Comparison of the sensitivity of different diagnostic tests for pancreatitis in cats

Gerhardt A, Steiner JM, Williams DA, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 2001;15:329-333.

The objective of this study was to compare the sensitivity of different diagnostic tests for pancreatitis in cats. Twenty-one cats with confirmed pancreatitis were evaluated at the Small Animal Clinic of the School of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany, between September 1997 and January 1999. Clinical signs of affected cats were nonspecific, with 95% of the cats showing anorexia and 86% lethargy. Also, hematologic and biochemical abnormalities of affected cats were nonspecific. Serum feline trypsin-like immunoreactivity (fTLI) in these 21 cats with pancreatitis was 127.5 +/- 109.5 microg/L (mean +/- SD; range, 24-500 microg/L). Fourteen of the 21 cats with pancreatitis had complicating conditions. Their serum fTLI was 153.9 +/- 124.3 microg/L (mean +/- SD; range, 29 500 microg/L). In this study, abdominal ultrasound showed a sensitivity for pancreatitis of 24%, and abdominal computed tomography had a sensitivity of 20%. Serum fTLI had a sensitivity between 86% when a cut-off value of 49 microg/L was used (upper limit of the control range) and 33% when a cut-off value of 100 microg/L was used. We conclude that in this group of cats with pancreatitis, measurement of serum fTLI was the most sensitive diagnostic test of those evaluated. Abdominal ultrasound, however, may be a valuable diagnostic tool in some cats with pancreatitis.