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Vet Pathol. 2007 Jan;44(1):39-49.

Prevalence and histopathologic characteristics of pancreatitis in cats.

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Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.


Despite the high prevalence of feline pancreatic disease, no detailed description on the histopathologic nature of this disease is currently available in the literature. In this study we characterize the distribution and histopathologic changes commonly found in feline pancreases, correlate the lesions with age and gastrointestinal GI and extra-gastrointestinal disease, and compare the pancreatic lesions in cats with those in humans. The entire pancreas was removed and examined from 115 cats presented for necropsy irrespective of the cause of death. Histologic sections from left limb, right limb, and body were scored for lesions of acute (AP) and chronic pancreatitis (CP) with a scoring system based on similar systems used in human and veterinary literature. The lesions of CP in cats resemble CP in humans, with fibrosis being more prominent than inflammatory changes. Cystic degeneration gradually increased as other lesions of CP were more prominent. A distinct nodular change of zymogen depletion and acinar cell dysplasia not associated with pancreatitis was prominent in 15.6% of the pancreases. Histologically, AP consisted of neutrophilic inflammation associated with interstitial edema and necrosis of mesenteric fat. An overall prevalence of 67%, and 45% in clinically normal animals, was identified. CP was found in 69 (60.0%) pancreases, and 58 (50.4%) had CP only, with a significant correlation between age and occurrence of CP. There was a statistically significant higher prevalence of CP in the left limb in animals with gastrointestinal disease. AP was present in 18 animals (15.7%) of which 7 animals had AP only (6.1%).

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