Original Research

Comparison of clinical findings in 293 dogs with suspect acute pancreatitis: Different clinical presentation with left lobe, right lobe or diffuse involvement of the pancreas

Chad F. Berman, Remo G. Lobetti, Eric Lindquist
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 91 | a2022 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v91i0.2022 | © 2020 Chad F. Berman, Remo G. Lobetti, Eric Lindquist | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 September 2019 | Published: 21 April 2020

About the author(s)

Chad F. Berman, Bryanston Veterinary Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Companion Animal and Clinical Studies, Onderstepoort, South Africa
Remo G. Lobetti, Bryanston Veterinary Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa
Eric Lindquist, Sonopath, New Jersey, United States

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Pancreatitis is a common clinical condition seen in companion animals. The correlation of the region of the pancreas affected to the presentation of clinical signs has not been previously described. A retrospective study on the clinical findings in 293 client-owned dogs diagnosed with suspect pancreatitis based on history, clinical signs, laboratory testing and abdominal ultrasonography was performed. Based on ultrasonography, dogs were divided into three groups: group 1: 41 dogs with ultrasonographic changes consistent with pancreatitis within the left lobe of the pancreas; group 2: 105 dogs with ultrasonographic changes compatible with pancreatitis within the right lobe of the pancreas; and group 3: 147 dogs with ultrasonographic evidence of diffuse pancreatitis. No significant differences regarding age, breed and sex were evident. Furthermore, statistical significance was demonstrated with the presence of pain in group 3; poor appetite in groups 2 and 3; and vomiting and diarrhoea in group 3. Pain is expected to occur with a higher frequency in diffuse pancreatitis, but it is not a common clinical sign. This may represent a more severe form of the disease when the pancreas is diffusely affected. Vomiting was more common than diarrhoea with both clinical signs more prevalent in dogs with diffuse pancreatitis, and this could be ascribed to gastric and intestinal tract involvement. Poor appetite occurred more frequently in dogs with diffuse and right lobe pancreatitis. A possible explanation can be attributed to the fact that the duodenum has many receptors and is referred to as the ‘organ of nausea’.


gastroenterology; pancreatitis; internal medicine; companion animals; organ of nausea


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