Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Immunoproliferative enteropathy in the Basenji

Synonym(s): Basenji enteropathy, IPEB

Contributor(s): James Simpson, Kenneth Simpson


  • A severe and progressive form of inflammatory bowel disease Inflammatory bowel disease: overview seen in the Basenji breed Basenji which is often refractory to treatment.
  • Uncommon, occurring in about 3% of Basenjis. However, asymptomatic carriers are thought to be common, having pathological changes in the intestine but exhibiting no clinical signs.
  • The gastrointestinal changes are usually confined to the stomach and small intestine and result in a protein losing enteropathy Protein-losing enteropathy that is unusual because it is associated with hypoalbuminemia Hypoproteinemia and hyperglobuminemia.
  • Similar type of enteropathy seen in man (Immunoproliferative Small Intestinal Disease, IPSID).



  • Not known but genetic predisposition thought to be important together with a stress factor, enteric infection or dietary component being required to initiate clinical signs.
  • Appears to be associated with an abnormal immune response by the alimentary tract.
  • Response to oral antibiotics suggest that a loss of tolerance to GI microflora may be involved.


  • Stress is frequently reported to initiate episodes of clinical disease.
  • Genetic predisposition?


  • Undefined immune response within the alimentary tract that results in a diffuse hypertrophic gastropathy, although 50% of cases may show evidence of atrophic gastropathy, and intestinal inflammation.
  • Severe protein losing enteropathy characterized by marked abnormalities in mucosal architecture and increased cellular infiltration involving involving the small intestine, not the colon.
  • Marked hyperglobulinemia and increased serum IgA.
  • Diarrhea associated with small intestinal lymphocytic plamacytic enteritis which can be severe enough to result in hypoalbuminemia and therefore can be classified as a protein losing enteropathy.
  • Diarrhea may in some part be due to hypersecretion of gastric acid inactivating pancreatic enzymes.
  • Some patients also have mild glomerular nephritis Glomerulonephritis associated with immune complex deposition, ulcerative dermatitis of pinnae, all suggesting an immune mediated disease.


  • Once clinical signs develop the disease is generally progressive with most dogs being euthanazed within two years of diagnosis, although reports of dogs surviving for five or more years have been documented.


  • Reported to occur in 3% of the Basenji population.
  • Almost always seen within the first three years of life.
  • Asymptomatic carriers appear more common.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Peterson P B & Willard M D (2003) Protein losing enteropathies. Vet Clin North Am 33 (5), 1061-1083 PubMed.
  • Breitschwerdt E B (1992) Immunoproliferative enteropathy in Basenjis. Sem Vet Med and Surg 7 (2), 153-156 PubMed.
  • Breitschwerdt E B, MacLachlan N J, Argenzio R A, Hurlbert S A, Babineseau C, & De Buysscher E V (1991) Gastric acid secretion in Basenji dogs with immunoproliferative enteropathy. JVIM (1), 34-39 PubMed.
  • De Buysscher E V, Breitschwerdt E B & MacLachlan N J (1988) Elevated serum IgA associated with immunoproliferative enteropahty of Basenji dogs: lack of evidence for alpha heavy-chain disease or enhanced intestinal IgA secretion. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 20 (1), 41-52 PubMed.
  • Breitschwerdt E B, Ochoa R, Barta M, Barta O, McClure J & Waltman C (1984) Clinical and laboratory characterization of Basenjis with immunoproliferative small intestinal disease. Am J Vet Res 45 (2), 267-273 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Guilford W G (1996)Idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease.In:Strombecks Small Animal Gastroenterology. 2nd edn. W B Saunders, Philadelphia. p 451-486.