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Acute Pancreatitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Other medical problems can lead to symptoms similar to those encountered in acute pancreatitis. It is important to exclude these conditions before establishing a definitive diagnosis.

  • Acute pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidneys

  • Biliary tract obstruction caused by cancer or gall bladder stones (rare). Also, severe pancreatitis can cause compression of the bile duct and clinical symptoms of biliary obstruction (icterus or jaundice – a term that refers to yellow color of the mucous membranes such as the sclera of the eye and the gums).

  • Intestinal perforation by a foreign body or tumor

  • Diabetes mellitus with ketoacidosis (accumulation of acid ketone by-products in the blood resulting in metabolic acidosis) can cause symptoms similar to those observed in dogs with pancreatitis. Also, some dogs with diabetes mellitus may have complicating pancreatitis.

  • Intestinal foreign body

  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract that causes clinical symptoms similar to those observed in pets with pancreatitis.

  • Some inflammatory liver diseases can cause abdominal pain, vomiting and lethargy and thus be confused with pancreatitis.

  • Intestinal obstruction caused by a tumor or foreign body.

  • Parvovirus gastroenteritis is an infectious disease caused by a virus that usually affects young unvaccinated dogs.

  • Peritonitis is an inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity, and can be caused by several mechanisms including intestinal perforation. Peritonitis can also occur as a complication of pancreatitis.

  • Acute prostatitis is an inflammatory condition of the prostate gland usually caused by bacterial infection that can cause severe abdominal pain, fever and lethargy.

  • Pyometra is an bacterial infection of the uterus in intact female dogs.

  • Pancreatic abscess can complicate pancreatitis and usually requires surgical treatment.

  • Kidney failure can produce clinical symptoms (loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy) similar to those observed in dogs with pancreatitis.

  • Body-wide bacterial infections (sepsis) can also cause clinical symptoms (loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy) similar to those observed in dogs with pancreatitis.

  • Intestinal volvulus is an abnormal twisting of the intestine that can cause clinical symptoms similar to those observed in pancreatitis.

  • Intestinal intussusception is a telescoping of the intestine onto itself that can cause clinical symptoms similar to those observed in pancreatitis.

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