Canine Pancreas

Location of pancreas

The pancreas is rarely seen during a pregnancy scan, but can occasionally be seen incidentally. Its purpose is to product insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar levels, and enzymes to aid digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

The pancreas is located inferior to the stomach and attached to the wall of the duodenum.

The left limb of the pancreas extends from the left kidney to the liver.
The body of the pancreas continues from the liver, turning the corner and becoming the right limb of the pancreas.

Location of pancreas

The left limb of the pancreas extends from the left kidney to the liver.
The body of the pancreas continues from the liver turning the corner and becoming the right limb of the pancreas.

Canine Pancreas

Above: Transverse section through the body of the pancreas.

The pancreas is of similar reflectivity of the surrounding mesentery; when healthy, it is difficult to visualise on ultrasound. Image quality depends a lot on the habitus of the dog. In the presence of the pancreatitis, the pancreatic juices are released into the surrounding tissues and the pancreas starts to digest itself, and its appearance becomes less reflective and irregular in outline.

Ultrasound is most useful for veterinarians in excluding a pancreatic mass as the cause of the clinical presentation.

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