Objective: To evaluate intestinal permeability and gluten sensitivity in a family of Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers (SCWT) affected with protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), protein-losing nephropathy (PLN), or both.
Animals: 6 affected adult dogs.
Procedure: Intestinal biopsy specimens, urine protein-to-creatinine ratio, serum concentrations of albumin and globulin, and concentration of alpha1-protease inhibitor in feces were evaluated before, during, and 13 weeks after daily administration of 10 g of gluten for 7 weeks. Eosinophils and lymphocytes-plasmacytes were enumerated in intestinal biopsy specimens. Intestinal permeability was evaluated before and during the sixth week of gluten administration via cellobiose-mannitol and chromium-EDTA absorption tests.
Results: Serum globulin concentration decreased significantly after prolonged administration of gluten. Although not significant, there was an increase in lymphocytes-plasmacytes and a decrease in eosinophils in intestinal biopsy specimens. Furthermore, these counts were greater than those reported for clinically normal dogs. Gluten administration did not increase intestinal permeability.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Daily administration of gluten was associated with a significant decrease in serum globulin concentration in SCWT affected with PLE or PLN, but other variables remained unchanged. Although enhanced wheat-gluten sensitivity may be one factor involved in the pathogenesis of PLE or PLN in SCWT, this syndrome does not appear to be the result of a specific sensitivity to gluten.