Commercial diets do not affect the colonic ultrastructure of normal dogs
Commercial and homemade diets are currently used to treat many canine patients with acquired disorders of the colon. Clinically, the efficacy of diets has been found to be unpredictable. Only one study to date has evaluated the effect of diet on the colonic mucosa. This study showed that diet did not observably alter the colonic mucosa of normal dogs, when biopsy samples were evaluated by light microscopy. The effect of diet on colonic ultrastructure in the dog, using transmission electron microscopy, has not previously been investigated.
To determine the effect of diet on colonic ultrastructure, cell height, cell area, microvillus height, number of microvilli/apex width and basement membrane width were measured. Ten cells per animal were evaluated. Six dogs were assigned to the control group and fed the control diet for the duration of the study. Six dogs were fed each of the three test diets at four week intervals. The test diets used included a high fiber diet, a hypoallergenic diet and a highly digestible diet. These diets were selected because they are the diets most often recommended for the canine patient with colonic disorders. The value for cell height for the highly digestible group was significantly greater than the other groups, as measured by ANOV A and Duncan's multiple comparison test. No other significant differences were found. The biological relevance of a significantly different value for cell height alone is difficult to evaluate, as other parameters that would indicate an alteration in maturation or proliferation of the colonic epithelial cells did not change. value for cell height alone is difficult to evaluate, as other parameters that would indicate an alteration in maturation or proliferation of the colonic epithelial cells did not change. Therefore, we conclude that commercial diets do not have an effect on the colonic ultrastructure of normal dogs. Although no effect of diet was found, this study does provide morphologic measurements that can be used as a basis for future ultrastructural studies of the colonic mucosa.