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pancreatitis in dogs and cats

When the pancreas is diseased it is called acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis. is almost as frequent in cats as dogs. In cats, infectious agents such as toxoplasma, herpesvirus, FIP, and feline parvovirus may cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, causing leakage of the digestive enzymes whereby the pancreas literally starts to "digest itself.
The pancreas is an organ in the body located next to the small intestine just after the stomach.
The pancreas has two functions: 1) exocrine - to produce the enzymes needed to digest food, and 2) endocrine - to produce hormones, including the hormone insulin, which enables the uptake and storage of glucose (sugar) and amino acids (proteins).
Disease of the pancreas may also cause diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) or chronic pancreatic insufficiency, EPI.
Signs of pancreatitis are jaudice,respiratory distress,dehydration addominal pain,lethargy, vomiting and rapid heart rate,depression,diarrhea and/or fever,sunken eyes and dry mouth. Concurrent diseases could be cushings or Diabetes with pancreatitis.
A low-fat, high-fiber diet is helpful. "The most common cause of pancreatic insufficiency is chronic pancreatitis. With chronic pancreatitis there is an absence of digestive enzymes. Therefore, food will pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed. Thus, a form of malabsorbtion of food occurs. This form of pancreatitis in cats is commonly accompanied by diabetes since both the digestive as well as the insulin producing cells of the pancreas are involved.

Clinical signs of chronic pancreatitis include soft, pale and voluminous stools, weight loss, greasy soiling of the area around the rectum, and sometimes the entire hair coat"

1: Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2003 Sep;33(5):1181-95. " Diagnosis of pancreatitis.
Steiner JM.
Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474, USA.

In summary, pancreatitis is common in dogs and cats, but it seems that most cases remain undiagnosed. Serum amylase and lipase activities are useful as a quick screening test for pancreatitis in the dog only. Serum amylase or lipase activity must be at least three to five times the upper limit of the reference range to suggest a diagnosis of pancreatitis. Furthermore, the diagnosis must be confirmed by other diagnostic modalities, and normal test results do not eliminate the possibility of pancreatitis. Abdominal ultrasound is highly specific for pancreatitis in dogs and cats but is not particularly sensitive, especially in cats. Serum cPLI concentration is highly specific for exocrine pancreatic function and is also highly sensitive for pancreatitis. Similarly, initial data would suggest that serum fPLI is the most sensitive and specific diagnostic test for feline pancreatitis. Until further data are available, however, serum fPLI should be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests to arrive at a diagnosis of feline pancreatitis. Histopathologic evidence of pancreatitis is conclusive for a diagnosis of pancreatitis. In most cases, however, lesions are localized, and the lack of histopathologic evidence of pancreatitis does not eliminate a diagnosis of pancreatitis

J Small Anim Pract. 2003 Apr;44(4):177-80. : Zinc-associated acute pancreatitis in a dog.
Mikszewski JS, Saunders HM, Hess RS.
Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6010, USA.

Zinc-induced haemolytic anaemia is a common phenomenon in dogs in the USA following the ingestion of pennies minted after 1982. A case of acute pancreatitis secondary to zinc toxicosis in a dog is described. Acute pancreatitis has been reported in humans, following the ingestion of liquid zinc chloride, but zinc-associated pancreatitis has not been reported previously in the dog. The mechanism of toxicity is unknown, although the pathophysiology may relate to the role of the pancreas in zinc excretion. Acute pancreatitis as a sequela to zinc toxicosis in the dog represents a complication that may prolong hospitalisation and worsen the prognosis.
Res Vet Sci. 2003 Apr;74(2):137-44. : Assessing the severity of canine pancreatitis.
Mansfield CS, Jones BR, Spillman T.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland.

