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The pancreas is the primary source of serum lipase, although it may originate from extrapancreatic sources. In the dog, pancreatitis or pancreatic damage results in elevated serum lipase, however the magnitude of lipase activity does not correspond to the severity of disease. The enzyme is cleared via the kidney therefore renal dysfunction will result in increased activity but not usually more than 2-3 times normal. Some patients with duodenal foreign bodies, chronic gastritis and abdominal neoplasia have very high lipase activity in the absence of pancreatic damage. Administration of glucocorticoids can also induce high lipase activity. In cats lipase elevation is not a consistent finding in cases of pancreatitis. The DGGR method used for lipase is affected, as other lipase methods, by renal disease and exogenous or endogenous steroids. High levels with a strong clinical index of suspicion for pancreatitis, correlates well with high levels of cPLI indicating pancreatitis.

Small animals

Causes of increased lipase activity

  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Glucocorticoid administration
  • Renal failure
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Pancreatic neoplasia and abscessation
  • Hepatic disease (dog)

Complementary tests

Amylase, TLI, cPLI or fPLI, urea and creatinine, ALT.

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PLI (Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity)

Canine PLI (cPLI) has been shown to be sensitive and specific for pancreatitis and have the advantage of remaining increased after the TLI has returned to normal. Feline PLI is also available

although there is little published information on assay performance.

Complementary tests

Lipase and TLI. In cats, chronic small intestine disease with associated chronic pancreatitis is more common than primary pancreatitis and in this species, vitamin B12 and folate should also

be measured.

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Authors & References

NationWide Laboratories