Department: Clinical Science and Services
Clinical Groups: Small Animal Internal Medicine
Research Centres: Clinical Investigation Centre
Karin is Professor in Small Animal Internal Medicine and Head of the Clinical Investigation Centre at the RVC. She currently spends part of her time on clinics in the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals and the rest of her time on research and teaching. Her main research interest is in canine inflammatory bowel disease.
Karin graduated from the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland, in 1993. After achieving a Doctoral Thesis at the University of Zurich, she completed an Internship in Small Animal Emergency/Critical Care at Tufts University followed by a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2000, Karin was employed in a joint position as lecturer and PhD student in Veterinary Immunology at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and completed her PhD thesis in 2005 on the immunology of chronic enteropathies in dogs.
Since 2005, Karin has been working as a Lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the RVC and has been promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009, Associate Profressor and Reader in 2012, and Professor in 2014. She is currently Head of the Clinical Investigation Centre at the RVC.
Karin is a specialist in small animal practice (FVH) and a Diplomate of the European College of Small Animal Internal Medicine (DipECVIM-CA).
For more information on Karin's current research please visit the website
Allenspach Lab - Canine Innate Immunity Group (temporarily unavailable)
Karin’s current main area of research is in IBD and other causes of chronic diarrhoea in dogs. Her research team are looking at the immunology behind the disease and especially the interaction of the intestinal microbiome with innate immune receptors. Karin’s research also involves various treatment trials for these diseases. Karin collaborates with Oliver Garden, Dirk Werling, Arthur House, Dan Chan, Brian Catchpole and others at the Royal Veterinary College.
We currently have no openings for new PhD positions. Please check back on this site for upcoming opportunities.
Alumni PhD students:
Aarti Kathrani (successful defense Sept 2011), RVC; co-supervisors: Prof. Dirk Werling, Dr. A. House
Silke Schmitz (successful defense Sept 2013), RVC; co-supervisor Prof. Dirk Werling
Chris Asquith (successful defense in Sept 2014) (UCL), primary supervisor: Stephen Hilton, co-supervisor: Karin Allenspach
Current PhD stduents:
Linda Matthewman (RVC); co-supervisor Prof. Dirk Werling
Atiyeh Peiravan (RVC), co-supervisor Prof. Dirk Werling
Romy Heilmann (Texas A&M University)
Project title: S0012 proteins as markers for inflammatory bowel disease in dogs
International research collaborators:
Perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies in dogs infected with various vector-borne pathogens and in dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.
Karagianni AE, Solano-Gallego L, Breitschwerdt EB, Gaschen FP, Day MJ, Trotta M, Wieland B, Allenspach K. Am J Vet Res. 2012 Sep;73(9):1403-9. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.73.9.1403.PMID: 22924722
Canine inflammatory bowel disease: Does innate immunity fail to discriminate between friend and foe? Catchpole B, Allenspach K.
Vet J. 2012 Apr 16. PMID: 22513299
Prevalence of perinuclear antineutrophilic cytoplasmic autoantibodies in serum of healthy Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers in the United Kingdom. Wieland B, Summers JF, Häsler B, Mancho-Alonso C, Craig A, Allenspach K. Am J Vet Res. 2012 Mar;73(3):404-8. PMID: 22369533
Gene expression of selected signature cytokines of T cell subsets in duodenal tissues of dogs with and without inflammatory bowel disease. Schmitz S, Garden OA, Werling D, Allenspach K. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Mar 15;146(1):87-91. Epub 2012 Jan 21. PMID: 22333286
TLR5 risk-associated haplotype for canine inflammatory bowel disease confers hyper-responsiveness to flagellin. Kathrani A, Holder A, Catchpole B, Alvarez L, Simpson K, Werling D, Allenspach K. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30117. Epub 2012 Jan 18. PMID: 22279566
Canine breeds at high risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease in the south-eastern UK. Kathrani A, Werling D, Allenspach K. Vet Rec. 2011 Dec 10;169(24):635. Epub 2011 Sep 6. PMID: 21896567
Breed-independent toll-like receptor 5 polymorphisms show association with canine inflammatory bowel disease. Kathrani A, House A, Catchpole B, Murphy A, Werling D, Allenspach K. Tissue Antigens. 2011 Aug;78(2):94-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.2011.01707.x. Epub 2011 May 29. PMID: 21623734
CD11c+ cells are significantly decreased in the duodenum, ileum and colon of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease. Kathrani A, Schmitz S, Priestnall SL, Smith KC, Werling D, Garden OA, Allenspach K. J Comp Pathol. 2011 Nov;145(4):359-66. Epub 2011 May 17. PMID: 21592490
Clinical immunology and immunopathology of the canine and feline intestine. Allenspach K. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2011 Mar;41(2):345-60. Review. PMID: 21486640
Hypercoagulability in dogs with protein-losing enteropathy. Goodwin LV, Goggs R, Chan DL, Allenspach K. J Vet Intern Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;25(2):273-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.0683.x. Epub 2011 Feb 11. PMID: 21314726
Polymorphisms in the TLR4 and TLR5 gene are significantly associated with inflammatory bowel disease in German shepherd dogs.
