Fecal Canine Calprotectin
The Gastrointestinal Laboratory at Texas A&M University is
currently performing research in the field of novel markers that
aid in the management of canine patients with gastroenteropathies.
As part of these studies, we are currently evaluating fecal canine
calprotectin for assessment of dogs with gastroenteropathies.
Calprotectin is a cytosolic protein complex that is contained in
cells at sites of inflammation and has been associated with
inflammatory diseases in humans. In human medicine, fecal
calprotectin has been shown to be a sensitive non-invasive marker
for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal inflammation and colorectal
cancer, and is now widely used to determine disease activity and
predict relapses in humans with IBD.
A canine immunoassay for the measurement of fecal canine
calprotectin has recently been developed and analytically validated
at the GI Lab at Texas A&M University (1). This assay was shown
to pass the standard validation criteria for immunoassays, and
fecal calprotectin was shown to be stable in fecal samples
Most healthy dogs have a three-day mean fecal calprotectin
concentration of <65.4 µg/g (3).
The clinical utility of fecal canine calprotectin is currently
being evaluated to determine its usefulness for the diagnosis
and/or monitoring of canine patients with enteropathies, such as
antibiotic-responsive diarrhea, food-responsive diarrhea, or
idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. While it is too early to
comment on the overall usefulness of this new assay for the
diagnosis of dogs with chronic enteropathies, our studies so far
suggest that fecal calprotectin might be a robust marker for
disease activity in dogs with IBD. Thus, until further data become
available this assay might be an option for objectively assessing
disease activity in dogs with enteropathies involved in research
projects or for patients that are difficult to monitor by the
The fecal canine calprotectin assay is now available through the
Gastrointestinal Laboratory. Measurement of fecal calprotectin
requires three fecal samples (about one gram each) collected from
naturally passed fresh feces on three consecutive days. Pre-weighed
fecal collection tubes (available through the GI Lab; these are the
same tubes that are used for sample collection for fecal alpha1-PI)
need to be used. Samples should be frozen as soon as possible after
collection and should be shipped overnight on ice packs. The fecal
calprotectin assay is performed once a week. For results to be
available by 6 p.m. on Friday, samples need to arrive at the
laboratory by 10 a.m. on Thursday.
1. Heilmann RM, Suchodolski JS, Steiner JM. Development and
analytic validation of a radioimmunoassay for the quantification of
canine calprotectin in serum and feces from dogs. Am J Vet Res
2. Grellet A, Heilmann RM, Suchodolski JS, Feugier A, Casseleux
G, Biourge V, Bickel T, Polack B, Grandjean D, Steiner JM.
Evaluation of canine calprotectin in feces from a large group of
puppies. J Vet Intern Med 24(6), 1553, 2010.
3.Heilmann RM, Guard BC, Weber K, Suchodolski JS, Steiner JM.
Development and analytical validation of an enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay for the quantification of canine calprotectin
in serum and feces from dogs. J Vet Intern Med 25(3),
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