What is Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters)?
Carbohydrates contain protein, in specific portions of these proteins are called gluten. Gluten is an ingredient in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Other sources of carbohydrates do not contain gluten, such as potatoes, rice, and oats. A disease of the small intestine or intestine is known as enteropathy, and with the Irish setter breed the development of enteropathy is caused by ingesting gluten. This is an inherited disease which is rare, and is characterized by sensitivity from ingesting gluten. This condition is the result of gluten, during digestion, being toxic to the cells of the mucous membrane layer of the stomach, or the mucosal cells. This toxicity causes an immune response by way of a malabsorption of vital nutrients, such as calcium and iron.
Gluten-sensitive enteropathy in Irish Setters is a condition where the Irish Setter has a significant allergy to gluten. This disorder, if left untreated, leads to digestive distress and other symptoms.
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Symptoms of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters) in Dogs
Gluten-sensitive enteropathy in Irish Setters has a few obvious symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Abnormal coat
- Failure to thrive in puppies
- Weight loss
Any dog that has gluten sensitivity must be given foods that do not contain gluten. Foods that contain gluten will cause the dog to exhibit symptoms of illness. The grains that contain gluten include:
Causes of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters) in Dogs
Gluten-sensitive enteropathy in Irish Setters is an inherited disorder that is caused by the ingestion of dietary gluten. As the ingestion process takes place, toxic-like action works against the cells damaging the stomach and causing symptoms like poor fur coat and diarrhea.
Diagnosis of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters) in Dogs
Once you notice symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian. The veterinarian will ask questions and review the dog’s file to get an understanding of his health history. The medical professional will perform a complete physical examination, including blood work, urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and an electrolyte panel. The veterinarian will be looking for the amount of serum folate; if the concentrations are at low levels, there is a possibility of malabsorption of nutrients.
A biopsy will be taken of the small intestines, possibly using an endoscope or via laparotomy to get a sample of the tissue. If the tissue from the small intestines has a buildup of lymphocytes within the epithelial layer of the mucosal lining, this shows a negative immune reaction towards gluten. The biopsy may also show partial villus atrophy, which is another indicator that food and nutrients are not being absorbed properly. The biopsy of the small intestine tissue is the main indicator of this disorder.
Treatment of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters) in Dogs
The prognosis of gluten-sensitive enteropathy is good. If your Irish Setter has been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, the treatment is to only feed your dog a gluten-free diet. Cereal products must not be given to the dog or he will continue to have symptoms. Foods that are rice-based are ideal, as well as canned meat. It is important to read the ingredients of the dog food, because some dog foods only contain a very small amount of gluten. Even the smallest amount of gluten ingested by your companion can cause him to become ill again.
Recovery of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Irish Setters) in Dogs
It may take some time on the gluten-free diet for the dog to show an improvement. Visits to the veterinarian may be necessary as she may want to re-check your pet's weight or verify specific blood markers relevant to gluten sensitivity in order to assure that all measures in place are effective. Once your loved one is on a gluten-free diet for a few weeks to a month (every dog is different in terms of recovery time), he will live a normal, healthy lifestyle.