paw printDog and CatPancreatitis

Pancreatitis means “Inflammation” of the Pancreas…but there is more to it than that!

The Pancreas is responsible for releasing digestive enzymes that aid in digestion.
When it’s working normally, those enzymes activate upon reaching the small intestine, but in a dog with pancreatitis the enzymes activate upon release.  This premature activity can inflame and cause damage to the pancreas as well as to surrounding tissue and organs, like the liver.

While Pancreatitis is a condition for which small and toy breed dogs are particularly susceptible, there are several causes and conditions that can bring it on in any dog, not the least of which is a high fat diet, which is a major cause of pancreatitis, especially when a dog is served a large helping at one feeding, as is often the case during holidays, when family is compelled to share their feast with the family pet. Not a good idea!
And once a dog develops Pancreatitis, it is more susceptible to experience a recurrence.

Pancreatitis can be extremely painful, with dogs exhibiting symptoms like:

  • Hunched Back
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Pain or Distention of the Abdomen with Appearance of Bloating
  • Weakness/Lethargy
  • Fever

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis can be achieved by a veterinarian through:

  • Physical Exam including stomach, gums, heart and body temperature
  • Pancreatic Snap Test – Blood Test providing an instant read on Elevated Pancreatic Enzymes
  • X Rays reflecting illuminated images in pancreatic area
  • Ultrasound Imaging
  • Medical History

Once diagnosed, the appropriate treatment of Pancreatitis should start with pain management, along with early intervention to prevent further complications. Treatments also include:

  • Fluid therapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-Nausea Medication

Keep table scraps away from pets and keep feeding portions small – better to feed smaller amounts more frequently than large meals all at once – and you’ll be helping to make sure that Pancreatitis doesn’t strike!