The canine species encompasses dogs of widely varying body weight and size. It is possible that morphologic variation is associated with anatomic and physiologic differences; previous studies1,2 of food tolerance in dogs have revealed that, fed the same dry diet, dogs of large and giant breeds have higher fecal moisture content and greater frequency of soft feces, compared with dogs of small breeds. One of the primary functions of the large intestine is to dehydrate luminal contents and store the residue prior to its elimination as feces. Therefore, it is possible that differences in fecal characteristics may result from physiologic differences in the large intestine of dogs of small versus large breeds.
The efficiency of absorption of salt and water and the fermentative processes is dependent, to a large extent, on colonic motility.3 The finding that reduction in LITT decreases the capacity for electrolyte and water absorption and results in elimination of loose and watery feces has been reported in nonhealthy dogs4,5 and humans.6,7 In contrast, longer transit time of contents in the large intestine promotes fermentation,8 and the impact of colonic fermentation on fecal quality has been reported.9,10
Although a relationship between body size and gastric emptying time11 or OCTT12 has not been reported, there is a positive correlation between body size and TTT and negative correlations exist between those variables and fecal quality.13 Those results suggest that differences in transit time associated with body size would be mainly attributable to differences in large intestinal variables. To our knowledge, an association between body size and LITT in healthy dogs has not been determined.
Previous studies14,15 have investigated colonic motility and propulsion in dogs, but those studies dealt with colonic transit in terms of acceleration or deceleration, and none expressed results as a function of LITT. Studies have been published in which values of LITT in healthy dogs were determined by use of noninvasive direct16 and indirect17 methods, but results were independent of body size. The objectives of the study reported here were to assess the minimum and mean LITT in healthy dogs of various sizes and determine whether fecal variables were related to LITT.
Large intestinal transit time
Orocecal transit time
Total transit time
Salazopyrine, Pharmacia AB, Uppsala, Sweden.
Spectrophotometer, Jenway Ltd, Essex, UK.
Cofalu Kim'play, La Brede, France.
Flexi-Dry MP, FTS Systems Inc, New York, NY.
Statview 5.0, SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC.
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Hernot DC, Biourge VC, Martin LJ, et al.Relationship between total transit time and faecal quality in adult dogs differing in body size. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2005; 89: 189–193.
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