Department: Clinical Science and Services
Feline chronic inflammatory enteropathy (CIE) can cause long-standing gastrointestinal signs and is a debilitating disease, which can ultimately result in euthanasia. The exact cause of feline CIE is unknown and therefore treatment is a sequential or combination approach with diet, antibiotics and immunosuppressive medication depending on the severity of signs. Despite the different therapies available, some cats do not respond adequately. Therefore, more research into the characteristics and mechanism of feline CIE is needed to allow for the development of targeted treatment that may be more effective.
Although, fibrosis is often reported in intestinal biopsies from cats with CIE, the clinical significance is unknown. Therefore, characterising the frequency, type and degree of intestinal fibrosis in cats with CIE will allow for the estimation of prevalence of fibrosis in these cats. Also, correlating the degree of fibrosis with the severity of gastrointestinal signs, laboratory parameters, imaging findings, intestinal inflammatory infiltrate, treatment response and outcome will help to determine the clinical significance of the intestinal fibrosis and whether additional histochemical stains to identify early fibrotic change is warranted at histological diagnosis. Finally, if intestinal fibrosis is shown to impact treatment response and outcome, then further studies should focus on determining the underlying mechanism of the fibrotic pathways to allow for targeted therapy.
The purpose of this study is to characterise and determine the clinical significance of intestinal fibrosis in cats with chronic inflammatory enteropathy (CIE).
Our hypothesis is that intestinal fibrosis is prevalent in cats with CIE and has clinical significance by reducing response to treatment and worsening outcome.
The objectives of our study include:
- Retrospectively determining the frequency, type and degree of intestinal fibrosis in 100 cats with CIE to allow for the estimation of prevalence of fibrosis in these cats.
- To correlate the degree of intestinal fibrosis in these cats with:
- Historical findings including the severity of gastrointestinal signs and results from diagnostic investigations, including laboratory parameters, imaging findings, intestinal inflammatory infiltrate and histopathology score.
- Treatment response and outcome to help to determine the clinical significance of the intestinal fibrosis
Jergens AE. Feline idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease: what we know and what remains to be unraveled. J Feline Med Surg 2012;14:445-458.
Speca S, Giusti I, Rieder F, et al. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of intestinal fibrosis. World J Gastroenterol 2012;18:3635-3661.
Penninck DG, Webster CR, Keating JH. The sonographic appearance of intestinal mucosal fibrosis in cats. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:458-461.
Fiocchi C, Lund PK. Themes in fibrosis and gastrointestinal inflammation. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2011;300:G677-683.
- Must meet our standard MRes entry requirements
- A veterinary degree is essential for this post.
- A background in immunohistochemistry and veterinary pathology is desirable
This project is full-time and commences in October 2021, based at RVC's Hawkshead campus.
The project costs and “Home” tuition fees are covered by funding from PetSavers. The student will receive a stipend.
International applicants are welcome to apply but must be able to fund the difference between "Home" and "Overseas" tuition fees.
Please note that EU/EEA and Swiss national students may no longer be eligible for the “Home” rate of tuition fees, dependent on personal circumstances (including immigration status and residence history in the UK) and UK government rules which are currently being developed. For up-to-date information on fees for EU/EEA and Swiss national students following Brexit please see our fees and funding page.
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How to Apply
For more information on the application process and English Language requirements see How to Apply.