Original Research

Acute pancreatitis : a newly recognised potential complication of canine babesiosis

A.J. Möhr, R.G. Lobetti, J.J. Van der Lugt
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 71, No 4 | a721 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v71i4.721 | © 2000 A.J. Möhr, R.G. Lobetti, J.J. Van der Lugt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2000 | Published: 10 July 2000

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A.J. Möhr,
R.G. Lobetti,
J.J. Van der Lugt,

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This retrospective study describes 4 cases of canine babesiosis with histologically confirmed acute pancreatitis. In addition, 16 dogs with babesiosis are reported with serum amylase (>3500 U/l ) and/or lipase (>650 U/l ) activity elevations of a magnitude that would support a diagnosis of probable acute pancreatitis, although extra-pancreatic sources of the enzymes could not be excluded in these cases. Median time of pancreatitis diagnosis was 2.5 days post-admission, with primarily young (median age 3 years), sexually intact dogs affected. The development of pancreatitis was unrelated to the degree of anaemia at time of admission. In addition to pancreatitis, 80 % of cases suffered from other babesial complications, namely icterus (13), acute respiratory distress syndrome (6), immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (6), renal failure (3), haemoconcentration (2) and cerebral syndrome (2). Acute respiratory distress syndrome, renal failure and cerebral syndrome were associated with a poor prognosis, with 4 of the 5 dogs included in the overall 26 % mortality rate having at least 1 of these complications. Haemolytic anaemia with ischaemia-reperfusion injury to the pancreas is proposed as a possible primary pathophysiological mechanism in babesial pancreatitis. Hypotensive shock, immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia, haemoconcentration and possibly altered lipid metabolism in babesiosis may also be involved. The previously postulated pro-inflammatory cytokine milieu of complicated babesiosis may underlie the progression, if not the primary initiation, of pancreatic pathology. Acute pancreatitis may represent the previously reported 'gut' form of babesiosis.


Amylase; Babesia Canis; Dog; Lipase; Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome; Pancreatitis


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