Thursday, July 26, 2012
This is a story about acute pancreatitis in two small dogs; one was a young male and the other an old female. They had been vomiting for several days, would not eat, their abdomens were tense and painful, and they had low-grade fevers. The disease developed spontaneously in both dogs. Serum lipase and amylase, two enzymes normally found in pancreatic cells, were elevated three and ten times the normal level. When pancreatic cells are injured some of the enzymes they contain leak into blood and become important for diagnosing acute pancreatitis. The pancreas is located in the abdomen alongside the small intestine and contains several enzymes that digest food when they are secreted into the intestine. Normally, while within pancreatic cells, the enzymes are inactive. However, enzymes can become activated inside the cells. When activated, they injure the cells by digesting them, thereby causing inflammation and the disease, pancreatitis.
To counter the inflammation and pain from the pancreatitis both dogs were treated morning and night with minocycline, an antibiotic with cytokine-modulating anti-inflammatory properties. Within 24 hours the dogs appeared to feel better, for they were more active and in less pain. At 48 hours serum amylase and lipase levels had returned to normal in one dog and near normal in the other. Treatment was continued for 10 days and full recovery was uneventful. The promptness and extent of response to treatment of pancreatitis were greater than anticipated and suggest there was modulation of inflammatory cytokine effects in the pancreas and/or suppression of intracellular enzyme activation by minocycline.
Image courtesy of Mike Barid - Flickr