Evaluation of Serum Markers of Exocrine Pancreatic Function and Pathology in Dogs Presented for Necropsy
The objective of this study was to evaluate several serum markers of exocrine pancreatic function and pathology in dogs presented for necropsy.
Pancreata were sectioned every 2 cm in 197 dogs presented for necropsy, sections were scored for a variety of lesions, and acute (AI) and chronic (CI) pancreatitis indices were calculated. Serum activities of amylase (AA) and lipase (LA), and concentrations of trypsin-like immunoreactivity (cTLI), pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (cPLI), and trypsin-α1-proteinase inhibitor complexes were assessed for correlation with AI and CI.
In 147 (74.6%) dogs AI>0 and in 116 (58.9%) CI>0. Overall, cPLI, AA, and LA showed a positive correlation with AI, and cPLI and AA with CI (Spearman r-values: 0.337, 0.208, 0.301, 0.187, and 0.182). Of the 36 dogs (18.3%) without any histopathologic evidence of pancreatic inflammation, 15 (41.7%) had all the serum markers within the reference range.
Serum cPLI and AA showed a positive correlation with both AI and CI. However, several of the 36 dogs without histopathological evidence of pancreatic inflammation had serum markers above the reference ranges. Previous studies suggest that lack of specificity is an unlikely explanation for these observations. Pancreatic inflammation could have been missed due to patchy distribution of lesions and further histopathologic studies evaluating 1-cm slices did reveal additional lesions. Finally, in some dogs, blood had been collected shortly after death. Post mortem leakage of pancreatic enzymes, unrelated to pancreatic inflammation, may have occurred in these patients. Further studies are required to confirm this hypothesis and determine it's clinical implications.