Why Is My Cat Or Dog’s Blood Albumin Level Low Or High?

Ron Hines DVM PhD

To see what normal blood and urine values are for your pet, go here
For an explanation of causes of most abnormal blood and urine tests go here
To see how tests are often grouped, go here

Albumin (along withglobulin) is one of your dog or cat ‘s total blood proteins (TP). Read about other causes of low TP  here.

Reasons That Your Pet’s Blood Albumin Level Might Be Low (hypoallbuminemia):

Here are some reasons for low blood albumin levels that come to mind – there are many less common reasons:

Food absorption problems such as IBD that limit protein absorption from your dog or cat ‘s diet and similar maldigestion/malabsorption problems can lower the amount of protein available for albumin formation in your pet’s liver.

Chronic Pancreatitis in dogs and cats, when your pet’s ability to produce digestive and absorptive enzymes have been lost (EPI) can also lead to low blood albumin levels.

Triad Disease Of Cats , including cholangiohepatitis, when your pet’s liver, intestinal, pancreatic or gall bladder functions have been compromised

Intestinal Parasites , when intestinal inflammation is severe enough to leak blood proteins and hinder the absorption of replacement protein nutrients in your pet’s diet

When your dog or cat is fed a diet that is too low in protein or when the quality of the protein ingredients that make it up is poor.

Starvation or anything that lessens your pet’s appetite or its willingness to eat will eventually cause its blood albumin levels to drop.

Destructive Liver Disease , when the liver’s role in albumin synthesis (production) is interfered with. Your pet’s liver is the source of the albumin that circulates in its blood.

Portosystemic liver shunts , a situation where absorbed nutrients and toxins bypass your pet’s liver.

Chronic Kidney Disease , Chronic kidney disease (nephrotic syndrome) allows blood albumin to escape (“leak”) from your pet’s blood stream and into its urine , so it is lost from its body.

Generalized Demodectic Mange , when the general health of your pet is affected and its body is placed in a negative nitrogen balance .

Sarcoptic Mange , when inflammation and skin damage allow the loss of serum proteins in the fluids that ooze from the pet’s skin lesions.

Pyoderma , when inflammation and skin damage due to bacteria likestaphylococci allow the loss of serum proteins into the fluids that ooze from the skin wounds (lesions).

Burns , when skin damage allow the loss of serum proteins in the fluids that ooze from the wounds.

Major blood loss , when more albumin protein is lost in the blood that is lost than can be replenished rapidly by your pet’s liver.

Large amounts of emergencyIV fluids , when the volume given is sufficient to dilute the concentration of albumin in your pet’s blood stream.

Acute (sudden) inflammations that cause a negative acute phase response .

Reasons That Your Pet’s Blood Albumin Level Could Be High (hyperalbuminemia):

Over-production of albumin is not known to occur.

But dehydration, prolonged fever or shock can concentrate the ingredients of your pet’s blood, making albumin, globulin and your pet’s blood electrolytes appear high (while the A:G ratio remains normal).

Albumin levels can falsely appear to be high when the sample was improperly drawn, handled or islipemic.

Complementary Tests:

 CBC WBC  and Blood Chemistry panel, Fecal exam for parasites , tritrichomonas (in cats) , total protein, trypsin-like immunoreactivity test (TLI ), B12Folate tests,  fecal alpha-1 test, Diet analysis, ultrasound, liver/ kidney biopsies 


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