The Pulse Of Veterinary Medicine

Vet-To-Vet Conversation With IDEXX

'Tis the season for holidays...and pancreatitis

The holidays are almost here and veterinary practices are gearing up to treat some common seasonal complaints. One of these issues, pancreatitis, can stem from getting into the garbage or eating fatty table scraps—turkey skin, chocolates, and other rich foods—that pets get all too much of at this time of year.

So especially over the next few months, it’s a good idea to find out if it’s pancreatitis first when canine patients present with vomiting, abdominal pain, or anorexia.

Why test for pancreatitis first?

It’s important to differentiate between pancreatitis and other less severe GI diseases quickly.

  • Ruling out pancreatitis helps avoid performing unnecessary or invasive diagnostics, as well as a possible hospital stay.
  • Knowing pancreatitis is the likely cause of a patient’s illness lets you focus more confidently on aggressive treatment, such as hospitalization so you can immediately begin fluid therapy, antiemetic medication, and pain control. You’re able to recommend dietary changes. And you can start monitoring the patient closely for the complications often associated with pancreatitis.

Don’t count on amylase and lipase alone

For decades, serum amylase and lipase have been used to diagnose pancreatitis. Elevations in these enzymes can suggest pancreatitis—but these tests are not specific to the pancreas. Amylase and lipase can be present in organs other than the pancreas, such as the liver, small intestine, and stomach, as well as in other tissues. So using these methods alone, there’s no way to be sure if the problem is specific to the pancreas.

Better diagnostic tools

In-clinic hematology and chemistry analysis as well the SNAP® cPL™ Test, a patient-side qualitative blood test for pancreatitis, can help you quickly evaluate your sick canine patients. The SNAP cPL Test is the only pet-side test developed to measure canine lipase levels specific to the pancreas.

In addition, the quantitative Spec cPL® Test can be used to follow up an abnormal SNAP cPL Test result. Available at IDEXX Reference Laboratories, this test can help you assess the severity of your patient’s condition and monitor response to therapy.

The holidays can be stressful for everyone. When patients present with GI complaints, vomiting, abdominal pain, or anorexia, use the SNAP cPL test to help diagnose or rule out pancreatitis. Your patients will have the benefit of quicker, more targeted treatment. Pet owners will be relieved to have more information during their visits. And you’ll have more information for treating your patient.

Learn more about the SNAP cPL Test

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