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New noninvasive diagnostic test for IBD

Chronic vomiting and diarrhea are common clinical signs of canine inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They’re also associated with a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic enteropathy or food sensitivity. And they’re among the most common reasons pet owners bring their dogs to a veterinarian.

But the very commonness of the symptoms can make it tricky to diagnose the underlying condition. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the use of biomarkers allows veterinarians to pinpoint the cause of IBD.

On Wednesday, Antech Diagnostics, part of Mars Veterinary Health, unveiled a new biomarker blood test for IBD. Called the Canine CE-IBD assay, it’s a noninvasive test that identifies biomarkers that could point to IBD. The analysis is performed offsite and returns one of two results: “consistent with IBD,” or “inconsistent with IBD.” The test can be run once a dog has been experiencing symptoms for three to seven days but waiting to test until symptoms have persisted for a minimum of three weeks is ideal.

Kelly Cairns, DVM, MS, DACVIM, national director of internal medicine and specialty and emergency medicine at Pathway Vet Alliance, had a chance to use the new assay as a participant in a pilot program and shared her thoughts with NEWStat.

“CE-IBD is a diagnosis of exclusion, involving [extensive] testing to rule out all other conditions, with confirmation via endoscopic or surgically obtained intestinal biopsies and histopathology consistent with the disease,” she said. “The process can be invasive, time-consuming, and expensive, all of which delay a dog’s access to effective treatment.”

In contrast, Cairns says the new test allows veterinarians to rule out IBD—or rule it in—early on.

“A dog with chronic vomiting and diarrhea can be quite ill and may have underlying nutritional deficiencies,” she said, and notes that knowing whether a dog’s symptoms are consistent with IBD, and the potential underlying cause, allows veterinarians to get the right treatment for a dog faster.

Veterinarians in the US can access the Canine CE-IBD assay through Antech. The test will be available to veterinarians in Canada after COVID-19-related travel restrictions are lifted.

Photo credit: © iStock/SaevichMikalai