Rudy Hartrick Initiative

Rudy Hartrick

The GI Lab team is very excited to announce a new initiative to improve gastrointestinal health in dogs made possible by a generous donation. Vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most common problems for which dogs are presented to a veterinarian. While some dogs may just have intestinal parasites, most others have more complicated problems that often require an extensive medical work-up. In fact, many of these dogs will need to undergo collection of biopsies from the gastrointestinal tract to try to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. Also, even if gastrointestinal biopsies are being collected, they often fail to reveal a specific diagnosis. Thus, new diagnostic tests that are non-invasive, affordable, and help to reach a definitive diagnosis that lead to specific treatments are sorely needed in small animal gastroenterology.

Rudy Hartrick is one of these dogs with chronic diarrhea, the causation of which is currently unknown. His situation highlights the need for research aimed at assisting dogs with gastrointestinal issues.

In honor of Rudy, his owner and companion, Janice Hartrick, has assisted the GI Lab at Texas A&M University in forming a new initiative, the Rudy Hartrick Initiative for Canine Gastrointestinal Health. The goal of this initiative is to develop novel diagnostic tests that are non-invasive, affordable, and help reach a definitive diagnosis, while avoiding invasive biopsies and thus improving overall health and well-being of dogs. More specifically, the GI Lab will undertake studies to attempt to identify a new serum marker for gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach) in dogs and also to identify a new serum marker for lymphocytic inflammation of the small intestine (lymphocytes are a specific type of white blood cells). Over the last 10 years, the GI Lab has developed a series of diagnostic tests to evaluate inflammatory diseases of the GI tract. However, markers for gastritis or lymphocytic intestinal inflammation, the most common type of intestinal inflammation, in the dog are currently not available.

Donations like this one are crucial in moving small animal gastroenterology forward in order to achieve better health for our canine and feline companions. Please contact us if you or one of your clients is interested in funding similar programs aimed at improving gastrointestinal health in dogs and cats (Jörg M. Steiner).