Closed duodenal loops may be made in dogs by ligatures placed just below the pancreatic duct and just beyond the duodenojejunal junction, together with a posterior gastro-enterostomy.
These closed duodenal loop dogs die with symptoms like those of patients suffering from volvulus or high intestinal obstruction. This duodenal loop may simulate closely a volvulus in which there has been no vascular disturbance.
Dogs with closed duodenal loops which have been washed out carefully survive a little longer on the average than animals with unwashed loops. The duration of life in the first instance is one to three days, with an average of about forty-eight hours.
The dogs usually lose considerable fluid by vomiting and diarrhea. A weak pulse, low blood pressure and temperature are usually conspicuous in the last stages.
Autopsy shows more or less splanchnic congestion which may be most marked in the mucosa of the upper small intestine. The peritoneum is usually clear and the closed loop may be distended with thin fluid, or collapsed, and contain only a small amount of pasty brown material. The mucosa of the loop may show ulceration and even perforation, but in the majority of cases it is intact and exhibits only a moderate congestion.
Simple intestinal obstruction added to a closed duodenal loop does not modify the result in any manner, but it may hasten the fatal outcome.
The liver plays no essential role as a protective agent against this poison, for a dog with an Eck fistula may live three days with a closed loop. A normal dog reacts to intraportal injection and to intravenous injection of the toxic substance in an identical manner.
Drainage of this loop under certain conditions may not interfere with the general health over a period of weeks or months.
Excision of the part of the duodenum included in this loop causes no disturbance.
The material from the closed duodenal loops contains no bile, pancreatic juice, gastric juice, or split products from the food. It can be formed in no other way than by the activity of the intestinal mucosa and the growth of the intestinal bacteria.
This material after dilution, autolysis, sterilization, and filtration produces a characteristic effect when introduced intravenously. When in toxic doses it causes a profound drop in blood pressure, general collapse, drop in temperature, salivation, vomiting, and profuse diarrhea, which is often blood-stained.
Splanchnic congestion is the conspicuous feature at autopsy and shows especially in the villi of the duodenal and jejunal mucosæ.
Adrenalin, during this period of low blood pressure and splanchnic congestion, will cause the usual reaction when given intravenously, but applied locally or given intravenously it causes no bleaching of the engorged intestinal mucosa.
Secretin is not found in the duodenal loop fluid, and the loop material does not influence the pancreatic secretion.
Intraportal injection of the toxic material gives a reaction similar to intravenous injection.
Intraperitoneal and subcutaneous injections produce a relatively slow reaction which closely resembles the picture seen in the closed duodenal loop dog. In both cases there is a relatively slow absorption, but the splanchnic congestion and other findings, though less intense, are present in both groups.
There seems, therefore, to be no escape from the conclusion that a poisonous substance is formed in this closed duodenal loop which is absorbed from it and causes intoxication and death. Injection of this toxic substance into a normal dog gives intoxication and a reaction more intense but similar to that developing in a closed-loop dog.