In humans, a fecal alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (α1-PI) is a reliable marker for protein-losing enteropathy. An assay has been developed and validated for use in dogs. This study evaluated a group of 21 clinically healthy, client-owned dogs without signs of gastrointestinal disease (group 1) and another group of 16 dogs with suspected gastrointestinal disease. The latter group of dogs was further divided on the basis of biopsy results into dogs with histologic abnormalities (group 2b) and those with normal histologic results (group 2a).

As a whole, there was no significant difference in fecal α1-PI levels between groups 1 and 2. However, in dogs with histologic evidence of disease, levels of fecal α1-PI were significantly increased. Measuring fecal α1-PI levels in dogs suspected of having gastrointestinal disease may suggest the need for intestinal biopsy. Also, fecal α1-PI levels may be useful for early detection of protein-losing enteropathy.

Fecal alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor concentration in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease. Murphy KF, German AJ, Ruaux CG, et al. BSAVA CONGRESS SCIENTIFIC PROCEEDINGS, 2003, 547.

A fecal alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (α1-PI) has been validated for use in canine patients and seems to be useful during investigation of gastrointestinal disease in dogs. In this study, dogs with orthopedic disorders receiving either meloxicam or carprofen daily at the recommend dosage for more than 30 days were compared with clinically healthy dogs without signs of gastrointestinal disease.

No significant difference in fecal α1-PI levels was found in either group. This study suggests that cyclooxygenase-2 selective nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do not significantly alter levels of fecal α1-PI. Larger prospective studies should be done to gain a better understanding of the effect of NSAIDs on the canine gastrointestinal tract.

Fecal alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor concentration in dogs receiving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy. Murphy KF, German AJ, Ruaux CG, et al. BSAVA CONGRESS SCIENTIFIC PROCEEDINGS, 2003, 547.

COMMENTARY: These two abstracts were presented at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham UK in April and were received with great interest by the audience. There is emerging evidence that measurement of fecal α-1 proteinase may be a useful test for the early detection of protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) in the dog. It may also be useful to monitor the response to therapy for PLE and to use that as a guide to adjust treatment where necessary. Based on the data presented, it is unlikely that the oral administration of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs will cause false-positive results.