Ron Hines DVM PhD
cPL The SNAP® cPL™ Test
aka PLI, Canine Pancreas-specific Lipase Test, Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity
This test was designed specifically for dog. A similar one, the cPL test was designed for cats.
Veterinarians have tracked total blood lipase levels in dogs for a long time. They knew that certain lipases that group of enzymes were necessary to absorb certain fats, e.g. triglycerides, present in your dog’s diet. They also knew that the amount of lipase free in the blood stream often went up in dogs suffering from pancreatitis. But lipase-like compounds are not only produced in your pet’s pancreas from where they enter the dog’s intestine. (read here). Your dog’s liver, adrenal glands and blood vessels also produce some lipases. So, a high total blood lipase level might indicate pancreatitis in your dog; but it might also indicate inflammation or blockages of the intestine, gallbladder inflammation, or even liver or kidney issues.
The cPL test is thought to be better than a total blood lipase test at zeroing in on pancreatic problems and crossing out other health issues from your dog’s likely diagnosis. That is very important because treatment options for all of them differ. So do the diets that are suggested to prevent your dog from relapsing.
The cPL test is often performed to try to explain the cause of sudden bouts of vomiting, depression, abdominal pain and/or a decreased interest in food.
The cPL test is not perfect. But it gives your veterinarian accurate results about 80% of the time. The number of false-postive tests can also increase in dogs that are receiving corticosteroid medications such as dexamethasone or prednisone. The likelihood of a false positive cPL test increases as the corticosteroid dose size increases.
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