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Elevated serum γ-glutamyltransferase associated with canine renal adenocarcinoma
  1. M. L. Whitehead, BSc, PhD, BVSc, CertSAM, MRCVS,
  2. P. W. Kettlewell, MA, BVSc, MRCVS and
  3. B. A. Koterwas, BA, AAS, BVM&S, MRCVS
  1. Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, Albion Street, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5BN, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence martin{at}

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SERUM γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is frequently used in veterinary medicine as a marker for hepatic disease, specifically biliary hyperplasia and cholestasis. It is regarded as a highly liver-specific indicator. In hepatic disease, elevations of serum GGT typically mirror those of alkaline phosphatase (ALP).

The level of GGT in canine liver and several other organs is relatively low, but much higher levels are present in the pancreas and especially the kidneys (Braun and others 1983). In contrast to hepatic GGT, pancreatic and renal GGT tend not to enter the blood. In the kidneys, GGT is mainly present in the proximal tubular epithelium (Fischer and others 1991) and ‘leaks’ primarily into the urine. In human beings, both urinary and serum GGT are used as indicators of some renal diseases, including some renal neoplasias. This short communication describes a case of canine renal adenocarcinoma associated with markedly elevated serum GGT.

An eight-year-old entire female labrador was presented with a history of weight loss and mild malaise over several weeks with no other clinical signs. Clinical examination was unremarkable. A haematology and biochemistry profile (carried out by IDEXX Laboratories) was unremarkable except that serum GGT was massively raised at 172 U/l (reference range <9 U/l). There was no other indication of hepatic pathology in the biochemistry, with normal serum levels of alanine transferase (ALT), ALP, albumin and urea (bilirubin was not measured). The laboratory re-ran the sample, which confirmed this apparently anomalous result. Canine pancreatic lipase tested …

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