ISSN 2398-2950      



Synonym(s): Hypoalbuminemia


  • A presenting sign of lower than normal serum protein levels.
  • Cause: secondary to another primary disease process causing protein loss or decreased protein synthesis/availability:
    • Protein-losing enteropathy Protein-losing enteropathy.
    • Protein-losing nephropathy.
    • Impaired protein synthesis/absorption.
    • Protein deficiency/loss.
  • Signs: signs of primary disease process until chronic when generalized peripheral edema, pleural/abdominal effusion, weight loss, muscle wasting, cachexia.
  • Treatment: same as primary disease process.
  • Prognosis: same as primary disease process.



  • Same as primary disease process.


  • Primary disease process causes increased loss, reduced uptake or decreased availability of protein  →  reduced serum protein levels.
  • Decreased plasma protein  →  hypoalbuminemia  →  decreased plasma osmotic pressure  →  fluid transudation from capillaries  →  generalized peripheral edema and pleural/abdominal effusions  Effusion: overview →  pleural effusion/ascites  →  clinical signs.


  • Chronic condition before signs seen.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Moore L E (1998) Fluid therapy in the hypoproteinemic patient. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 28 (3), 709-715 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Ettinger S J, Feldman E C, Cote E (eds) (2017) Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 8th edn. St Louis: Elsevier.
  • Stockham S L, Scott M A (2002) Fundamentals of Veterinary Clinical Pathology. Iowa: Iowa State Press.

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