If in-clinic analysis is to be relied on for general case laboratory evaluation, meticulous attention must be paid to quality assurance. However, in dogs and cats with EPI, the number of pancreatic acinar cells is severely decreased. Potassium level increases due to hypoadrenocorticism and severe renal failure (especially terminal cases). Bilirubin level may also be appreciated by eye in most species. Visual assessment of the depth and shade of color may provide additional information. Analysis of other body fluids (eg, urine, ascitic fluids, CSF) is also included. Serum TLI concentrations can be measured by species-specific assays that have been developed and validated for both dogs and cats. α-Amylase level increases in acute pancreatitis but in dogs is also increased in chronic renal dysfunction. Glucose measurement requires fluoride/oxalate plasma. Total protein level increases due to dehydration, chronic inflammation, and paraproteinemia. A patient-side semiquantitative assay for diagnosis of canine pancreatitis is also available. It is less useful to assess respiratory acid/base disturbances. These panels are structured so that the patterns of abnormalities typical of all the likely differential diagnoses applicable to the situation can be discerned. Ketone levels may be estimated on either urine (preferred sample) or plasma/serum. It decreases due to sample deterioration. A test spot darker in color than the reference spot raises the suspicion of pancreatitis and should prompt the clinician to measure a serum cPLI concentration in the laboratory. However, trypsin, if present in the serum, is also detected by these assays. CK, the classic “muscle enzyme,” increases markedly in rhabdomyolysis and aortic thromboembolism. A test spot that is lighter in color than the reference spot suggests that pancreatitis can be excluded. The most common causes for an increase is raised levels of circulating steroids and biliary disease. β-Hydroxybutyrate level increases in diabetes mellitus. Glycogen Metabolism. verify here. However, false-positive as well as false-negative results have been reported. Slight level increases are reported in hypothyroidism. Chloride level increases in acidosis, and in parallel with increases in sodium concentration. Uncommonly, atrophy or fibrosis of an organ may result in unusually low plasma activities of the relevant enzymes. ALP and ALT levels rarely rise above 1,000 units, even in severe liver disease. The readout may be in g/dL, in which case multiplying the result by 10 will yield the SI unit of g/L. Decreases are seen in some downer cows and as part of the stress pattern in horses and small animals. For small animals, a typical panel includes total protein, albumin, globulin (calculated as the difference between the first two analytes), urea, creatinine, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). A number of biochemical analytes may be estimated in the practice without the need for large analytical instruments. Detailed case laboratory evaluation of nonemergency patients is best referred to a professional laboratory from the outset, for reasons of cost, accuracy, range of analytes available, and the assistance of the clinical pathologist in interpretation of the results. The veterinarian in charge of the laboratory is responsible for all the results issued and incurs a legal liability to prove accuracy and reliability. Fecal proteolytic activity had been used to diagnose EPI in small animals for several decades. Most veterinary laboratories offer a basic panel of tests, which represents a minimal investigation applicable to most general situations. It decreases due to Conn syndrome, chronic renal dysfunction, vomiting, diarrhea, and insufficient potassium provision during IV fluid therapy. It is therefore of limited use in the diagnosis of pancreatitis. It is also reported to increase in hypothyroidism. The new tube must be adequately labeled. The legacy of this great resource continues as the Merck Veterinary Manual in the US and Canada and the MSD Manual outside of North America. It decreases due to hypoadrenocorticism, loss of any high-sodium fluid such as some forms of renal disease, and insufficient sodium provision during IV fluid therapy. Lipase level increases in acute pancreatitis in dogs (longer half-life than amylase) and also occasionally in chronic renal dysfunction. It will also increase (irregularly) in pancreatitis. The half-life is 72 hr in dogs but only 6 hr in cats. Clinical biochemistry refers to the analysis of the blood plasma (or serum) for a wide variety of substances—substrates, enzymes, hormones, etc—and their use in diagnosis and monitoring of disease. A dedicated reflectance meter for urea estimation is not available. They should be spun at 3,000 rpm for 10 min. Serum PLI is highly specific for exocrine pancreatic function. It has a half life of 2–4 hr and rises higher than AST but recovers quicker. Glucose level increases due to high-carbohydrate meals, sprint exercise, stress or excitement (including handling and sampling