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Published: Jul 11, 2012

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.