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Gluten exposure and multisystem disease in dogs
  1. Mike Davies, BVetMed, CertVR, CertSAO, FRCVS
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK; e-mail:

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ESTABLISHING a direct cause and effect relationship between the intake of a dietary component and a disease is challenging, not least because foods are complex mixtures of nutrients and other components which may interact with each other, and observed effects following intake are difficult to attribute to just one component. Switching a dog from one pet food brand to another usually involves a variety of changes in nutrient intake, so improvements in clinical signs can rarely be attributed to a single nutrient change, and the presence of antibodies in blood confirms exposure to a food antigen but not a role for that dietary component in the aetiopathogenesis of a disease.

Coeliac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is common in people, resulting in chronic gastrointestinal changes including intestinal inflammation involving T lymphocytes and subsequent malabsorption. It is considered to be an autoimmune disorder, not an allergy or intolerance to gluten, and damage to the small intestine villi occurs as a result of the immune system's response in producing antibodies against gliadin, which is found in gluten, a protein …

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