Objective—To determine prevalence of histologic abnormalities in cats suspected, on the basis of compatible clinical signs and ultrasonographic findings, to have chronic small bowel disease; identify the most common underlying causes in affected cats; and compare methods for differentiating among the various causes of chronic small bowel disease.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—300 client-owned domestic cats suspected to have chronic small bowel disease.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed to identify cats evaluated because of chronic vomiting, chronic small bowel diarrhea, or weight loss that also had ultrasonographic evidence of thickening of the small intestine. Cats were included in the study if full-thickness biopsy specimens had been obtained from ≥ 3 locations of the small intestine by means of laparotomy and biopsy specimens had been examined by means of histologic evaluation and, when necessary to obtain a diagnosis, immunohistochemical analysis and a PCR assay for antigen receptor rearrangement.
Results—Chronic small bowel disease was diagnosed in 288 of the 300 (96%) cats. The most common diagnoses were chronic enteritis (n = 150) and intestinal lymphoma (124).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that a high percentage of cats with clinical signs of chronic small bowel disease and ultrasonographic evidence of thickening of the small intestine had histologic abnormalities. Furthermore, full-thickness biopsy specimens were useful in differentiating between intestinal lymphoma and chronic enteritis, but such differentiation was not possible with ultrasonography or clinicopathologic testing alone.