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Gastrointestinal lesions and bleeding in dogs with mast cell tumours


Mast cell tumours (MCT) are a type of cancer of the skin and subcutaneous tissues that are relatively common in dogs. Mast cells are inflammatory cells that produce many substances that are involved in the inflammatory response including histamine. Histamine causes an increase in the acidity in the stomach, which can result in gastritis, vomiting, gastric ulcers and intestinal lesions in dogs with mast cell tumours. The prevalence of concurrent gastrointestinal lesions and mast cell tumours in dogs is currently unknown.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to utilize a new technology that utilizes a swallowed pill to noninvasively obtain images of the dog’s gastrointestinal tract to determine the frequency of gastritis, gastric ulceration and intestinal lesions in dogs with mast cell tumours. The findings of gastrointestinal lesions will then be used to attempt to correlate those findings with the size, type, grade and extent of spread of the mast cell tumour. In addition, the gastrointestinal lesions in will be correlated with the amount of histamine measured in the dog’s blood. This may help in the future to predict which dogs may have undetected gastrointestinal lesions (e.g. stomach ulceration) with mast cell tumours.

The goal of this study is to:

  • Evaluate the prevalence and severity of gastrointestinal lesions in dogs with naturally occurring MCT via video capsule endoscopy (VCE).
  • Correlate the presence/degree of gastrointestinal lesions/bleeding with tumour burden, tumour stage, tumour grade, tumour location, and/or c-kit mutation status.
  • Correlate the presence/degree of gastrointestinal lesions/bleeding with the plasma histamine concentration.

Inclusion criteria & eligibility:

  • Dogs (> 6 kg) with naturally occurring mast cell tumour disease presented to the OVCHSC will be eligible for entry into the study.
  • There is no cost to participate in this study.

Study design (what happens?):

Eligible patients will be fasted for ~8-12 hours before capsule ingestion. The patient will be administered a capsule (size of a pill) and fasted for ~4-6 more hours.

The patient will also have recorder unit and sensor belt placed on them for the 8-15 hours while the pill transmits images to the belt/recorder unit. The owner will be asked to return the recorder unit and sensor belt.

The patient will also have 5 mL of blood drawn.


  • Dr. Paul Woods (PI)


Vicky Sabine (PhD), Clinical Research Coordinator

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