Conditions or ailments that are the cause of a problem that you see - your observation.

Your vet may diagnose

Protein-Losing Intestinal Diseases, Generally

Synonyms: Hypoproteinemia


There is a group of poorly understood inflammatory conditions of the intestine that cause chronic weight loss and ill-thrift.

Names for these conditions include granulomatous enteritis, eosinophilic enteritis and basophilic enteritis. These are all names for inflammatory cell types that infiltrate and thicken the walls of the intestine in these syndromes.

These conditions are difficult to diagnose without biopsy of the intestine. Although poorly understood, they may be associated with parasitism or allergy. There may even be an infectious agent we have yet to identify.

Regardless, they all cause weight loss through nutrient loss through a damaged intestinal lining. Protein loss may result in very low levels of albumin, a protein that holds the liquid constituent of blood in the vessels. The net result of this is edema of the limbs and belly, as well as the sheath in geldings.

Related References:

Higgins AJ, Snyder JR eds. The Equine Manual. 2nd Ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier Saunders 2006.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP