Revised: 2/17/2012

Gluten And Its Impact On Pets (Cont'd)

In 1992, a study by DVM's E.J. Hall and R.M. Batt, concluded that gluten senstive Irish Setters, reared
on a normal diet containing wheat, exhibited partial villous atrophy, intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration
and increased intestinal permeability. When these Irish Setters were switched to a gluten-free diet,
morphological and biochemical abnormalities were resolved and intestinal permeability was decreased.
In 2000, Vaden et al, concluded daily administration of gluten was associated with a significant decrease
in serum globulin concentration in Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers. Garden et al, (2000) surmised few
dogs of other breeds have been identified with gastrointestinal gluten sensitivity, and therefore gluten
sensitive enteropathy appeared to be breed specific. However, Nedtvedt et al in 2007 found the odds
of developing canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) in Boxers, Bullterriers, and West Highland White Terriers
were twice as high among offspring from bitches that were not fed home-made/non-commercial diets.
These studies provided valuable new information the epidemiology of CAD and dietary effects of com-
mercial and wheat-based diets.

John Symes, DVM, chronicled his discoveries of his own gluten intolerances and came to the conclusion
that when wheat replaced corn as the carbohydrate source for pet foods, dogs became gluten intolerant
too. In the 1980's dogs were doing "ok" on dry food with corn as the carbohydrate source. Although a
select group of breeds were known for their allergies and immune-mediated diseases such as Poodles,
Cockers, Beagles, Boxers, Golden retrievers, Irish setters, and German shepherds, the average dog was
reasonably healthy. When wheat replaced corn, auto-immune diseases and cancer were being disgnosed
in younger and younger dogs of all breeds.

The famous 10-year Pottenger's Cats study (1932-1942) showed the consumption of raw versus cooked
meat and various types of milk (e.g., raw, pasteurized, evaporated, condensed) resulted in increasing
physical and behavioral deterioration with each generation of cats consuming the most processed foods.
Within three generations reproduction ceased for some groups, and it took four generations to restore
their health. Pottenger's study showed the relationship of the addition of sugar in a diet and the health
of cats. The study provides insight of the effect on cats eating prepared foods with glutenous grains,
such as wheat, that quickly break down into sugars.

Despite our limited knowledge so far regarding the mechanisms and full impact of gluten on the body,
osteopathy provides a way to recognize and treat gluten sensitivity in animals (and humans). Let us
first review the osteopathic model of "hierarchy of protection" and then how it might fit in with gluten
senstivity. While all somatic systems are important, the osteopathic hierarchy of protection is listed from
vitally critical to less critical:

  • Vascular (quality)
  • Central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system
  • Visceral system
  • Endocrine system
  • Lymphatic system, and
  • Musculoskeletal system (the red flag).

    In the osteopathic model, the musculoskeletal system is the lowest in the hierarachy and will be sacri-
    ficed first to protect the more vital systems. Thus it is often the first to show distress and is the "red
    flag" system. In a gluten sensitive animal, the body will first protect around the blood supply as it is
    the most critical to life. Areas with vascular damage or diminished blood flow might first increase the
    local concentration of IgA, which will creat adhesions and restrict mobility in fascia, tendons, muscles,
    joint capsules, and neurological tissues--restricted mobility protects blood vessels from strain and rupture.

    After conducting informal research on approximately 2,500 dogs and cats I treated in my practice since
    2008, I observed a thirteen-point pattern of restrictions on the right sides of these animals. I wondered
    why this pattern was so prevalent and so consistent. Now in humans, the cecum area of the colon saw
    the most damage from gluten because of its specific anatomical position. However, in cats, dogs, and
    horses the right kidney lies closest to the ileocecal valve, which is likely the reason why the right kidney
    and the ureter are most affected by gluten. Thus the right kidney is the home reflex base for gluten in

    "Red flag" symptoms of gluten sensitivity in cats and dogs are usually kidney related: bladder infections,
    kidney or bladder stones, frequent urination or inability to urinate easily, even kidney failure. As noted
    with humans, other red flags can occur, and I have listed some in my case studies.

    How do we treat a gluten-senstive animal? For the full treatment regime refer to my paper or take my
    . During my classes, gluten manifestations are discussed and functional indirect and vascular
    protocols are demonstrated.

    References - also, see Resources for more details
    James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA, Dangerous Grains
    Kenneth Fine, MD, Early Diagnosis of Gluten Sensitivity: Before the Villi are Gone
    Oliver A. Garden, Heather Pidduck, Ken H. Lakhani, Dawn Walker, James L.N. Wood, and Roger M. Batt,
       2000, "Inheritance of gluten-sensitive enteropathy in Irish Setters", AJVR, Vol 61, No. 4, April, 2000,
       p. 462-468.
    Peter H. R. Green, MD, and Rory Jones, Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic
    E.J. Hall, R.M Batt, 1991, "Abnormal permeability precedes the development of a gluten sensitive enter-
       opathy in Irish setter dogs", Gut, 32:749-753.
    Sharie Lieberman, PhD, The Gluten Connection
    Ane Nedtvedt, Kerstin Bergvall, Marie Sallander, Agnete Engenvall, Ulf Emanuelson, and Ake Hedhammar,
       2007, "A case-control study of risk factors for canine atopic dermatitis among boxer, bullterrier and
       West Highland white terrier dogs in Sweden", The Authors. Journal compilation 2007 ESVD and ACVD
    Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. MD, 2009, "Pottenger's Cats, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, La Mesa,
       California, 123pp.
    Johm B. Symes, DVM, 2008, "Food intolerances in our veterinary patients", Proceedings of the 2008 Annual Conference of the AHVMA, p. 362-366.
    Shelly L. Vaden, Rance K. Sellon, L. Tonatiuh Melgarejo, Davide A. Williams, Maureen M. Trogdon, Steven
       D. VanCamp, and Robert A. Argenzio, 2000, "Evaluation of intestinal permeability and gluten sensitivity
       in Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers with familial protein-losing enteropathy, protein-losing nephropathy,
       or both", AJVR, Vol 61, No. 5, May, 2000, p. 518-524.

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