Effect of a new medication on gastrointestinal permeability in dogs with clinical and sub-clinical gastrointestinal disease
Gastrointestinal Laboratory
Texas A&M University – College of Veterinary Medicine

The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Clib of America (SCWTCA) is collaborating with the researchers of the Gastrointestinal Lab at Texas A&M University (TAMU) to conduct a three-month study targeting abnormal intestinal permeability which can be found in a lot of dogs with intestinal disease, such as PLE. It is hypothesized that this could possibly be the aggravating disease for other diseases such as PLN by allowing substances to enter the blood that should normally not get there. It is a pilot study of up to 16 Wheatens who meet the criteria. Anyone who has a dog with the symptoms of PLE, testing that suggests the possibility of PLE or has PLE but does not have PLN, please contact:
Dr. Nora Berghoff – TAMU GI Lab
(979) 458-2293
Screening Process

If your dog meets the criteria, Dr. Berghoff will send you a kit that includes plastic tubes for collection of 3 fecal samples on 3 separate days. These samples will be tested for Fecal Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor (A1-PI), a possible indicator of PLE. The Gastrointestinal Lab will also need a blood sample from your dog to further assess gastrointestinal disease in your Wheaten. The kit will include specific instructions for both the fecal sample collection as well as the blood draw.

Texas A&M pays for the kit, the testing, and the shipping. The fecal samples collected three days prior to the blood draw and the blood sample will tell us whether the dog has GI disease and thus are needed to enroll the dog. Even if your dog is not suited to be enrolled in the study, the test results are valuable to you, as they will give you an additional health update on your dog.

Actual Study

The SCWT with gastrointestinal disease (those who have met criteria above) will undergo an initial permeability test, which is a special blood test involving oral administration of a test solution containing sugars and requires a three hour visit to the vet. The vet visit is extended because there are several blood draws during the three hours of the Sugar Test. Owners will also collect fecal samples in the three days prior to the test.

Once the Sugar Test and Fecal Testing has been done, the dogs will start receiving an experimental medication orally, twice a day that is supposed to improve permeability in the intestine. This compound has been tested in rats and dogs at doses 1000 times greater than what your dog will receive and no toxic effects have been found, so Texas A&M staff are confident in saying that it is safe to give.

The medication will be given for a total of three months and the fecal collection and permeability testing will be repeated at the end of this time period.

All in all, it is not a difficult protocol to follow and the participating dogs may well benefit, if the drug works as anticipated.


For Wheatens only, the SCWTCA will pay for the vet visit and initial blood draw. (Other breeds pay for initial screening blood draws.) This is needed to determine if the dog is eligible for the study. The shipping of serum and fecal API testing is provided by the TAMU GI Lab at no cost to the owner. The other costs associated with the study will be paid by the GI lab at Texas A & M including:

  • Shipping of study material, including test kits and medications, to those who participate, as well as shipping the samples back to TAMU GI Lab.
  • Visits to the vet – total of three, which includes two permeability tests.
  • All vet costs related to this study – administration of sugars, subsequent blood draws, etc.
  • Cost of the medication.

The veterinarian will be paid directly by the GI Lab at Texas A & M. for these tests and blood draws. There will be no cost to participants in the screening process or actual study.

In addition, the GI Lab has secured funding in order to pay participating owners an incentive, which they will receive upon completion of the study.

For More Information...

For further details, please contact:

Dr. Nora Berghoff – TAMU GI Lab
(979) 458-2293


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