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The current study aimed to determine the specificity, and to a lesser extent the sensitivity, of canine pancreatic-specific lipase (cPL) concentration in dogs with various disease conditions. Dogs were presented for postmortem examination and had serum collected for cPL concentration within 6 hr preceding death or immediately postmortem. Pancreatic tissue was collected postmortem, and sections from the left lobe, right lobe, and body of the pancreas were examined histologically. Inflammation and fibrosis in each section were assessed to determine a total pancreatic inflammatory score and pancreatic fibrosis score in each dog. Correlations between these scores and the cPL concentration were made, as well as determination of specificity. A total of 32 dogs were included in the analysis, 20 of whom had no to minimal pancreatic inflammation. The specificity of cPL with a cutoff value of 200 µg/l was 80% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 56-94%), while with a cutoff of 400 µg/l, the specificity was 90% (95% CI: 68-99%). There was a significant but rather low correlation between cPL concentration and the pancreatic inflammation score, but not with the fibrosis score. Canine pancreatic-specific lipase concentration has good specificity overall in dogs without pancreatitis. This test is less useful in dogs with milder pancreatitis, and both false-positive and false-negative results occur. Results indicated that dogs with clinical signs suggestive of pancreatitis would require abdominal imaging in addition to serum cPL testing to evaluate the cause (or causes) of clinical signs.


Caroline S Mansfield, Garry A Anderson, Amanda J O'Hara. Association between canine pancreatic-specific lipase and histologic exocrine pancreatic inflammation in dogs: assessing specificity. Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc. 2012 Mar;24(2):312-8

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PMID: 22362529

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