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Diabetes & pancreatitis in cats

Forcada Y, German AJ, Noble PJ, et al. Determination of serum fPLI concentrations in cats with diabetes mellitus. J Feline Med Surg. Oct 2008;10(5):480-487.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is one of the primary endocrine diseases of cats. Pancreatitis is suspected of being one of the main causes for poor control of DM in cats, yet no one knows how frequently this may occur. There are no prior reports indicating the prevalence of pancreatitis in live diabetic cats. In recent years, a test determining serum feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (fPLI) has been evaluated as a possible test for pancreatitis. Researchers in this study compared samples from 29 diabetic cats and 23 non-diabetic cats for measurement of fPLI concentrations to serum fructosamine levels and clinical signs. The study had three aims. The first was to determine if fPLI concentrations were higher in cats with DM. The second was to see if serum fPLI levels could be linked to diabetic control, and last, to determine if these cats had any specific clinical signs of pancreatitis.
Researchers found the median fPLI concentrations were significantly higher in the diabetic patients than the median concentrations in the non-diabetic cats. This would suggest that pancreatic inflammation is likely more prevalent in diabetic cats than non-diabetic cats. Unfortunately, a limitation of the study is that the finding of increased fPLI levels implies but does not confirm the presence of pancreatitis. Since this was a retrospective study, the investigators were unable to support a diagnosis of pancreatitis by utilization of pancreatic histopathology or abdominal ultrasonography. The median serum fructosamine values were also found to be significantly higher in the diabetic cats than the non-diabetic cats. However, there was no clear association between serum fructosamine concentrations and the clinical judgment of diabetic control by the referring veterinarian. This study indicates that pancreatitis could be a major complicating factor in a percentage of diabetic cats, even those cases that appear to be under good control based on serum fructosamine concentration. Further studies are indicated to determine how pancreatitis influences the control, progression, and management of DM and how DM and other major diseases affect fPLI concentrations.
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Related articles:
Forman MA, Marks SL, De Cock HE, et al. Evaluation of serum feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity and helical computed tomography versus conventional testing for the diagnosis of feline pancreatitis. J Vet Intern Med. Nov-Dec 2004;18(6):807-815.
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Steiner JM, Wilson BG, Williams DA. Development and analytical validation of a radioimmunoassay for the measurement of feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity in serum. Can J Vet Res. Oct 2004;68(4):309-314.
>> PubMed Abstract