Kathrani A, House A, Catchpole B, Murphy A, German A, Werling D, Allenspach K.
PLoS One. 2010 Dec 23;5(12):e15740.PMID: 21203467
Comparisons between cats with normal and increased fPLI concentrations in cats diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Bailey S, Benigni L, Eastwood J, Garden OA, McMahon L, Smith K, Steiner JM, Suchodolski JS, Allenspach K. J Small Anim Pract. 2010 Sep;51(9):484-9.
Evaluation of mucosal bacteria and histopathology, clinical disease activity and expression of Toll-like receptors in German shepherd dogs with chronic enteropathies.
Allenspach K, House A, Smith K, McNeill FM, Hendricks A, Elson-Riggins J, Riddle A, Steiner JM, Werling D, Garden OA, Catchpole B, Suchodolski JS. Vet Microbiol. 2010 Dec 15;146(3-4):326-35. Epub 2010 May 27.
Expression of Toll-like receptor 2 in duodenal biopsies from dogs with inflammatory bowel disease is associated with severity of disease. McMahon LA, House AK, Catchpole B, Elson-Riggins J, Riddle A, Smith K, Werling D, Burgener IA, Allenspach K. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2010 May 15;135(1-2):158-63. Epub 2009 Dec 1.
Activation of nuclear factor-kappaB in dogs with chronic enteropathies.
Luckschander N, Hall JA, Gaschen F, Forster U, Wenzlow N, Hermann P, Allenspach K, Dobbelaere D, Burgener IA, Welle M. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2010 Feb 15;133(2-4):228-36. Epub 2009 Aug 21.
Elevated canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity concentration in dogs with inflammatory bowel disease is associated with a negative outcome. Kathrani A, Steiner JM, Suchodolski J, Eastwood J, Syme H, Garden OA, Allenspach K. J Small Anim Pract. 2009 Mar;50(3):126-32.
Interactive clinical cases in veterinary education used to promote independent study.
Allenspach K, Bell J, Whittlestone KD. J Vet Med Educ. 2008 Winter;35(4):589-94.
Evaluation of endosonography as a new diagnostic tool for feline pancreatitis.
Schweighauser A, Gaschen F, Steiner J, Allenspach K, Francey T, Gaschen L.
J Feline Med Surg. 2009 Jun;11(6):492-8.
Evaluation of perinuclear anti-neutrophilic cytoplasmic autoantibodies as an early marker of protein-losing enteropathy and protein-losing nephropathy in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. Allenspach K, Lomas B, Wieland B, Harris T, Pressler B, Mancho C, Lees GE, Vaden SL. Am J Vet Res. 2008 Oct;69(10):1301-4
XENOULIS, P. G., PALCULICT, B., ALLENSPACH, K., STEINER, J. M., VAN HOUSE, A. M. & SUCHODOLSKI, J. S. (2008) Molecular-phylogenetic characterization of microbial communities imbalances in the small intestine of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. PubMed ID 18647355
SUCHODOLSKI, J. S., MORRIS, E. K., ALLENSPACH, K., JERGENS, A. E., HARMOINEN, J. A., WESTERMARCK, E. & STEINER, J. M. (2008) Prevalence and identification of fungal DNA in the small intestine of healthy dogs and dogs with chronic enteropathies. Vet Microbiol. PubMed ID 18586415
SCHREINER, N. M., GASCHEN, F., GRONE, A., SAUTER, S. N. & ALLENSPACH, K. (2008) Clinical Signs, Histology, and CD3-Positive Cells before and after Treatment of Dogs with Chronic Enteropathies. J Vet Intern Med. PubMed ID 18673423
GASCHEN, L., KIRCHER, P., STUSSI, A., ALLENSPACH, K., GASCHEN, F., DOHERR, M. & GRONE, A. (2008) Comparison of ultrasonographic findings with clinical activity index (CIBDAI) and diagnosis in dogs with chronic enteropathies. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 49, 56-64. PubMed ID 18251296
BURGENER, I. A., KONIG, A., ALLENSPACH, K., SAUTER, S. N., BOISCLAIR, J., DOHERR, M. G. & JUNGI, T. W. (2008) Upregulation of toll-like receptors in chronic enteropathies in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 22, 553-560. PubMed ID 18466244
