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Objectives: To assess the prevalence of canine chronic pancreatitis in first-opinion practice and identify breed associations or other risk factors.

Methods: Three sections of pancreas were taken from 200 unselected canine post-mortem examinations from first-opinion practices. Sections were graded for inflammation, fibrosis and other lesions. Prevalence and relative risks of chronic pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases were calculated.

Results: The prevalence of chronic pancreatitis was 34 per cent omitting the autolysed cases. Cavalier King Charles spaniels, collies and boxers had increased relative risks of chronic pancreatitis; cocker spaniels had an increased relative risks of acute and chronic pancreatitis combined. Fifty-seven per cent of cases of chronic pancreatitis were classified histologically as moderate or marked. Forty-one per cent of cases involved all three sections. Dogs with chronic pancreatitis were more commonly female and overweight, but neither factor increased the relative risk of chronic pancreatitis. There were breed differences in histological appearances and 24·5 per cent of cases were too autolysed to interpret with an increased relative risk of autolysis in a number of large breeds.

Clinical Significance: Chronic pancreatitis is a common, under-estimated disease in the first-opinion dog population with distinctive breed risks and histological appearances.