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J Comp Pathol. 1991 Jul;105(1):93-104.

Intestinal changes in puppies infected with Toxocara canis.

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Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, U.K.


Small intestinal histopathology and absorption were examined in Beagle puppies infected with either a moderate or a low burden of Toxocara canis. Infection with T. canis significantly reduced absorption of xylose, but only slightly delayed absorption of para-aminobenzoic acid. Fat assimilation was reduced and faecal proteolytic activity was increased. A significant reduction in villous height occurred and was inversely related to the extent of the infection. Villous goblet cell numbers, particularly those in the luminal third of the villus, were lowest and crypt goblet cell numbers were highest in the most heavily infected of the puppies. Villous goblet cell numbers increased rapidly after treatment of the puppies with piperazine or after the spontaneous elimination of the T. canis infection while crypt goblet cell numbers were less affected by elimination of the parasites. Intra-epithelial lymphocyte numbers were lowest in 33- to 37-day-old puppies infected with greater than 127 T. canis and highest in 44- to 46-day-old puppies losing their infection. Infection with T. canis had no apparent effect on mast cell numbers or pyroninophilic cell numbers in the lamina propria.

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