What Is The Treatment For Pancreatitis
Most dogs with pancreatitis require hospitalization and veterinarian-supervised treatment. Treatment consists of intravenous fluid therapy to rehydrate the body, treat shock, correct electrolyte imbalances, and flush out toxins.
In some cases, surgery may be required to remove cysts, abscesses, tumors, or dead tissue from the pancreas or to unblock a bile duct.
Unless the dog cant stop vomiting, feeding is an important part of therapy because it maintains the lining of the gut and minimizes gut bacteria moving out of the intestines and into the rest of the body, which can cause sepsis. The dog must be fed a low-fat, highly digestible diet, such as a prescribed therapeutic dog food, or rice. If the dog wont eat, then a short-term feeding tube is placed.
There are several medications that are used to treat pancreatitis in dogs. Any or all of the following may be prescribed:
- Anti-inflammatory medication, such as steroids for severe cases when dogs are in shock
- Antibiotics if there is evidence of sepsis
- Pain medication for abdominal pain
What You Need To Know About Dog Food For Pancreatitis
Image via Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock
The pancreas is not an organ that many pet parents have reason to think aboutthat is, until something goes wrong with it. Pancreatitis is the most common disease of the pancreas in dogs. Lets investigate the causes and symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs and what can be done to prevent and treat this serious condition, including the role that a low-fat dog food can play.
I Felt Guilty About Spoiling My Dogs With Treats
Courtesy Florina Rodov
I realized I shouldnt have fed Fancy the burgerbut she loved it and that made me happy. I was too permissive because I was overcompensating for being away from Fancy and Tallulah. Id been working in Los Angeles for a few years, so I left them in New York with my retired dad who had plenty of time on his hands. And he was mourning the death of his best friend Bricks, our 135-pound Rottweiler, so having two little yappers running around cheered him up. Though I visited often, it wasnt the same as living with them. So, when I moved back to New York, I spoiled them rottenand that included giving them lots of treats. After a sleepless night, I called Dr. Hammer in the morning.
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Is Gabapentin Good For Dogs With Pancreatitis
It is generally best to start with a high level of analgesia initially as suggested by the pain score, then reducing once pain has been well controlled rather than titrating up if pain control is ineffective. For any level of pain, gabapentin can be added as part of the multimodal approach to pain treatment.
I Became Stricter With The Treatsand Everything Else
That night I decided to become more authoritative, a parenting approach that balances warmth with boundaries. I fed Fancy the low-fat dog food Dr. Hammer had given us, which she ate for a couple of days, then decided she didnt like. So I cooked chicken, rice, and nothing else, which I mixed into a three-to-one ratio and added to both dogs low-fat dry food. As hard as it was not to give them a little salami sometimes, especially when they guilt-tripped me with their puppy eyes, I stuck to my guns. I even limited the doggy treats since some of them were high in fat. During Thanksgiving dinner, I vigilantly monitored the table, and when I saw my uncle about to give Fancy some turkey, I ripped it out of his hand.
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How Does The Vet Diagnose Pancreatitis
To start, the vet considers your dogs medical history.
Dogs with a history of pancreatitis are likely to develop it again. They might also consider past illnesses and injuries, dietary needs and medications that your dog takes.
Medical conditions like seizures and indigestion could point to pancreatitis.
Next, the vet may perform a physical examination. Theyll check the dogs stomach for bloating and discomfort, take their temperature, monitor their heart rate and check their eyes, gums and ears.
This could rule out a number of other conditions.
Unfortunately, theres no test that immediately detects pancreatitis. The vet could perform X-rays to get a clearer view and see if another issue has caused vomiting and diarrhea, like a toy lodged in your dogs stomach.
Your vet could also perform an ultrasound, but it might not reveal an inflamed pancreas in mild cases.
Blood tests wont provide a direct diagnosis, but they look for signs like increased pancreatic enzyme levels and a high white blood cell count.
If nothing else works, your vet could perform surgery to get an accurate diagnosis. However, surgery could worsen your dogs condition and lead to complications.
In any case, never try to diagnose and treat pancreatitis at home. You can tell your vet that you suspect that your dog has pancreatitis, but let them rule out other conditions first. Otherwise, you might subject your dog to unnecessary treatments.
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How To Prevent Pancreatitis In Dogs
Measures for preventing pancreatitis in dogs include reducing high-fat foods and ensuring your dog gets proper and quality nutrition. If your dog is an at-risk breed, make sure to do the monitoring regularly, and if there is any sign that could indicate pancreatitis, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How To Know If Your Dog Has Pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis has a lot of symptoms. The most common ones include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Swollen Abdomen
If your dog shows one or two of these signs and only happens infrequently, you can monitor your dog to further assess his condition. However, if all of the signs are observed at once, go to your vet immediately.
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What Can You Do To Help Prevent Pancreatitis
Sometimes dogs develop pancreatitis and we just dont know why, but there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of your dog developing pancreatitis, including:
- Avoid feeding high-fat treats, table scraps, or other fatty foods.
