- Health Library
- PetMD U
Gluten-sensitive enteropathy is a rare inherited disease in which the affected dog develops a sensitivity from eating gluten found in wheat and other grains. Only reported in the Irish setter breed in the United Kingdom, the disease causes diarrhea and weight loss.
The mode in which Irish setters inherit this intestinal disease is unknown, but clinical signs are exacerbated by dietary gluten found in wheat and other grains.
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and electrolyte panel. Serum folate concentrations are often found to be abnormally low, a good indicator of chronic malabsorption of food. Your veterinarian can also confirm the diagnosis by taking a small intestinal (jejunal) biopsy via endoscopy (whereby a small instrument is guided through the mouth into the intestines) or laparotomy (abdominal surgery).
Biopsy specimens from affected dogs reared on a gluten diet will reveal an accumulation of intraepithelial lymphocytes (a sign of an immune reaction to gluten) and partial villus atrophy (abnormally shaped finger-like projections found in the intestine that are responsible for absorbing food).
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
The impairment of nutrient intake into the intestines
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
The wasting away of certain tissues; a medical condition that occurs when tissues fail to grow.