Antech Diagnostics, part of Mars Petcare, completed a final study of its new blood test for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), also known as canine chronic enteropathy (CCE). The first diagnostic for IBD, the test allows veterinarians to determine whether or not a dog's chronic gastrointestinal signs are consistent with IBD, expediating access to effective treatment or confirming the need for additional diagnostics. Either outcome supports pet owner satisfaction as well as increased compliance with continued diagnostics or a care plan that helps dogs return to health faster. The new test will be available in the second quarter of the year.

Chronic vomiting and diarrhea are among the most common reasons dog owners visit the veterinarian. Identifying the cause can be complex, time consuming and expensive for a pet owner: all the while, their dog remains sick and may even show signs of progressive weight loss and inappetence. When IBD is the cause, a dog's intestines become inflamed, which can interfere with its ability to digest and absorb nutrients. Clinical signs, which also include weight loss and anorexia, have typically been present for three weeks or longer, underscoring the value of identifying or ruling out IBD early. However, traditional diagnosis involves endoscopy under general anesthesia to obtain tissue biopsies for histopathology. Naturally, this can delay a definitive diagnosis while veterinarian and pet owner exhaust other potential causes before proceeding with a costly, invasive procedure. Access to an easy, non-invasive, cost-effective blood test allows veterinarians to diagnose or rule out IBD faster, speeding delivery of the proper therapy that will return a dog to good health as quickly as possible.

In addition to expediting access to effective treatment, the novel diagnostic can also help veterinarians monitor an IBD dog's response to therapy over time. IBD is a complex disease that responds to a variety of different treatments, requiring highly personalized care plans to ensure a dog's good health and well-being over time. A simple, cost-effective way to track a dog's response to therapy ensures the dog can remain well-nourished and vibrant for the duration of its life.

"IBD is hard on everyone: dogs, pet owners and veterinarians," said Jennifer Ogeer, BSc., DVM, MSc., MBA, MA, VP Medical Affairs & Commercial Marketing. "When a suspected IBD dog comes to us, this dog is sick. It may not be eating; it may be nutritionally compromised; and its owners are worried, not to mention weary of the constant clean up. The pet owner is anxious for a solution. But, determining the correct diagnosis can be a frustratingly long process. The ability to reach a diagnosis faster—avoiding the precursor path of 'let's try this,' and 'ok, let's try this,'—will save time, money and frustration for pet owners and veterinarians alike. Moreover, the ability to track a dog's response to therapy after diagnosis with a simple blood test that's both easy and cost-effective means we can tailor treatment to suit each individual dog. Best of all, dogs get better faster; and for IBD dogs, we're able to keep them healthy for the duration of their lives."

Todd Tams, DVM, DACVIM, chief medical officer for VCA Animal Hospitals, foremost expert in veterinary gastroenterology and endoscopy and author of several related books and publications, will be discussing IBD/CCE and the need for timely, effective treatment at the Western Veterinary Conference, which takes place February 16-19, 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Tams' education session, "Canine Chronic Enteropathy," will take place on Tuesday, February 18 at 4:30 p.m. (PST) in The Learning Lounge on the exhibit hall floor.