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Serum cobalamin and methylmalonic acid concentrations in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease

Nora BerghoffGastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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 DrMedVet, PhD
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Nolie K. ParnellDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

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Steve L. HillVeterinary Specialty Hospital, 10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.

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Jan S. SuchodolskiGastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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Jörg M. SteinerGastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of hypocobalaminemia or methylmalonic acidemia (or both) in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease.

Sample—Serum samples from 56 dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and 43 control dogs.

Procedures—Serum cobalamin and methylmalonic acid (MMA) concentrations were measured in all samples and compared between groups. A correlation between serum cobalamin and MMA concentrations and the canine chronic enteropathy clinical activity index was evaluated via the Spearman rank correlation.

Results—20 of 56 (36%) dogs with gastrointestinal disease had hypocobalaminemia. Serum cobalamin concentrations were significantly lower in dogs with gastrointestinal disease than in control dogs. Five of 56 (9%) dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and 5 of 20 (25%) hypocobalaminemic dogs had increased MMA concentrations. There was a significant negative correlation (Spearman r = −0.450) between serum cobalamin and MMA concentrations in dogs with gastrointestinal disease. No correlation was found between the canine chronic enteropathy clinical activity index and serum cobalamin or MMA concentrations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data indicated the prevalence of hypocobalaminemia in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease was 20 of 56 (36%). Five of 20 (25%) hypocobalaminemic dogs had increased serum MMA concentrations, which indicated that although hypocobalaminemia was common in these dogs, it did not always appear to be associated with a deficiency of cobalamin on a cellular level. Hypocobalaminemia is a risk factor for negative outcome in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and should be considered in every patient with corresponding clinical signs.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence of hypocobalaminemia or methylmalonic acidemia (or both) in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease.

Sample—Serum samples from 56 dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and 43 control dogs.

Procedures—Serum cobalamin and methylmalonic acid (MMA) concentrations were measured in all samples and compared between groups. A correlation between serum cobalamin and MMA concentrations and the canine chronic enteropathy clinical activity index was evaluated via the Spearman rank correlation.

Results—20 of 56 (36%) dogs with gastrointestinal disease had hypocobalaminemia. Serum cobalamin concentrations were significantly lower in dogs with gastrointestinal disease than in control dogs. Five of 56 (9%) dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and 5 of 20 (25%) hypocobalaminemic dogs had increased MMA concentrations. There was a significant negative correlation (Spearman r = −0.450) between serum cobalamin and MMA concentrations in dogs with gastrointestinal disease. No correlation was found between the canine chronic enteropathy clinical activity index and serum cobalamin or MMA concentrations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data indicated the prevalence of hypocobalaminemia in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease was 20 of 56 (36%). Five of 20 (25%) hypocobalaminemic dogs had increased serum MMA concentrations, which indicated that although hypocobalaminemia was common in these dogs, it did not always appear to be associated with a deficiency of cobalamin on a cellular level. Hypocobalaminemia is a risk factor for negative outcome in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease and should be considered in every patient with corresponding clinical signs.

Contributor Notes

Presented in part as an abstract at the Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, New Orleans, May–June 2012.

The authors thank Becky L. Bierman for technical assistance and Sarah B. Keyser for assistance with the methylmalonic acid assay.

Address correspondence to Dr. Berghoff (nberghoff@cvm.tamu.edu).