Canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (cPLI) test

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  • cPLI is an acronym for canine Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity, a specific lipase found only in canine pancreatic tissue.
  • The commercially available assay (Spec cPL" by Idexx Laboratories) measures concentrations of pancreatic lipase in the serum.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas leads to an increased release of pancreatic lipase into the circulation, thus elevated concentrations of pancreatic lipase are consistent with a diagnosis of pancreatitis [Pancreatitis: chronic].



  • Canine pancreatic lipase is an enzyme that is synthesized and released only by pancreatic acinar cells.
  • Increased serum concentrations of canine pancreatic lipase suggest an increased release from pancreatic acinar cells. The increased release of pancreatic lipase is classically associated with pancreatic inflammation, ie acute or chronic pancreatitis.
  • Clinically normal dogs have low circulating concentrations of pancreatic lipase in serum.
  • Dogs with acute pancreatitis typically show dramatic elevations in serum pancreatic lipase concentrations.
  • In comparison to canine - trypsin like immunoreactivity (cTLI ), pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity concentrations tend to show a greater increase during a bout of acute pancreatitis, and remain elevated for longer periods.
  • Measurement of an elevated canine pancreatic lipase concentration in serum is a useful method for diagnosing acute or chronic pancreatitis.
  • The magnitude of elevation of serum canine pancreatic lipase concentration does not establish a prognosis for a patient with acute pancreatitis.
  • Dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency show low to non-detectable concentrations of canine pancreatic lipase in the circulation. Some clinically normal dogs, however, also show low concentrations of pancreatic lipase and thus this test can not be used to diagnose exocrine pancreatic insufficiency .

In combination

  • Many dogs with clinical signs of chronic pancreatitis (inappetence, sporadic vomiting, diarrhea, or other) also have concurrent small intestinal disease.
  • Measurement of canine pancreatic lipase concentration in combination with serum cobalamin and folate concentrations may be used to screen patients for small intestinal disease.

Result data

Normal (reference) values

  • The reference range for serum pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity as measured by Spec cPL in dogs is 0-200 µg/L.

Abnormal values

  • Dogs with serum pancreatic lipase >200 but <400 µg/L (using the IDEXX Spec cPL" assay) may have pancreatitis that is mild or resolving. Continue supportive therapy as necessary, consider retesting in 24-48 hours depending on clinical progress.
  • The cut-off value for diagnosis of pancreatitis is >400 µg/L.
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