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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Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

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