The pancreas sits in the abdominal cavity of a dog's body next to its stomach. It is a thin, long, organ that is pinkish in color.
Normally it assists in the digestive process by producing various enzymes, as well as hormones that help regulate insulin.
If a dog has pancreatitis, these normal functions may be affected and secondary problems in other parts of the abdomen may also occur. Common secondary problems include issues with the gallbladder, liver, and intestines, due to the close proximity of these organs to the pancreas. Pancreatitis also causes inflammation of the pancreas and is very painful to dogs.
Typically, pancreatitis is referred to either as acute or chronic, respectively meaning it either occurred quickly and then lasts for days or it has lasted months or sometimes years. Dogs can experience both types of pancreatitis and some breeds are more likely to develop it than others.