Comprehensive Review

Digestion and Detox

Pancreatic Elastase 1

Only low results are of concern. Pancreatic elastase 1 is an enzyme, and low levels can identify impaired digestion. Your dog’s digestion depends on enzymes secreted by the pancreas to digest food. Dogs who don’t secrete enough digestive enzymes may not fully digest food. If your dog’s digestion is impaired they may not be getting all the nutrients from food, which can lead to deficiencies. The symptoms of poor digestion are varied but can include, diarrhea, weight loss, gas, or other symptoms related to nutrient deficiencies. Some dogs have no symptoms. The main treatment for low pancreatic elastase 1 is supplementing with digestive enzymes and vitamin B12. If low follow-up testing is recommended.

  • Normal: Dogs with a result of >20 mcg/mg have no issue with digestion.
  • Borderline: Dogs with a result of 10-20 mcg/mg may benefit from testing again in 2-3 months.
  • Low: Dogs with a result of <10 mcg/mg may have digestive issues and should be seen by a veterinary professional.

 

Treatment Options

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Consult a veterinary professional for further testing if elastase 1 levels are low and symptoms such as weight loss and diarrhea are present. Low elastase 1 can be related to autoimmune conditions, and some healthy dogs may have low levels. Digestive enzymes may be recommended.
      • Consider switching to a digestive care dog food that is lower in fat, with easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Preferably with prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and a blend of antioxidants to support GI health.
    • Impaired digestion can be supported with additional fiber, such as 1-2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin a day, or other high fiber foods such as greens or carrots.More information can be found here:

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    • Consider supplementing with basic A vitamin and mineral supplements.

    Beta-glucuronidase

    Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme that your dog makes. It is also made by their gut bacteria. High levels can be due to an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria, which is also called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis means the bacteria in the gut is out of balance. Another problem with high levels of beta-glucuronidase is that it is known to free toxins that have already gone through detoxification. Meaning toxins can become free within the gut and lead to negative health effects. Consistently elevated levels of beta-glucuronidase have been associated with intestinal disease. 

    • Normal: Dogs with a result of < 4.5 mcg/mg are in the normal range and have no issues.
    • Borderline: Dogs with a result of 4.6-8.0 mcg/mg may benefit from testing again in 3-6 months.
    • High: Dogs with a level >8.0 mcg/mg may have issues with gut bacteria or increased levels of toxins.

     

    Treatment Options

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Elevated levels may be seen in dogs with an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria  – consider a probiotic supplement or adding snacks higher in fibers to support healthy gut bacteria. These can include apricots (no pit), broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots red bell peppers, squash, and sweet potato (cooked).
    • Reduce exposure to toxins.
    • Consider a higher quality dog food. Research has noted a reduction of fecal beta-glucuronidase in dogs fed dry dog food, and believe it is due to an increase in healthy gut bacteria.

    Inflammation & Immunity

    Calprotectin

    The gut contains about 70% of the immune system, so it’s important. Inflammation is the immune system responding to something it does not like. Inflammation can often lead to redness and swelling that you can see but there are also immune reactions you can’t see that can cause damage. Many conditions that are common in dogs are often related to intestinal inflammation.

    Calprotectin is a sensitive marker of inflammation of the gut lining. Elevated levels can be responsive to an anti-inflammatory diet, anti-inflammatory supplements, or other treatments. If calprotectin stays high, it can identify more serious conditions. Levels can also be used to monitor treatments. Conditions such as obesity or diabetes can also be associated with higher levels.

    • Normal: <100 mcg/mg No inflammation was noted.
    • Borderline: 100-300 mcg/mg may benefit from testing again in 3-6 months.
    • High: >300 mcg/mg Inflammation has been noted.

     

    Inflammation Marker

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Possible causes of increased inflammation include poor levels of healthy gut bacteria, toxin exposure, and reactions to diet or lifestyle. In very high levels it may be advisable to contact your veterinary care provider.
    • Consider an anti-inflammatory or prescription dog food. Some research has noted that changing the type of protein in a dog’s diet, for example switching from chicken to salmon, or trying a dog food with hydrolyzed protein may help to reduce inflammation.
    • Consider anti-inflammatory snacks (blueberries, alfalfa, apples (no seeds), carrots, pumpkin, red pepper), or anti-inflammatory targeted supplements such as fish oil.
    • Consider probiotics to support healthy gut bacteria. Look for probiotics with a variety of healthy gut bacteria, referred to as multi-strain.
    • Retest in 3  months to see if your dog has responded to changes.