The objective of this study was to determine whether laboratory testing currently available is able to provide prognostic information in canine pancreatitis. A prospective study of dogs with naturally occurring pancreatitis was undertaken. Twenty-two cases with histologically confirmed pancreatic inflammation were included in the study. Each dog had routine haematology parameters, serum biochemistry (including lipase and amylase), serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity and trypsinogen activation peptides (TAP) in urine and plasma measured. Twelve of the dogs were classified as having severe disease. These dogs had statistically significant increases in urinary TAP-creatinine ratio (UTCR) measurement, serum lipase, serum phosphate and serum creatinine concentrations. Additionally dogs with severe pancreatitis had significantly decreased urine specific gravity levels. The most sensitive and specific test to assess the severity of pancreatitis was the measurement of UTCR.
Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2003 Mar-Apr;44(2):199-203. : Ultrasonographic appearance and etiology of corrugated small intestine.
Moon ML, Biller DS, Armbrust LJ.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Science, VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, VA Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.

An ultrasound pattern of corrugated, and sometimes thickened, bowel wall has been associated with pancreatitis and small intestinal lymphangiectasia. In a retrospective study, records of dogs and cats with an ultrasound diagnosis of corrugated bowel were examined for age, breed, gender, presenting complaint, abdominal radiographic results, and final diagnosis. Eighteen dogs and six cats had an ultrasound diagnosis of corrugated bowel. The final diagnosis was pancreatitis (12 of 24), peritonitis (4 of 24), enteritis (2 of 24), pancreatic neoplasia (2 of 24), diffuse abdominal neoplasia (1 of 24), lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis (1 of 24), thrombosis/infarction (1 of 24), and protein-losing enteropathy and acute renal failure (1 of 24). The presence of bowel wall corrugation, although a nonspecific finding, should alert one-to the possibility of pancreatitis, enteritis, peritonitis, neoplasia, or bowel wall ischemia.
Clin Tech Small Anim Pract. 2003 Feb;18(1):39-44. : Cytology and fluid analysis of the acute abdomen.
Connally HE.
Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.

In patients with acute abdominal pain, abdominal paracentesis and diagnostic peritoneal lavage often yield fluid samples for cytologic and biochemical evaluation. Cytology of the effusion from a patient with acute abdominal disease can be a crucial tool for the rapid diagnosis necessary for initiation of timely and appropriate therapy. Appropriate sample collection, handling, and preparation are essential to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Analysis of the fluid sample should include gross examination of the effusion, measurement of total nucleated cell count, packed red blood cell volume, and protein concentration, as well as examination for the presence of other cells, bacteria, food particles, or plant material. Biochemical evaluation should proceed based on the clinician's index of suspicion for a particular disease process. Abdominal effusions are generally classified as transudate, modified transudate, or exudate, depending on the total nucleated cell count and protein concentration. Cytology of all fluids collected should be performed systematically, utilizing progressively higher magnifications with a microscope. Specific diseases with associated abdominal effusions include septic peritonitis, nonseptic peritonitis, hemoabdomen, uroabdomen, pancreatitis, bile peritonitis, chylous effusion, and neoplasia. A complete description of sample preparation and evaluation is reviewed.
Clin Tech Small Anim Pract. 2003 Feb;18(1):7-19. : Radiographic techniques and interpretation of the acute abdomen.
Bischoff MG.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802, USA.

Radiography is a familiar and available imaging modality for the evaluation of patients with acute abdominal distress. Potential causes for acute abdominal distress include the hepatobiliary system, spleen, urogenital tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Radiographic signs associated with specific conditions are described, including gastric-dilation volvulus, urinary bladder rupture, ureteral rupture, urethral rupture, pancreatitis, and small intestinal obstruction. Additionally, contrast procedures that can be beneficial in evaluating the patient with acute abdomen, including positive contrast cystography, urethrography, excretory urography, and peritoneography, are described.
Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2003 Jan-Feb;66(1):40-5.: [Mexidol-induced modification of lipid metabolism in pancreatitis]
[Article in Russian]
Vlasov AP, Trofimov VA, Berezin VA, Tarasova TV, Ashirov RR, Saushev IV, Dubovskaia TN.
Department of Surgery, Mordvinian State University, Bol'shevistskaya Str., 68, Saransk, 430000 Russia.

