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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2003 Sep;33(5):1165-79, viii-ix.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in dogs.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 57, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA) is by far the most common cause for the maldigestion signs of canine exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). The ability to diagnose PAA in the subclinical phase before the development of total acinar atrophy and manifestation of clinical signs has offered new possibilities to study the pathogenesis of the disease. Marked T-lymphocyte infiltration during the progression of acinar atrophy and the genetic susceptibility of the disease have been taken as a primary evidence of the autoimmune nature of the disease. The term autoimmune-mediated atrophic lymphocytic pancreatitis is preferred to describe pathologic findings. A single abnormally, low serum canine trypsin-like immunoreactivity (cTLI) concentration (< 2.5 mg/L), in dogs with typical maldigestion signs has been shown to be highly diagnostic for clinical EPI and is found in dogs with end-stage PAA. Repeatedly subnormal cTLI values (2.5-5.0 micrograms/L) in dogs with no clinical signs of EPI are valuable markers of subclinical EPI and highly suggestive for partial PAA. The primary treatment of EPI is supplementing each meal with pancreatic enzymes. The long-term treatment response for the nonenteric-coated enzyme supplements has been found to be good in half of these dogs, but the response varied considerably.

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