stress), glucocorticoid therapy, hyperadrenocorticism, overinfusion with glucose/dextrose-containing IV fluids, and diabetes mellitus. Prior to surgery, the attending veterinarian orders a total serum bile acids (TSBA) test that shows normal fasting and markedly increased postprandial bile acid concentrations. It decreases due to the same factors as total protein, plus liver failure. GGT increases in longer-term liver damage; it is particularly useful in horses and ruminants. Levels in the cat are generally much lower than in the dog, and any increase in cats is considered significant. Two types are available—those based on transmission/absorbance photometry (wet chemistry) and those based on reflectance photometry (dry-reagent chemistry). Samples may then be sent to a professional laboratory or analyzed in the practice. , BSc, BVSc, MRCVS, DECVP, Abbey Veterinary Services. Also, serum PLI is far more sensitive for diagnosis of pancreatitis than any other diagnostic test currently available. Most biochemistry tests can be performed on either serum or heparinized plasma. Bilirubin level increases due to fasting (benign effect in horses and squirrel monkeys, may be caused by hepatic lipidosis in cats), hemolytic disease (usually mild increase), liver dysfunction, and biliary obstruction (intra- or extrahepatic). Albumin level increases due to dehydration. However, a small number of these dogs and cats may have EPI. A few (eg, insulin) require serum, whereas potassium is best measured on heparin plasma separated immediately after collection. If there is no evidence of small-intestinal disease in such patients, a trial therapy with pancreatic enzymes and reevaluation of serum TLI concentration after 1 mo is indicated. Therefore, it is still best practice to regard in-practice analysis as an interim emergency investigation, with the results to be confirmed as appropriate by a professional laboratory. Biochemistry tests should be accompanied by full hematology, because evaluation of both together is essential for optimal recognition of many of the most characteristic disease patterns (see Clinical Hematology). The Merck Veterinary Manual was first published in 1955 as a service to the community. In the past, several fecal tests have been used to diagnose exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Thus, in dogs, measurement of serum amylase and lipase activities are of limited usefulness for diagnosis of pancreatitis. Serum amylase and lipase activities have been used for several decades to diagnose pancreatitis in both people and dogs. Biochemical Properties of Carbohydrates. Some “gel-tube” products may provide a permanent separation of serum or plasma; otherwise, this must be separated into a fresh tube. For example, a polydipsia panel may add calcium, glucose, and cholesterol. Amylase is not a useful indicator of pancreatitis in cats. Suitable collection tubes with and without anticoagulant are available commercially. Magnesium level increases are rarely seen, including during acute renal failure. A rapid whole-blood color comparison strip is also available, but these read only up to ~20 mmol/L and are thus of limited use. In dogs, ALP levels in the thousands of units are usually associated with increased steroid levels. There are minor increases with muscle damage and hyperthyroidism. However, it is important to note that ~50% of dogs that fulfill these criteria do not have pancreatitis. If all differentials are excluded, then the list must be reevaluated. In one study, significant serum amylase and lipase activities remained after total pancreatectomy, indicating there are sources of serum amylase and lipase activity other than the exocrine pancreas. In healthy animals, serum TLI is low, but during pancreatitis an increased amount of trypsinogen leaks into the vascular space, which can lead to an increase in serum TLI concentration. Serum TLI concentration decreases significantly and may even be undetectable. This panel may be modified as appropriate for other species, eg, glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) and/or gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) are more appropriate “liver enzymes” for horses and farm animals, or it may be more appropriate to concentrate primarily on muscle enzymes (CK and AST) in athletic animals. Most of the above parameters are associated with liver function/dysfunction and are frequently overinterpreted. It decreases in ruminants due to dietary deficiency, either acute (grass staggers) or chronic, and diarrhea (uncommon). Thus, rather than six tests that merely confirm or deny six possibilities, a well-chosen group of six tests can provide information pointing to a wide variety of different conditions by a process of pattern recognition. A dedicated ion-specific electrode meter is the best way to measure these. The latter condition is characterized by a marked increase in bile acid concentration after feeding, from a fasting concentration that may be normal.
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