Evaluation of serum feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity and helical computed tomography versus conventional testing for the diagnosis of feline pancreatitis

Forman MA, Marks SL, De Cock HE, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 2004;18:807-815.

Serum feline trypsinogen-like immunoreactivity (fTLI) concentrations and abdominal ultrasound have facilitated the noninvasive diagnosis of pancreatitis in cats, but low sensitivities (33% and 20-35%, respectively) have been reported. A radioimmunoassay has been validated to measure feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (fPLI), but the assay’s sensitivity and specificity have not been established. In human beings, the sensitivity of computed tomography (CT) is high (75-90%), but in a study of 10 cats, only 2 had CT changes suggestive of pancreatitis. We prospectively evaluated these diagnostic tests in cats with and without pancreatitis. In all cats, serum was obtained for fTLI and fPLI concentrations, and pancreatic ultrasound images and biopsies were acquired. Serum fPLI concentrations (P< .0001) and ultrasound findings (P = .0073) were significantly different between healthy cats and cats with pancreatitis. Serum fTLI concentrations (P = .15) and CT measurements (P = .18) were not significantly different between the groups. The sensitivity of fTLI in cats with moderate to severe pancreatitis was 80%, and the specificity in healthy cats was 75%. Feline PLI concentrations were both sensitive in cats with moderate to severe pancreatitis (100%) and specific in the healthy cats (100%). Abdominal ultrasound was both sensitive in cats with moderate to severe pancreatitis (80%) and specific in healthy cats (88%). The high sensitivities of fPLI and abdominal ultrasound suggest that these tests should play an important role in the noninvasive diagnosis of feline pancreatitis. As suggested by a previous study, pancreatic CT is not a useful diagnostic test for feline pancreatitis.