Cool Case Pearl

Pearl, a 2 year old English Bulldog, presented to NorthStar VETS with a chronic history of diarrhea and weight loss. In fact, she continued to lose weight despite many treatment options. To reach a definitive diagnosis, Pearl had biopsies of her gastrointestinal tract. Biopsies were consistent with a condition called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Although the etiology in many cases of IBD is unknown, there are several factors which may contribute to this condition including parasites, bacterial disease, immune mediated response, and food hypersensitivity, among others. Regardless of the cause, IBD can many times be controlled with more traditional treatments. These treatments include treating the bacterial or parasitic disease, specific diets, and steroids to calm the immune system.

Dr. Wylie examines Pearl

Dr. Wylie examines Pearl

Unfortunately, in Pearl’s case, she did not respond to the more traditional treatments. Pearl continued to lose weight and the diarrhea was persistent. At this point, Dr. Wylie and the team at NorthStar VETS looked to more nontraditional methods. This nontraditional method included a fecal transplant.

A fecal transplant involves taking a donor’s stool (from a healthy dog), once they have passed the necessary screening tests, and making it into a slurry. The slurry is then transplanted into the patient’s gastrointestinal tract either across the scope via endoscopy or as a retention enema. This has been extensively used as a treatment option in human medicine, but it has been a fairly newer concept in veterinary medicine. This type of procedure can be used to help patients with inflammatory bowel disease or bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis).

Arya was the donor for Pearl

Arya was the donor for Pearl

In Pearl’s case, the transplant was performed via retention enema, and the donor was Dr. Wylie’s own dog, Arya! The transplant seemed to work very well. In fact, Pearl’s stool was normal that night. She did have a week where she had some diarrhea, but ever since, Pearl’s stool has been completely normal!

It is important to note that even though results can be seen as quickly as 24-48 hours, some patients can take a little bit longer to respond. Others may not respond at all. Fecal transplants can be used as needed. Luckily, Pearl has only needed one transplant and has been doing great since.

Learn more about the Internal Medicine service at NorthStar VETS.

Stacie Wylie, DVM, DACVIM
Stacie Wylie, DVM, DACVIMDr. Stacey Wylie is a Pennsylvania native who received her undergraduate degree from Millersville University in 2009. She earned her veterinary degree from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After graduation, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ. She then returned to Michigan State University and completed a 3-year residency in small animal internal medicine in 2017, receiving Resident of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. Dr. Wylie is excited to be part of the NorthStar VETS team. She loves all things medicine, but her special interests include renal, hepatobiliary, gastrointestinal, and respiratory diseases as well as endoscopy and feline medicine.

She currently resides with her husband, their 3 cats (Aeris, Yuffie, and Leon) and adorable pittie mix (Arya). Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, playing ice hockey and volleyball, reading, and playing video games. She is also a passionate MSU Spartan and Philadelphia Flyers fan.

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