Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Gastroenteritis in Cats
Lymphocytic-plasmacytic gastroenteritis is an inflammatory bowel disease in which lymphocytes and plasma cells (antibodies) enter the lining of the stomach and intestines. It is thought to be caused by an abnormal immune response to environmental stimuli due to loss of normal immune regulation. Bacteria in the intestine may also be a trigger.
Continued antigen exposure (substances that stimulate the production of antibodies), along with unregulated inflammation, results in disease, although the exact mechanisms and patient factors that cause this remain unknown. Lymphocytic-plasmacytic gastroenteritis is the most common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to affect dogs and cats.
Symptoms and Types
Signs vary dramatically from patient to patient depending on disease severity and organ affected. Symptoms to look for include:
- Intermittent, chronic vomiting
- Chronic, small bowel diarrhea
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Long-term weight loss (cachexia)
- Black stool
- Blood in the stool (red)
- Coughing up/vomiting up blood
- Genetic predisposition
- Bacteria and parasites and normal bacteria of the intestines and stomach are suspected
- Possibly altered intestinal bacterial populations and immune alterations
- May be related to meat proteins, food additives, artificial coloring, preservatives, milk proteins and gluten (wheat)
Your veterinarian will do a complete physical exam and take a thorough history from you. A chemical blood profile, urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel will be ordered. Depending on their results, he or she may run intestinal tests or take blood to check the function of your cat’s thyroid and pancreas.
A sample of feces will be taken to check microscopically for any parasites, and an endoscopy -- which uses an endoscope, a minimally invasive tubular tool that is equipped with a camera and tools for taking biopsy samples -- may be performed to examine the interior linings of the stomach and intestines in more detail. This is a very useful method for your veterinarian to better see the condition of the stomach and intestines and to take samples for testing, better enabling your doctor to make a conclusive diagnosis.