Fecal alpha1-proteinase inhibitor concentration in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease.
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BACKGROUND: Fecal alpha(1)-proteinase inhibitor (alpha(1)-PI) clearance is a reliable, noninvasive marker for protein-losing enteropathy in human beings. An assay for use in dogs has been developed and validated. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate fecal alpha(1)-PI concentration in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease, compared with healthy dogs, and to assess its correlation with serum albumin concentration. METHODS: Fecal samples were collected from 2 groups of dogs. Group 1 consisted of 21 clinically healthy client-owned dogs without signs of gastrointestinal disease. Group 2 consisted of 16 dogs referred for investigation of suspected gastrointestinal disease. On the basis of gastric and duodenal biopsies, group 2 was further subdivided into dogs with normal histology (n = 9) and those with histologic abnormalities (n = 7: inflammatory bowel disease, n = 3; lymphangiectasia, n = 4). An ELISA was used to measure alpha(1)-PI concentrations in fecal extracts. RESULTS: Fecal alpha(1)-PI concentrations, expressed as micro g/g of feces, were not significantly different between groups 1 and 2 as a whole. However, fecal alpha(1)-PI concentrations (median, minimum-maximum) were significantly higher in dogs with gastrointestinal diseases associated with histologic abnormalities (60.6 micro g/g, 7.4-201.7 micro g/g) compared with dogs with normal histology (3.8 micro g/g, 0.7-74.0 micro g/g) and control dogs (9.9 micro g/g, 0.0-32.1 micro g/g). There was no significant correlation between fecal alpha(1)-PI and serum albumin concentrations in dogs with gastrointestinal disease. CONCLUSIONS: Increased fecal alpha(1)-PI concentration may signal the need to obtain gastrointestinal biopsies for a final diagnosis. Fecal alpha(1)-PI concentration may be a useful test for early detection of protein-losing enteropathy before decreases in serum albumin concentration can be detected.