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J Feline Med Surg. 2015 Dec;17(12):984-90. doi: 10.1177/1098612X14564203. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Serum ionised calcium as a prognostic risk factor in the clinical course of pancreatitis in cats.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon (FMV/ULisboa), Portugal.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon (FMV/ULisboa), Portugal Interdisciplinary Centre of Research in Animal Health (CIISA), FMV/ULisboa, Portugal Anjos of Assis Veterinary Medicine Center (CMVAA), Barreiro, Portugal



The aims of the study were to assess the possible effects of sex, age and breed on the evolution of pancreatitis, and to understand if low values of serum ionised calcium ([Ca(2+)i]) can be considered as a prognostic risk factor for determining the clinical course of the disease.


A sample of 24 cats (n = 24) with pancreatitis was used and grouped according to the disease progress into two groups: (i) non-fatal (NF) for those that recovered and (ii) fatal (F) for those that died. Quantification of [Ca(2+)i] and feline pancreatic lipase (fPL) was carried out for each patient at two different times: T1 (day of diagnosis) and T2 (day of recovery or death). For statistical analysis, P values < 0.05 were considered significant.


At T1, 58.3% of patients presented with hypocalcaemia, 33.3% with normocalcaemia and 8.3% with hypercalcaemia. The [Ca(2+)i] mean values were higher in the F group than in NF. At T2, 75.0% of patients showed normocalcaemia and 25.0% hypocalcaemia. The mean value of [Ca(2+)i] for F at T2 was 0.88 ± 0.23 mmol/l, whereas for NF it was 1.10 ± 0.11 mmol/l. There was no sex or age predisposition for disease development, but a breed effect was noted (domestic shorthair cats were more prone to developing pancreatitis).


The results suggest that hypocalcaemia is common in patients with pancreatitis and that [Ca(2+)i] may be used as a prognostic risk factor for predicting the clinical course of the disease, with values ⩽ 1 mmol/l corresponding to a poor prognosis.

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