WALKER, D., GARDEN, O. & ALLENSPACH, K. (2007) Canine inflammatory bowel disease. Vet Rec 160, 560. PubMed ID 17449716
SCHONIGER, S., BRIDGER, N., ALLENSPACH, K., MANTIS, P., REST, J. & STEEVES, E. (2007) Sinonasal plasmacytoma in a cat. J Vet Diagn Invest 19, 573-577. PubMed ID 17823407
ALLENSPACH, K., WIELAND, B., GRONE, A. & GASCHEN, F. (2007) Chronic enteropathies in dogs: evaluation of risk factors for negative outcome. J Vet Intern Med 21, 700-708. PubMed ID 17708389
ALLENSPACH, K. (2007) Tests to investigate gastrointestinal diseases in dogs--which markers are actually useful for the practitioner? J Small Anim Pract 48, 607-608. PubMed ID 17986013
SAUTER, S. N., BENYACOUB, J., ALLENSPACH, K., GASCHEN, F., ONTSOUKA, E., REUTELER, G., CAVADINI, C., KNORR, R. & BLUM, J. W. (2006) Effects of probiotic bacteria in dogs with food responsive diarrhoea treated with an elimination diet. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 90, 269-277. PubMed ID 16867072
LUCKSCHANDER, N., ALLENSPACH, K., HALL, J., SEIBOLD, F., GRONE, A., DOHERR, M. G. & GASCHEN, F. (2006) Perinuclear antineutrophilic cytoplasmic antibody and response to treatment in diarrheic dogs with food responsive disease or inflammatory bowel disease. J Vet Intern Med 20, 221-227. PubMed ID 16594575
ALLENSPACH, K., VADEN, S. L., HARRIS, T. S., GRONE, A., DOHERR, M. G., GRIOT-WENK, M. E., BISCHOFF, S. C. & GASCHEN, F. (2006) Evaluation of colonoscopic allergen provocation as a diagnostic tool in dogs with proven food hypersensitivity reactions. J Small Anim Pract 47, 21-26. PubMed ID 16417606
ALLENSPACH, K., STEINER, J. M., SHAH, B. N., BERGHOFF, N., RUAUX, C., WILLIAMS, D. A., BLUM, J. W. & GASCHEN, F. (2006) Evaluation of gastrointestinal permeability and mucosal absorptive capacity in dogs with chronic enteropathy. Am J Vet Res 67, 479-483. PubMed ID 16506911
ALLENSPACH, K., RUFENACHT, S., SAUTER, S., GRONE, A., STEFFAN, J., STREHLAU, G. & GASCHEN, F. (2006) Pharmacokinetics and clinical efficacy of cyclosporine treatment of dogs with steroid-refractory inflammatory bowel disease. J Vet Intern Med 20, 239-244. PubMed ID 16594578
ALLENSPACH, K., BERGMAN, P. J., SAUTER, S., GRONE, A., DOHERR, M. G. & GASCHEN, F. (2006) P-glycoprotein expression in lamina propria lymphocytes of duodenal biopsy samples in dogs with chronic idiopathic enteropathies. J Comp Pathol 134, 1-7. PubMed ID 16325844
SPICHIGER, A. C., ALLENSPACH, K., ONTSOUKA, E., GASCHEN, F., MOREL, C., BLUM, J. W. & SAUTER, S. N. (2005) Abundance of mRNA of growth hormone receptor and insulin-like growth factors-1 and -2 in duodenal and colonic biopsies of dogs with chronic enteropathies*. J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med 52, 491-497. PubMed ID 16300656
SAUTER, S. N., ALLENSPACH, K., GASCHEN, F., GRONE, A., ONTSOUKA, E. & BLUM, J. W. (2005) Cytokine expression in an ex vivo culture system of duodenal samples from dogs with chronic enteropathies: modulation by probiotic bacteria. Domest Anim Endocrinol 29, 605-622. PubMed ID 15941645
GASCHEN, L., KIRCHER, P., LANG, J., GASCHEN, F., ALLENSPACH, K. & GRONE, A. (2005) Pattern recognition and feature extraction of canine celiac and cranial mesenteric arterial waveforms: normal versus chronic enteropathy--a pilot study. Vet J 169, 242-250. PubMed ID 15727916
ALLENSPACH, K. & GASCHEN, F. (2003) [Chronic intestinal diseases in the dog: a review]. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 145, 209-219, 221-202. PubMed ID 12784482
ALLENSPACH, K., ARNOLD, P., GLAUS, T., HAUSER, B., WOLFF, C., EBERLE, C. & KOMMINOTH, P. (2000) Glucagon-producing neuroendocrine tumour associated with hypoaminoacidaemia and skin lesions. J Small Anim Pract 41, 402-406. PubMed ID 11023126
