Diagnosing pancreatic disease in Pets

The laboratory diagnosis of pancreatic disease in dogs and cats has taken has made some significant progress in the last few years. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is now recognised in both dogs and cats and while most affected animals are young there are a number of older animals that are affected. The canine Trypsin-Like Immunoreactivity (TLI) test is both sensitive and specific for EPI and is assayed as part of the canine intestinal profile together with folate and cobalamin. Feline TLI has been shown similarly to be an excellent assay for EPI in cats, however this test is currently available only in the USA. As a result, we do not routinely include this test in the feline intestinal profile but we would recommend adding it for all cats with steathorreic faeces and for cats that are thin despite eating well where other causes have been ruled out.
The laboratory diagnosis of canine pancreatitis is complicated by the fact that amylase and lipase quickly return to normal following the onset of clinical signs