A 12-year old, M/N, German Shepherd named Apollo presented to a referral practice for recent history of anorexia, vomiting, and lethargy. Abdominal ultrasound revealed a pancreatic mass. FNA of the pancreatic mass was submitted.
Scopio Practice Tip
Aspirates of pancreatic masses can be cytologically complicated by the types of lesions present, which include inflammatory, cystic, neoplastic, and combinations of all three. On these slides, there are thick blue staining areas. These are often cellular, but can also represent necrotic material, thick proteinaceous fluid, mineralization, or other important acellular elements.
Areas of lipid with admixed inflammatory cells and proteinaceous material.
Interpretation: Suppurative inflammation, necrotic material, mineralization and/or saponification of fat.
Case follow up: Owner elected not to pursue further diagnostics and took Apollo home with a plan for palliative care.
What is saponification? Soap making? In acute pancreatitis, damage to pancreatic acinar cells releases lipase causing peripancreatic fat lipolysis. Saponification occurs when serum calcium and triglycerides meet. The mineralized material in this case had a unique appearance and was interpreted in context of total composition, expected physiologic processes, and microscopic appearance of mineralization.
Learn more from our military veterinary colleagues at The Joint Pathology Center! This is a similar case, with a biopsy slide that can be viewed, and review of these processes. JPC: 3 yr old military working dog with acute necrotizing pancreatitis and fat saponification.