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To determine whether intestinal dimensions and nutrient absorption are influenced by different types of dietary fiber.


10 adult Beagles of both sexes.


Dogs were randomly assigned to 2 groups and fed a diet with fermentable fibers (beet pulp and oligofructose) or a nonfermentable fiber (cellulose) for 6 weeks. Effects of the diets on small intestinal dimensions were measured, and transport rates for glucose and proline were determined. Kinetics of glucose and proline uptake were defined in the proximal and middle regions of the small intestine, respectively.


Small intestines of dogs fed fermentable fiber had 28% more nominal surface area and 37% more mucosal mass, were 35% heavier, and had 95% higher capacity for carrier-mediated glucose uptake than those of dogs fed a diet with cellulose. Differences were more pronounced in the proximal portion of the intestine.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Diets containing fermentable fibers increase small intestinal dimensions and the capacity for nutrient absorption in dogs. These changes may reduce the risk of enteric infections or aid in treatment of intestinal diseases, particularly those involving reduced nutrient absorption.(Am J Vet Res 1999;60:354–358)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research