OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the specificity of a canine pancreas-specific lipase (cPSL) assay for diagnosing pancreatitis in dogs without clinical or histologic evidence of the disease. ANIMALS: 20 dogs from another study with macroscopic evidence of pancreatitis and 44 dogs surrendered for euthanasia or expected to die. PROCEDURES: Prior to death, physical examination of each dog was performed and blood samples were collected for serum biochemical, serum cPSL, and hematologic analyses. After death, the pancreas was removed, sectioned in 1- to 2-cm slices, and evaluated by a pathologist. Dogs were classified by whether they had clinical or macroscopic pancreatitis. Each pancreatic section was histologically examined, and mean cumulative scores (MCSs) were assigned for 8 histologic characteristics. For each characteristic, comparisons were made between dogs with and without pancreatitis to establish histologic criteria for lack of evidence of pancreatitis. RESULTS: For all histologic characteristics except lymphocytic infiltration, the median MCS differed significantly between dogs with and without pancreatitis. Dogs were categorized as having no histologic evidence of pancreatitis when the MCSs for neutrophilic infiltration, pancreatic necrosis, peripancreatic fat necrosis, and edema were 0.0. On the basis of these criteria, 40 dogs were classified as having no evidence of pancreatitis. The cPSL concentration was within reference limits in 38 of these 40 dogs and was less than the cutoff value for diagnosing pancreatitis (400 μg/L) in 39 of the 40 dogs, resulting in a specificity of 97.5% (95% confidence interval, 86.8% to 99.9%). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The cutoff cPSL value used in this study may be useful for diagnosing pancreatitis in dogs with a lack of histologic lesions consistent with pancreatitis and for which pancreatitis is not considered a major differential diagnosis.
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