Understanding Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis in dogs is a fairly common disease that most pet owners are unaware of until they are faced with it. If your dog has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis, you are no doubt wondering what could have caused it. In this article, I will provide you with important information about the cause, signs, symptoms and treatment of Pancretitis in dogs.

What is the Pancreas and what does it do?

The Pancreas is an organ in the abdomen. It is responsible for helping with food digestion and producing hormones such as Insulin.

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that causes the enzymes that are responsible for food digestion to leak from the pancreas. The leakage causes the pancreas to begin digesting itself.

There are two main types of Pancreatitis.

Chronic Pancreatitis is the milder of the two, but can reoccur and often causes lasting damage in the pancreas.        Acute Pancreatitis is more severe, but can be treated medically without causing lasting damage to the pancreas.  It’s important to remember that whether your dog suffers from acute or chronic Pancreatitis, once your dog has suffered from Pancreatitis it is more susceptible to future attacks.

What are the main causes of Pancreatitis?

There are many causes of Pancreatitis, and in some cases the exact cause remains unclear. Some of the possible causes include, but aren’t limited to:

Obesity    Poor diet    Lack of exercise    Trauma  Your veterinarian will discuss in detail your dogs every day life to try to determine the exact cause of your dogs illness.

What are the signs of Pancreatitis?

The possible signs of Pancreatitis include, but aren’t limited to:

Vomiting    Diarrhea (Possibly with blood)    Yellow greasy-like stool    Refusal to eat    Refusal to drink    A Swollen, Hard, and sometimes painful belly    Fever  If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms you should contact your veterinarian. For more information, see it here.

What is the treatment for Pancreatitis?

There is no exact cure for Pancreatitis. The veterinarian will most likely admit your dog into the hospital for 2-5 days of treatment. The veterinarian will withhold food and water for 24-48 hours and provide IV fluids and pain medications. This is all in an effort to rest your dog’s pancreas to allow it to heal. After leaving the hospital, your dog will be put on a low fat dog food such as Purina’s Veterinary Diets EN Gasroenteric. For overweight dogs Purina’s Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management is one of low fat foods available. Both of these foods are only available from your veterinarian’s office.

What is the prognosis of a dog with Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis can be a life threatening disease, one that often returns after the initial episode. It is important that you follow the instructions of your veterinarian in regards to your pet’s diet and excise in order to lower the risk of another attack.

If you suspect that your dog may have Pancreatitis, you should contact your veterinarian immediately to prevent permanent damage to the pancreas, or even the death of your dog.