The pancreas, while being a small organ, delivers a significant impact on digestion of food and blood sugar regulation. Functionally, the pancreas is divided into two sections: 1) the larger exocrine pancreas releases digestive enzymes to breakdown fats and proteins in the diet and 2) the smaller endocrine pancreas releases blood sugar regulating hormones. Abnormalities of the pancreas include:
- Inflammation, termed pancreatitis. Dogs may succumb to pancreatitis after ingesting a high fat meal, trauma, and certain drugs. Dogs with pancreatitis are ill, experiencing vomiting, anorexia, and abdominal pain.
- Failure to produce enzymes and/or hormones as in exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and diabetes mellitus respectively.