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Can J Vet Res. 1990 Oct;54(4):477-86.

A morphometric study of the canine colon: comparison of control dogs and cases of colonic disease.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.


The microstructure of the canine colon was described morphometrically. The artifacts induced by administration of enemas and biopsy technique were studied by comparing biopsy specimens to tissues obtained at necropsy from 15 normal dogs. Biopsies from control dogs and clinical cases of colonic disease were then evaluated quantitatively, and histological abnormalities which might clarify mechanisms underlying large bowel dysfunction in the dog were sought. In control dogs, gland length and diameter, epithelial, goblet cell and mucosal mast cell numbers, and intraepithelial lymphocyte and mitotic indices were remarkably uniform throughout the colon. Minor variations were found in the proximal and distal regions of the colon. An apparent shortening of glands, and a reduction in mucous goblets and intraepithelial lymphocytes in biopsies were attributed to suboptimal orientation and irritation caused by enemas. The only significant difference from controls identified by morphometric analysis of biopsies from clinical cases was fewer epithelial cells lining longitudinal sections of glands. It was concluded that failure to identify morphometric variations in the colonic mucosa of clinical cases might reflect either a biased, homogeneously mild clinical syndrome in this group, or the possibility that in many of the clinical cases, a functional rather than physical abnormality was involved. The proprial inflammatory cell population was not examined quantitatively; further investigation of this component is merited.

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