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J Vet Intern Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;25(2):215-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0671.x. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

Effect of parvoviral enteritis on plasma citrulline concentration in dogs.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.



Plasma citrulline concentration is a reliable marker of global enterocyte mass in humans and is markedly decreased in diffuse small intestinal diseases. However, the relationship between acute intestinal damage and plasma citrulline concentration in dogs has never been documented.


That dogs with parvoviral enteritis have a lower plasma citrulline concentration than healthy dogs and that plasma citrulline concentration is a predictor of death in puppies with parvoviral enteritis.


Sixty-one dogs with spontaneous parvoviral enteritis and 14 healthy age-matched control dogs.


Observational cohort study. Plasma citrulline concentration was measured by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry in blood samples collected at admission and each day until death or discharge from the hospital. Parvovirus enteritis was confirmed by electron microscopy on a fecal sample.


Median (interquartile range) plasma citrulline concentrations at admission were 2.8 μmol/L (range: 0.3, 49.0; P < .001 versus controls) in survivors (n = 49), 2.1 μmol/L (range: 0.5, 6.4, P < .001 versus controls) in nonsurvivors (n = 12) and 38.6 μmol/L (range: 11.4, 96.1) in controls (n = 14), respectively. There was no significant difference in plasma citrulline concentration between survivors and nonsurvivors within the parvovirus-infected puppies, and plasma citrulline concentration was not significantly associated with outcome in parvoviral enteritis. There were no significant changes in plasma citrulline concentration over the 8-day follow-up period.


Parvovirus enteritis is associated with a severe decrease in plasma citrulline concentration that does not appear to have any significant prognostic value.

Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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