Forums » Internal Medicine - Small Animal

Development and Expression of GI Disorders

    • 148 posts
    June 25, 2016 2:41 PM EDT

    Recently, the VetVine Specialty Consulting Service has featured several Evidence Based Updates on topics relating to nutritional management of diseases and use of supplements including probiotics, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.  We've selected these topics because, recently, there has been quite a lot published on this subject matter in both the veterinary and human medical literature. There have been many exciting discoveries about the pathogenesis of various diseases, the role of the microbiome in disease, and the role of nutrition (as medicine) in managing disease states.

    I've also found it interesting that my colleague - veterinary behaviorist Dr. E'Lise Christensen - has mentioned the use of gastointestinal modulating meds as part of the treatment plan for patients with various behavior problems (ie. anxiety, etc.). We learned the basis for this in this week's EBU on the correlation of GI disorders and excessive licking of surfaces in dogs.

    I came across a very interesting article recently published regarding functional GI disorders in humans. There are many conditions that fall under the label of "functional GI disorder" including: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, or regurgitation, belching disorders, and others. Essentially, there may be no structural or motility abnormality identified in affected patients, however the sensitivity of the nerves in the intestines (or other anatomic structure) or the way in which the brain controls various functions in the organs is impaired. Translation =  a problem involving the gut-brain axis, which can then become self-perpetuating due to the affect on the autonomic nervous system and/or hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

    Based on recent research, the authors of this paper provided a framework for understanding these functional GI disorders - specifically their potentiation and propagation - in association with biological, environmental, and psychological risk factors.

    Adapted from Figure 1. Gastroenterology Vol. 150, No. 6

    In fact, the authors' emphasize that in addition to managing the physiologic or biologic factors involved in the disease condition, appropriate treatment of patients must include addressing or managing any environmental and psychological factors (including, but not limited to, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.). They make the case that patient morbidity and outcomes are significantly impacted by doing so.

    This has left me wondering whether there is data on the incidence of GI and behavior problem comorbities in companion animals (other than the recent EBU we have presented).


    Reference: Gastroenterology 2016;150:1355–1367.



    • 342 posts
    July 2, 2016 9:24 AM EDT

    • 342 posts
    July 10, 2016 2:12 PM EDT

    Veterinary Behavior expert Dr. E'Lise Christensen posted about the use of probiotics in veterinary patients with behavior problems.  Learn more