The chronic experiments on mongrel dogs with a model pancreatitis showed that mexidol decreases manifestations of the inflammatory process. The treatment with mexidol led to a decrease in the degree of lipid transformations in the initial stage of pancreatitis development, with normaliation of the lipid metabolism according to the liver and blood plasma characteristics. The membranoprotector effect of mexidol, manifested in normalization of the lipid spectrum, is probably related to inhibition of the lipid peroxidation (LPO) process and to a decrease in the activity of phospholipase A2. The correlation between lipid metabolism, LPO, and phospholipase A2 activity in the tissues studied indicates that the therapeutic effect of mexidol in animals with pancreatitis is based on the cytoprotector activity of the drug.

Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2003;45(1):33-6. : Blood-gas and acid-base profile in dogs with severe pancreatitis.
Uchikov AP, Nedev PI, Shipkov HD, Markova DM.
Clinic of Thoracic and Abdominal Surgery, University Hospital St. George, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

A number of systemic disorders develop in the clinical course of acute pancreatitis. Among these important are the respiratory disorders occurring in 35-55% of the patients. They develop in the first hours after onset of pancreatitis and are the cause of death in 60% of the severe forms of acute pancreatitis. We studied the changes in the arterial blood oxygen status and acid-base status in experimentally induced severe acute pancreatitis in dogs. The animals were divided into two groups--one receiving sandostatin treatment and the other without treatment. Quickly progressing acute arterial hypoxemia was observed in the dogs with severe acute pancreatitis. Hypoxemia development was delayed by administration of sandostatin.
Magy Seb. 2002 Aug;55(4):225-8. Related Articles, Links [Effect of intravenous and intraductal glucocorticosteroids in experimental acute pancreatitis in dogs] [Article in Hungarian] Kerekes L, Sipka S Jr, Dezso B, Furka A, Peto K, Brath E, Miko I, Furka I. Debreceni Egyetem Orvos- es Egeszsegtudomanyi Centrum II. sz. Sebeszeti Klinika, 4004 Debrecen.
We evaluated the effect of systematically and intraductally administered glucocorticosteroid on experimentally induced acute pancreatitis in dogs. We examined histological and macroscopic changes as well as conventional laboratory parameters. We suggest, that low dose intraductal injection of glucocorticosteroid could have protective effect in acute phase of pancreatitis.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2002 May;72(3):177-82. : Serum vitamin A concentration in dogs with experimentally induced exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Adamama-Moraitou KK, Rallis TS, Prassinos NN, Papasteriadis A, Roubies N.
Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 11 St. Voutyra Street, 546 27, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Serum concentration of Vitamin A was determined in dogs with experimentally induced exocrine pancreatic insufficiency following oral administration of vitamin A, or pancreatic enzyme and vitamin A. In dogs receiving vitamin A alone, serum vitamin A concentration was significantly lower than that of dogs supplemented with pancreatic enzyme and vitamin A. In dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, serum vitamin A concentration was lower than in healthy dogs. In healthy dogs, the normal range of serum vitamin A concentration is high in comparison with other species, and humans. It is concluded that in dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, additional supplementation of vitamin A may be needed.
J Feline Med Surg. 2001 Sep;3(3):117-24. : Review of feline pancreatitis part one: the normal feline pancreas, the pathophysiology, classification, prevalence and aetiologies of pancreatitis.
Mansfield CS, Jones BR.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland.

The cellular mechanisms involved once pancreatitis has been initiated are reasonably well understood. The events leading up to this process are less well established. Much of our current understanding of pancreatitis in cats has been determined from experiments in cats or extrapolated from other species. The normal anatomy and function of the pancreas and a review of the current state of knowledge about the pathophysiology of pancreatitis is discussed. The current prevalence of feline pancreatitis is unknown, but the disease is being reported with increasing frequency. The aetiology of pancreatitis and the types of pancreatic inflammation present in cats is different from other species, such as the dog, a species where the disease is considered more common. Concurrent diseases are often present that may be more serious than the pancreatic inflammation and the treatment of these diseases is often complicated by pancreatitis. Copyright 2001 European Society of Feline Medicine.