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Case Description—A 21-year-old neutered male captive California sea lion developed chronic polyuria; polydipsia; polyphagia; accelerated development of existing cataracts; and frequent episodes of gastrointestinal upset including anorexia, signs of abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Clinical Findings—Chronic hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria were identified. During episodes of gastrointestinal abnormalities, transient hyperbilirubinemia and increased serum γ-glutamyltransferase activities developed. Clinical findings strongly suggested chronic pancreatitis with secondary diabetes mellitus and intermittent cholestasis. Multiple diagnostic tests, including abdominal ultrasonography, serial hematologic and serum biochemical analyses, fecal examinations, urinalyses and bacteriologic culture of urine, measurement of serum fructosamine and insulin concentrations, and evaluation of thyroid and adrenal function, did not reveal any specific parasitic, endocrine, hepatic, or neoplastic etiologies.

Treatment and Outcome—For 1.5 years, the sea lion received once-daily administration of glargine insulin, gastrointestinal protectants, and a strict high-protein, low-fat diet. Daily monitoring of glucose regulation was achieved by training the sea lion to submit to blood and urine sampling. Glucose regulation ranged from fair to good, and clinical signs of diabetes mellitus lessened. Episodes of gastrointestinal upset still occurred, although the frequency and severity decreased. Ultimately, a severe episode developed, associated with diabetic ketoacidosis and sepsis, and the sea lion died. Severe fibrosing pancreatitis with exocrine and endocrine atrophy and abscesses arising from ectatic pancreatic ducts were found. Peripancreatic fibrosis caused stricture of the common bile duct, resulting in gallbladder distension without cholecystitis.

Clinical Relevance—Diabetes mellitus can occur secondary to chronic pancreatitis in California sea lions and insulin therapy should be considered.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To describe the intestinal full-thickness needle-core biopsy technique via abdominal laparotomy outcomes and compare the histopathological and immunohistochemical diagnosis with standard incisional intestinal biopsy technique in dogs and cats.


3 dogs and 17 cats.


Client-owned dogs and cats were prospectively enrolled if intestinal full-thickness biopsies were indicated for the diagnosis of diffuse chronic intestinal diseases following ultrasonography. The study period extended from June 2021 to December 2022. All animals underwent intestinal biopsies with both techniques (needle-core biopsy and standard incisional biopsy) via abdominal laparotomy. Data collected included clinical signs, biopsy collection times, complications, and histopathologic and immunohistochemical findings. A minimum follow-up of 14 days was required.


The main clinical sign at presentation was chronic vomiting (65%). Mean needle-core biopsy collection time (262 seconds) was significantly shorter than standard incisional biopsy collection time (599 seconds; P < .000001). The incidence of minor complications was 10% (inflammation of the skin surgical site secondary to licking). One catastrophic complication occurred on a standard incisional biopsy site in 1 cat in a context of bile peritonitis (5% of all cases). There were no complications associated with the needle-core biopsy. All but 1 cat were discharged, with a median of 2 days (range, 1 to 4 days) after surgery. The diagnoses resulting from both techniques were 100% concordant for the distinction between inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal lymphoma via histopathology and immunochemistry.


Needle-core biopsy is safe, rapid, and effective and is less invasive than standard incisional biopsy.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association