Clinical, clinicopathologic, radiographic, and ultrasonographic abnormalities in dogs with fatal acute pancreatitis: 70 cases (1986-1995)

Rebecka S. Hess, H. Mark Saunders, Thomas J. Van Winkle, Frances S. Shofer, Robert J. Washabau

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234 Scopus citations


Objective - To determine clinical, clinicopathologic, radiographic, ultrasonographic, and coagulation abnormalities in dogs in which acute pancreatitis was fatal. Design - Retrospective study. Animals - 70 dogs. Procedure - History, clinical signs, and physical examination findings at the time of initial evaluation at the veterinary teaching hospital; results of pretreatment laboratory tests, abdominal radiography, and ultrasonography; and histologic abnormalities were obtained from medical records. Results - Clinical signs included anorexia, vomiting, weakness diarrhea, polyuria and polydipsia, neurologic abnormalities, melena, weight loss, hematemesis, and passage of frank blood in feces. At the time of initial examination at the veterinary teaching hospital, 68 (97%) dogs were dehydrated 18 (26%) were icteric, 22 (32%) were febrile, 40 (58%) had signs of abdominal pain, and 30 (43%) were classified as overweight or obese. Most dogs had leukocytosis, neutrophilia with a left shift, and thrombocytopenia. Various serum biochemical abnormalities were identified, including hypoglycemia, azotemia, hypercalcemia and other electrolyte abnormalities, hypoalbuminemia, high hepatic and pancreatic enzyme activities, hypercholesterolemia, and lipemia. For 17 of 28 (61%) dogs results of coagulation function tests were abnormal. Results of abdominal ultrasonography and radiography were consistent with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis in 23 of 34 (68%) and 10 of 41 (24%) dogs, respectively For 2 dogs, results of abdominal ultrasonography were not suggestive of acute pancreatitis, but results of abdominal radiography were. Clinical Implications - Clinical signs and results of clinicopathologic tests are inconsistent. Abdominal ultrasonography may be valuable in the diagnostic evaluation of dogs suspected to have acute pancreatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-670
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


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