DGGR-lipase for effective diagnosis of pancreatitis in horses

  • Jessica P. Johnson
  • John D. Stack
  • Charlotte L. McGivney
  • Michael P. Garrett
  • Peter J. O’BrienEmail author
Original Article


Equine pancreatitis has no reliable ante-mortem test and is considered rare. The 1,2-o-dilauryl-rac-glycero-3-glutarate-(6′-methylresorufin) ester (DGGR) lipase assay is specific for pancreatic lipase (PL). It was developed for humans and validated in dogs, cats and rats as specific for pancreatitis diagnosis. We used a novel validation strategy to confirm this tissue specificity extended to horses and determine reference ranges and pancreatitis prevalence. One hundred thirty-nine horses were used. Biopsies were collected from 3 healthy cadavers and venous blood from 109 clinical cases and 27 training racehorses. DGGR-lipase was demonstrated to only occur significantly in the pancreas using 7 different tissues collected at euthanasia that were cryopreserved and assayed for PL and 6, other, routine biomarkers (amylase, CK, GLD, AST, ALT, ALP). PL range was determined in healthy horses and in pancreatitis cases. PL is an inexpensive, highly-effective biomarker with the highest tissue activity and specificity of routine biomarkers. Equine pancreatitis occurs with a high prevalence and severity similar to that in dogs and cats, and in association with a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders and with training racehorses. PL should be routinely assayed in horses with gastrointestinal disorders and monitored in training racehorses.


Equine Pancreatitis Pancreatic lipase Diagnostic test 



Alkaline phosphatase


Alanine aminotransferase




Asparate aminotransferase


Creatine kinase




1,2-o-dilauryl-rac-glycero-3-glutarate-(6′-methylresorufin) ester


Gastrointestinal tract


Glutamate dehydrogenase




Pancreatic lipase


Right dorsal displacement of the large colon


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Large Animal SurgeryUniversity College Dublin Veterinary HospitalDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PathologyUniversity College Dublin Veterinary HospitalDublin 4Ireland

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