- If your dog is overweight or obese, work with your veterinarian to lose weight.
- If your dog is an at-risk breed, avoid drugs that may precipitate pancreatitis.
- Feed a high-quality dog food that has guaranteed probiotics and prebiotics for intestinal health, and dont switch foods around unless you are working with your veterinarian. If you do switch, do it slowly mix in new foods over a period of days to allow for a smooth transition.
- If your dog exhibits any signs that are consistent with pancreatitis, call your veterinarian immediately.
Pancreatitis can be a scary ordeal for pet parents, but by knowing your dogs habits, minimizing risk factors, and avoiding doing things that are known to cause pancreatitis, you can minimize your dogs chances of developing the disease.
How Long Can A Dog Live With Pancreatitis
Life expectancy for dogs diagnosed with pancreatitis is difficult to predict. In mild, uncomplicated cases, the prognosis is usually good, with most patients going on to make a full recovery. This is especially the case if high-fat diets are avoided and good veterinary and nursing care is provided. But in more serious cases the prognosis is guarded. This is partly because dogs with severe pancreatitis often have frequent acute episodes or complicating factors such as hypothermia, acidosis, hypocalcemia, and single or multiple-organ failure.
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Are There Different Types Of Pancreatitis
There are! Pancreatitis in dogs can be divided into two broad categories: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis happens when inflammation in the pancreas occurs abruptly, is treated and resolved, and no permanent damage to the pancreas is done. Chronic pancreatitis happens when inflammation in the pancreas continues over a longer period of time . When a pancreas is inflamed for a long time, irreversible damage can be done to the pancreas, reducing its ability to secrete digestive enzymes and insulin, and ultimately impacting a dogs ability to digest food properly. Chronic pancreatitis can also predispose a dog to developing Diabetes Mellitus, a hormonal condition that requires insulin injections to regulate blood sugar.
How Does A Vet Diagnose Pancreatitis In Dogs
- Your dogs medical history
- Blood tests to measure pancreatic enzymes
- Physical examination including stomach, gums, heart, temperature
- Radiographs or ultrasound, to rule out other causes
- Fine needle aspiration of the pancreas
As the Merck Veterinary Manual notes, as with any disease, no test should be used in isolation for diagnosis, and all clinical findings should be used in conjunction to arrive at the most appropriate diagnosis.
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How The Pancreas Functions
The endocrine function of the pancreas includes the production of insulin, which is secreted into the blood in response to carbohydrate and protein ingestion.
The exocrine function involves the secretion of inactive digestive enzymes and bicarbonate into the intestine where they become activated to help break down ingested foodstuffs.
Fatty Holiday Foods Can Give Your Pets Pancreatitis
The holiday season is upon us and it is time for celebration! Like most pet owners, I love to include my pets in the festivities of the season. This tends to mean I slip them some of the delicious food my family and I are enjoying. However, I am very cautious in what foods they get because I want to avoid the infamous pancreatitis a debilitating and sometimes fatal condition.
During the holidays VETSS sees a significant increase in the number of pancreatitis cases. Follow these instructions youll be more likely to save your pets from a trip to the hospital.
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Are Certain Breeds Predisposed To Developing Pancreatitis
Some breeds are predisposed to developing pancreatitis.
Miniature Schnauzers are more likely to develop pancreatitis because they tend to have higher fat levels in their bloodstream.
Likewise, cocker spaniels may develop pancreatitis because they have a high predisposition to immune system disorders.
Other breeds more likely to develop pancreatitis include:
- Miniature poodles
- German Shepherds
- Alaskan Malamutes.
While every dog needs a low-fat diet, these breeds in particular should avoid fatty foods. Female dogs are also more likely to develop pancreatitis than male dogs.
Pancreatitis In Dogs: Prevention Management And Misconceptions
- Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to a smooth recovery in mild cases of pancreatitis and can help prevent symptoms from progressing into a life-threatening condition.
- Older and overweight dogs, and dogs of certain breeds, have a higher risk for developing pancreatitis.
- Two BIG things you can do to ward off pancreatitis: prevent dietary indiscretion and maintain an ideal body weight.
At some point, every dog owner will witness their pup suffer a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Very often, if they dont last longer than a day, these episodes are nothing to worry about. But sometimes, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargy can be signs of potentially serious conditionslike pancreatitis.
The term pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas. While the pancreas may fly under the radar, it plays an important role in your dogs health, and when its inflamed, it can be quite painful for your dog and in some cases lead to serious complications.
Unfortunately, this condition has been historically misunderstood, which means sometimes dog owners may not be identifying the true cause of the problem, and may miss the signs that could lead to early diagnosis and life-saving treatment. Here, well cover what you need to know about canine pancreatitis including causes, symptoms, and treatment options so you have the information you need to be an advocate for your pets health.
