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Chronic intestinal problems are common in older cats and generally result from one of two causes: lymphocytic‐plasmacytic enteropathy (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) or small cell lymphoma. A diagnosis is made via biopsy and histopathologic (microscopic) evaluation. The trouble is it is not always easy to distinguish between the two problems, even with histopathology. That makes it difficult to determine the best treatment and prognosis.

A recent study by the Gastrointestinal Laboratory at Texas A & M University looked at tissue samples retrospectively to see if a new technique could help distinguish between the two conditions. Samples from 41 cats with lymphocytic plasmacytic enteropathy and 52 cats with small cell lymphoma were evaluated. The average age of the cats was 11.