VCA Animal Hospitals

What is pancreatitis in dogs?

Published: Jul 11, 2012

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You may not think much about your dog's pancreas, but when something goes wrong, you may need to take this vital organ into consideration. Lying on the right side of the abdomen next to the stomach, the pancreas is crucial in your dog's digestive system because it produces enzymes for digestion as well as hormones like insulin to regulate blood sugar. When the pancreas is inflamed, it is referred to as pancreatitis in dogs, a condition that will need veterinary attention.

Pancreatitis can cause fever, lethargy, nausea and dog vomiting, as well as diarrhea in dogs, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. You may also notice that your dog has a decreased appetite and abdominal pain. Usually, pancreatitis occurs spontaneously, though it can be triggered by a fatty meal or the administration of a corticosteroid.

When you bring your dog to the veterinarian, they will use several laboratory tests to determine whether the cause of your dog's clinical signs is pancreatitis. If the case is mild, your veterinarian may recommend that you provide supportive care to your dog, promoting rest in the organ by withholding oral fluids and food. Veterinarians may provide analgesics to control severe pain, and intravenous fluids to maintain a normal electrolyte and fluid balance.

The prognosis for pancreatitis is usually good, according to VCA. Most dogs recover without any long-term consequences. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.