Little Abby, a 9 year old beagle, recently came to see our internist, Dr. Astrid Nielssen to track down the source of her ongoing tummy trouble. She had been plagued with chronic diarrhea for several years and was now losing her normally hearty beagle appetite. Laboratory testing of blood, urine and feces supported proceeding with the next diagnostic step of a gastroduodenoscopy.
This is a procedure that uses an endoscope to view the internal structures of the throat, stomach and portions of the intestine. Abby was placed safely asleep under general anesthesia, and the endoscopic camera was introduced. As the examination proceeded we were able to see that both her esophagus and stomach appeared normal. Once we reached the duodenum (the upper portion of the small intestine) however, it was evident that the tissues in that region were not normal looking.
Small biopsies were taken of this tissue using the endoscope and sent to a pathologist to review. A few days later, the results came back with a diagnosis of lymphangiectasia, a disease in which there is abnormal lymphatic leakage into the small intestinal lumen. This disease causes the loss of protein and chronic diarrhea that Abby has been experiencing. Now that we know what is causing Abby’s tummy issues we have been able to direct her care and medications accordingly and get her on the road to recovery.
The images of Abby’s duodenum below were taken with the endoscopic camera during the gastroduodenoscopy procedure.