in feces. A variety of conditions can cause protein lose from the body. An enteropathy is any abnormal condition relating to the intestines. Thus, protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) refers to any condition of the gastrointestinal tract that results in a net loss of protein from the body.
Nutrients make their way through the body by blood stream. The eaten food is transferred to intestines from stomach. In the intestines, the food is divided into what is nutrient and what is not. The useful nutrients are picked up by blood stream and carried to different parts of the body.
A small amount of protein is leakded from blood vessels back into the intestines. Usually these proteins are digested in the intestines, absorbed back into the blood, and used by the body to make more protein, but when the intestines are damaged, more protein leaks out into the intestines than the body can replace.
Dogs suffering from protein-losing enteropathy may show intermittent or chronic diarrhea, weight loss, lack of energy, breathing difficulty, enlarged abdomen and swollen legs or feet (edema).