LEUTENEGGER, C. M., HOFMANN-LEHMANN, R., HOLZNAGEL, E., CUISINIER, A. M., WOLFENSBERGER, C., DUQUESNE, V., CRONIER, J., ALLENSPACH, K., AUBERT, A., OSSENT, P. & LUTZ, H. (1998) Partial protection by vaccination with recombinant feline immunodeficiency virus surface glycoproteins. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 14, 275-283. PubMed ID 9491919
HOLZNAGEL, E., HOFMANN-LEHMANN, R., LEUTENEGGER, C. M., ALLENSPACH, K., HUETTNER, S., FORSTER, U., NIEDERER, E., JOLLER, H., WILLETT, B. J., HUMMEL, U., ROSSI, G. L., SCHUPBACH, J. & LUTZ, H. (1998) The role of in vitro-induced lymphocyte apoptosis in feline immunodeficiency virus infection: correlation with different markers of disease progression. J Virol 72, 9025-9033. PubMed ID 9765447
LUTZ, H., HOFMANN-LEHMANN, R., LEUTENEGGER, C., ALLENSPACH, K., CUISINIER, A. M., CRONIER, J., DUQUESNE, V. & AUBERT, A. (1996) Vaccination of cats with recombinant envelope glycoprotein of feline immunodeficiency virus: decreased viral load after challenge infection. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 12, 431-433. PubMed ID 8882327
HOLZNAGEL, E., HOFMANN-LEHMANN, R., ALLENSPACH, K., HUTTNER, S., WILLETT, B., GROSCURTH, P., NIEDERER, E. & LUTZ, H. (1996) Flow cytometric detection of activation-induced cell death (apoptosis) in peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations from healthy cats. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 52, 1-14. PubMed ID 8807772
ALLENSPACH, K., AMACKER, M., LEUTENEGGER, C. M., HOTTIGER, M., HOFMANN-LEHMANN, R., HUBSCHER, U., PISTELLO, M. & LUTZ, H. (1996) [Quantification of proviral FIV DNA using competitive PCR]. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 138, 87-92. PubMed ID 8720733
ALLENSPACH, K., HAGEN, A. & FLUCKIGER, M. (1995) [What is your diagnosis? Congenital pulmonary stenosis with signs of a distinct diminishing lung perfusion]. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 137, 184-186. PubMed ID 7569841
Karin is heavily involved with teaching at the college. As well as teaching undergraduate rotational students and supervising senior clinical training scholars whilst on clinics Karin is strand leader and lectures in the Alimentary Strand for third year BVetMed students and runs directed learning sessions, as well as being involved as a module leader and teacher in the MVetMed for senior clinical training scholars (residents) in small animal internal medicine. She also teaches in the Final Year Elective Program and supervises a number of clinical research projects done by final-year elective students, masters students, PhD students and residents (SCTS). In addition, Karin runs a number of CPD courses including online CPD courses at the RVC.
Karin supervises all types of cases referred to the Internal Medicine Service at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. She has a special interest in gastroenterology, especially IBD in dogs and cats, and is keen to improve non-invasive testing for these cases including genetic tests. Karin is always happy to discuss any possible referral cases.
We have many relations with charities sponsoring our research as well as with dog breed clubs supporting our various clinical research activities. Please visit our research website for further information.
Associated breeds and breed health clubs
Correlation of genotype with phenotype: Moving towards individual pharmacogenomic treatment for canine inflammatory bowel disease
At the Royal Veterinary College, We are investigating the genetic cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in German shepherd dogs (GSDs), part of which we will be setting up a new DNA archive of GSD samples. We are looking for blood or saliva samples from GSDs that have been diagnosed with IBD as ‘cases’, and from GSDs without IBD that are over 8 years old as ‘controls’.