Understanding pancreatitis in dogs
Signs of pancreatitis
- Lack of appetite
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Symptoms Of Pancreatitis In Dogs
When dogs get pancreatitis, the general clinical signs involve the gastrointestinal tract.
- Vomiting: This is the most consistent sign but can be absent
- Not eating
- Acting depressed
- Painful in the abdominal area: Your dog will likely be restless, panting, trembling, or look “hunched-up.” Here’s an example of what “hunched up” might look like:
- Weakness, or in severe cases, collapse
Symptoms of pancreatitis tend to be vague and nonspecific. Often, when getting diagnosed by the veterinarian, other illnesses are found. Diagnosis is often made from the combined results of the exam, bloodwork, and an ultrasound of your dog’s abdomen.
How Is Canine Pancreatitis Diagnosed
Obtaining information about your pets medical history and performing a physical examination can provide your veterinarian with valuable information that can help determine if your dog may have pancreatitis. However, the diagnosis of pancreatitis can be complicated because there is no single test that can diagnose it in all cases. Initial diagnostic testing may include blood work such as a chemistry panel and complete blood cell count , radiographs , and an abdominal ultrasound examination to look for any pancreatic abnormalities and rule out intestinal blockages and other causes for the clinical signs. There are also specific blood tests that, when combined with other supporting information, can help diagnose pancreatitis your veterinarian may recommend specific testing if pancreatitis is suspected.
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How Long Does Pancreatitis Take To Heal In Dogs
It can take up three days for dogs to recover from mild symptoms of pancreatitis. However, if your dog suffers severe symptoms, they may suffer from pancreatitis several times throughout their life. If your dog does suffer from recurring pancreatitis, its important to visit a veterinary practice for advice and to keep them on a specialist diet. At Burns, we have a team of Nutritional Advisors and we would be happy to advise on which dog food is most suitable for your dogs condition.
Possible Causes Of Pancreatitis In Dogs
Typically, in dogs with spontaneous pancreatitis, the cause is unknown. And the symptoms are so variable that an owner can miss a mild bout of pancreatitis but the damage has already begun. Dogs that have acute pancreatitis are likely to have it happen again, eventually creating a chronic condition.
The following is a list of just some of the potential factors that are considered possible causes of pancreatitis:
- Dietary indiscretion: If a dog eats food that they usually dont consume and/or that food is high in fat.
Even if an animal has regularly gotten table food or fatty foods, an adverse reaction to the food can happen at any time. I have had many patients who have gotten table scraps for an extended period and were fine. Then one day, their pancreas decided it had had enough.
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Can Fish Oil Cause Pancreatitis In Dogs
In addition to high fat diets and high doses of fatty acid supplementation, pancreatitis can also be a problem when feeding a high fat diet or when feeding a high dose of fatty acid. Dogs, cats, and humans have not been reported to have pancreatitis caused by omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements.
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Pancreatitis
The most common clinical signs include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. During an attack, dogs may take a ‘praying position’, with their rear end up in the air while their front legs and head are lowered onto the floor. If the attack is severe, acute shock, severe depression, and even death may occur.
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Thankfully My Dog Was Feeling Better
Fancys doing better, Dr. Hammer told me and explained that shed treated her with IV fluids and pain medications. She wanted to keep her on the fluids for another 24 hours to ensure her pancreas rested, but she said to stop by tomorrow to see if she can keep her food down. She suggested bringing steamed chicken and rice nothing elsesince low-fat, high-carbohydrate food is good for the pancreas.
The next day, a groggy Fancy stared at me through the bars in her cage as I mixed the steamed chicken, rice, and nothing else that I bought at the Chinese restaurant.
Too much rice will constipate her, Dr. Hammer said, so I shoveled some rice back into its container, leaving three-quarters chicken and one-quarter rice in Fancys bowl. When I opened the cage door to feed her, she gobbled up the food.
Good. If she makes it through the rest of the day and night without vomiting, you can pick her up tomorrow, she said.
What Is Pancreatitis
- Acute pancreatitis occurs abruptly with little to no permanent changes to the pancreas.
- Chronic pancreatitis is continuing inflammation that often results in irreversible or permanent changes in the pancreas.
In general, with acute or chronic pancreatitis, inflammation causes activations of enzymes within the pancreas itself. This results in a progressive breakdown of the pancreas’ tissue by its own enzymes in short, think of it as eating itself!
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What Is The Pancreas
The pancreas is an organ with two lobes. The right lobe is located near the small intestine while the left lobe sits next to the stomach.
Whenever your dog eats, the pancreas secretes juice with digestive enzymes that break down fat, proteins and carbohydrates, helping your dog digest food.
The pancreas also secretes hormones that stabilize your dogs blood sugar. When the pancreas detects high blood sugar levels, it releases insulin that reduces the blood sugar concentration.
Conversely, when your dogs blood sugar is too low, the pancreas releases a hormone that increases blood glucose levels.
Dogs can suffer from a number of pancreatic diseases, including: