Pancreatitis: Acute & Chronic Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Aimee Beck
5 min readApr 8, 2021

Pancreatitis is a serious condition. It’s painful, and it can lead to other issues like hepatitis (liver issues) and multiple organ failure. While most cases of acute pancreatitis are treatable, the condition can be life-threatening.

But before we delve into the finer details of pancreatitis, let’s start by talking about the organ itself.

What Is a Pancreas?

A pancreas is an abdominal organ that plays a role in digestion. Digestion is the process of converting food into energy. The pancreas produces enzymes that help break down protein, fat and carbohydrates from your pet’s food and convert them into nutrients his body can absorb and use for energy, growth and cell repair.

Enzymes produced by the pancreas:

The pancreas also produces the hormone, insulin.

Digested carbohydrates turn into glucose, also called blood sugar, which travels through the bloodstream to various parts of the body. Glucose needs insulin to move from the bloodstream into the cells where it is either used for energy or stored for later.

So, now that we know more about the pancreas, we can explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options of pancreatitis.

What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Inflammation can range from mild to severe. In some cases it can be fatal.

The pancreas produces digestive enzymes in an inactive state until they’re activated by the duodenum in the small intestine. This is what triggers digestion.

In severe cases of pancreatitis, the enzymes are activated too early, which triggers them to digest the pancreas itself, causing inflammation-aka pancreatitis.

There are two types of pancreatitis:

Acute pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed (swollen) over a short period of time.

Chronic pancreatitis results in persistent inflammation of the pancreas, which can lead to permanent damage.

Pets who recover from an acute episode of pancreatitis may experience future episodes. When that happens, it…

Aimee Beck

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