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May 2015

Cow: Pancreas (pancreatic ducts): Pancreaticolithiasis, severe



Cow, 3 years


Pancreas (pancreatic ducts): Pancreaticolithiasis, severe


Several pancreatic ducts were severely distended and tightly packed with roughly spherical deposits of varying size, ranging from less than 1 mm to 9 mm in diameter.  There was a marked transition from small to large mean diameter of stones along the length of the ducts. Stones were white to beige with an irregular surface.


The cow clinically presented with multiple traumatic injuries and had been euthanized due to poor overall medical state. The pancreaticolithiasis represented an incidental finding and no evidence of consequences  or clinical relevance was found at necropsy.

Histologically the pancreas revealed severe fibrosis of the lamina propria and submucosa of affected pancreatic ducts with minimal to no inflammatory infiltrate.

Pancreatic concrements occasionally occur in cattle and humans but usually do not occur in other domestic species. In cattle their cause often remains unknown (idiopathic), although they might be associated with the geographical region, silicate content of the soil, age, genetic predisposition, season, gender, diet or other factors. They may coincide with chronic pancreatitis and are mostly incidental findings. They usually consist of calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate or calcium phosphate.

Picture and Authored by:

Moritz Radbruch, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany