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Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) signs result in high rates of morbidity in dogs, with mortality ranging from less than 20 per cent to greater than 50 per cent,1-4 depending on the disease process. After excluding aetiologies such as extra-GI disease, GI parasites, infiltrative fungal disease and neoplasia, the majority of dogs fall under the umbrella diagnosis of ‘chronic enteropathy’ (CE).
Although the pathogenesis of CE is currently unknown, it is likely to be multifactorial – including the interaction of the enteric immune system with normal or pathogenic GI microbiota, by-products of GI microbiota metabolism or dietary antigens, as well as genetic factors.
GI biopsies are required to confirm the presence of inflammation and reach a diagnosis of CE. However, the type of inflammation visualised on biopsy samples does not predict response to treatment,1 and obtaining GI biopsies may be cost-prohibitive for some owners. Therefore, data are needed to guide empirical treatments for individual dogs.
Within the spectrum of CE, dogs are often classified, based on response to treatment, as having food-responsive enteropathy (FRE), antibiotic-responsive enteropathy or steroid-responsive enteropathy. A significant proportion of dogs with CE are food-responsive, with reported response rates to dietary therapy of between 60 and 88 per …
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