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  • Author or Editor: Karyl K. Buddington x
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Objective—To quantify dimensions of the small intestine of dogs and describe changes in histologic characteristics of the mucosa during postnatal development.

Sample Population—Gastrointestinal tract tissues obtained from 110 Beagles (15 adult females and 95 puppies of both sexes).

Procedure—Several variables (length, total weight, mucosal weight, and nominal surface area) of the small intestine were measured in puppies at birth but before suckling; 1 day after birth and subsequent suckling, 21, 42, and 63 days after birth, and in the adult dams of the puppies. Tissue structure was examined and quantified at each time point by use of routine histologic examination and ocular micrometry of formalin-fixed specimens stained with H&E.

Results—Small intestinal dimensions increased throughout development with the greatest proportional changes during the first day after birth and onset of suckling. Villus height decreased during suckling but had consistent values from 42 days after birth to maturity, whereas crypt depth increased from birth to maturity. Vacuolated enterocytes were evident from birth to 21 days but not thereafter.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increases in intestinal dimensions provide growing dogs with a greater capacity for digestion and absorption. Changes in mucosal architecture and cell populations coincided with shifts in dietary inputs. These findings may assist in the diagnosis of small intestinal diseases and nutritional responses during growth and development of dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:618–626)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



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


Objective—To measure concentrations of sucrose in the serum of captive dolphins after oral administration of a sucrose solution and determine the suitability of this method for use as a test to detect gastric ulcers.

Animals—8 adult captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from the ventral fluke vein of dolphins before and 45 minutes after oral administration of 500 mL of solution containing 25 or 50 g of sucrose; oral administration was achieved by use of gastric intubation. Serum was separated, diluted in a solution of 90% acetonitrile-to10% water that contained 10 ng of an internal standard (trichlormethiazide)/μL, mixed, and centrifuged. Supernatant was analyzed by use of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry–mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS).

Results—Serum sucrose concentrations of dolphins were at or less than the limits of detection before oral administration. Values after administration of sucrose solution varied among dolphins and were higher and more variable after administration of 50 g, compared with concentrations after administration of 25 g.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serum sucrose concentrations in samples collected during routine health evaluations of captive dolphins can be reliably measured by use of LC-MS-MS. Correlating serum sucrose concentrations with endoscopic observations of the gastric mucosa of dolphins will validate this approach for use in screening for the prevalence and severity of gastric ulcers and determining the efficacy of treatment regimens.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research