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Today is: Wednesday January 17, 2018


Pancreatitis in Dogs

Panreatitis is when the pancreas, a small organ located in the abdomen next to the small intestine, becomes inflamed. This is an extremely painful and debilitating condition. And, can become fatal. With pancreatitis, the pancreas actually begins to digest itself.

There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis means that the attack comes on suddenly. Chronic pancreatitis involves persistent inflammation of the pancreas.

The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis can be easily confused with other illnesses. Some signs of pancreatitis include:

  • Vomitting

  • Inappetance

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Lethargy

  • Dehydration

Diagnosis of pancreatitis is done through multiple tests. Including:

  • A complete physical examination

  • Bloodwork - Mainly looking to see if the Lipase and Amylase enzymes are elevated.

  • X-Rays

  • Ultrasound

The treatment plan will be determined by the severity of the pancreatitis, as well as the existance of other illnesses. The ultimate goal of treatment is to rest the pancreas. In most cases, food and water will be completely withheld for at least 24 hours and upto five days. In some cases, your dog will need to be admitted into the hospital for supportive care, including I.V. fluids and some injectable medicines. Once the pancreas starts to become less inflamed and the vomitting has stopped, food and water will be slowly reintroduced.

Although the exact cause of pancreatitis is unknown, it is suggested that it may be caused by:

  • Eating high fat foods, pancreatitis can occur even if the dog has been eating the same foods for years

  • Trauma, for example getting hit by a car or taking a bad fall

  • Other diseases, such as Cushing's disease or diabetes

  • Tumors on the pancreas

Some dogs will only get pancreatitis once in their life, others will have many attacks. Therefore, it would be best for your dog to feed a low-fat, high protein diet for the rest of his life. For some dogs, even the smell of something can trigger a pancreatic attack.

This site and its contents are intended to serve as basic informational purposes 
 --not a substitute for-- 
professional veterinary care!

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