    Secretory IgA

    Secretory IgA is the first line of immune defense at the gut lining. It is a marker of intestinal maturity in young dogs and an indicator of intestinal immune protection. Elevated levels may show an immune reaction to inflammation, parasites, or food sensitivities. Low levels of IgA may identify an inability to have an immune response and high levels show that your dog is reacting to something. High levels will return to normal if what they are responding to goes away. Low levels of IgA have been associated with autoimmunity, allergies, and skin conditions.

    • Low: <90 mcg/mg. May have an impaired response, treat and retest in 3-6 months.
    • Normal: 90-250 mcg/mg. No excess or impaired immune response.
    • Borderline: 250-300 mcg/mg.
    • High: >300 mcg/mg. Identifies a response to something, treat and retest in 3-6 months.

     

    Immune Response

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Consider a grain-free or hypoallergenic dog food.
    • Consider a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to build good gut bacteria and support IgA response.
    • Consider immune-supporting supplements such as Thorne Myco-Immune or Standard Process Canine Immune System Support.
    • Minimize anxiety and stress, and encourage activity.
    • Consider a grain-free or hypoallergenic dog food.
    • Support with probiotics.
    • Consider testing for parasites, gluten sensitivity, and Leaky Gut Syndrome with our Leaky Gut test.

    Leaky Gut

    Zonulin

    Zonulin is a protein that acts like a glue to keep intestinal cells bound together. Intestinal cells are supposed to be lined up and connected to each other. When Zonulin is high it means the cells aren’t tightly together. Doctors and veterinarians refer to it as Leaky Gut Syndrome. The picture below shows cells lined up together in a healthy gut and cells with spaces from a leaky gut. Leaky gut happens gradually over time. Zonulin can help identify the level of leaky gut. Leaky Gut Syndrome has been associated with inflammation, an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria, and is a risk factor for food allergies and food sensitivities, such as a reaction to gluten. 

    Possible related symptoms of a Leaky Gut Syndrome include:

    • Digestive issues such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, weight loss, changes in appetite, and gas.
    • Skin issues such as dry skin, hair loss, redness, rashes, and scratching.
    • Chewing, licking, or gnawing paws and paw pads.

    Levels of Zonulin

    • Normal: Zonulin levels of <9.0 mcg/mg are normal.
    • Borderline: Zonulin levels of 9.0-10.0 mcg/mg may benefit from testing again in 3-6 months.
    • High: Zonulin levels of >10 mcg/mg are associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome.

     

    Treatment Options

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Probiotics have been shown to improve good gut bacteria and may improve Zonulin levels.
    • Consider a less processed dog food, such as a prescription or human grade dog food. If the antigliadin IgA is also high, consider a gluten free dog food.
    • Minimize anxiety and stress.
    • Avoid unnecessary medications such as antibiotics or exposure to toxins.
    • Check inflammation. Consider anti-inflammatory supporting snacks such as blueberries, alfalfa, apples (no seeds), carrots, pumpkin, red pepper), or anti-inflammatory supplements. Reducing inflammation may decrease Zonulin.
      • Test level of fecal inflammation with IPL inflammation test.
    • Check overall health as obesity and type 2 diabetes may lead to increased inflammation. 

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    Antigliadin IgA

    Antigliadin IgA identifies an immune response to gluten and can let you know if your dog is eating gluten. Gliadin is a component of gluten. Your dog can only have a reaction to gluten if they are eating gluten. A reaction to gluten may be a contributing factor to Leaky Gut Syndrome, skin conditions, or other symptoms. Removing gluten can reduce Antigliadin IgA and Zonulin levels. Antigliadin IgA reactions are based on the level of gluten eaten. Fecal Antigliadin IgA testing is not used to diagnose gluten or wheat allergy, or celiac disease. 
     
    Levels of sIgA

    • Normal: An antigliadin IgA level of <750 mcg/mg is considered normal.
    • Borderline: An antigliadin IgA level of 750-900 mcg/mg may identify some reaction.
    • High: An antigliadin IgA level of >900 mcg/mg is considered a strong reaction to gluten.

     

    Intestinal Antibody Response to Gluten

    Continue with current diet and lifestyle.

    • Try a gluten-free dog food and note a change in symptoms. (wheat, rye, and barley all contain gluten)
    • Retest in 2-3 months.

    References

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