When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the disorder is called pancreatitis. It is a disease process that is seen commonly in the dog. There is no age, sex, or breed predisposition.There are two main forms of acute or sudden onset pancreatitis:
the mild, edematous form and
the more severe, hemorrhagic form.
A few dogs that recover from an acute episode of pancreatitis may continue to have recurrent bouts of the disease, which is then called chronic, relapsing pancreatitis. The associated inflammation allows digestive enzymes to spill into the abdominal cavity resulting in secondary damage to the liver, bile ducts, gall bladder, and intestines.What causes pancreatitis?
The cause of pancreatitis is not known; however, there may be several contributory factors. It is often associated with eating a rich, fatty meal. In some cases, it may be associated with the administration of corticosteroids; however, some dogs with pancreatitis do not have exposure to either.
Under normal conditions, digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are activated when they reach the small intestine. In pancreatitis, these enzymes are activated prematurely in the pancreas instead of in the small intestine. This results in digestion of the pancreas itself. The clinical signs of pancreatitis are often variable, and the intensity of the disease will depend on the quantity of enzymes that are prematurely activated.What are the clinical signs of pancreatitis?
The diagnosis of pancreatitis is normally based on three criteria: clinical signs, laboratory tests, and the results of radiographs (x-rays) and/or ultrasound examination. The disease is typically manifested by nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. If the attack is severe, acute shock, depression, and death may occur. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, it is important to get him or her in. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances are for a speedy and healthy recovery. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call!