Part of being a loving dog owner is helping to make sure your dog stays healthy. One condition that’s not uncommon in dogs is pancreatitis – and it can be dangerous.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ in the upper abdomen that produces digestive enzymes and hormones, including insulin which regulates blood sugar.
Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. This can be an acute or a chronic process. If a dog recovers from acute pancreatitis, he may suffer recurrences and this can cause damage to other organs.
What Causes Pancreatitis?
The actual cause of this disorder is unknown, but we do know that it can be associated with eating rich fatty foods or having corticosteroid drugs. The resulting inflammation and early release of digestive enzymes causes the pancreas to begin digesting itself.
Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs
- Appetite loss
- Belly pain
- Fever or low body temperature
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog displays these symptoms for more than a day or so, take him to the vet immediately.
How can I help my dog avoid pancreatitis?
- Don’t feed your dog table scraps, especially fatty or rich foods
- Avoid low-protein diets unless they are medically prescribed
- Be aware that certain medications can be linked to pancreatitis. Talk to your vet for advice
- Be aware that certain health conditions like diabetes can make a dog more prone to developing pancreatitis
- Some breeds including Miniature Schnauzers, Collies, Boxers, and Daschunds have a higher risk of the condition
Pancreatitis can occur in any dog regardless of age, sex or breed. Most, however, are middle aged or older, overweight, and not particularly active.
What will my Vet do?
Your vet will examine your dog and test his blood. Some will also take x-rays or ultrasounds to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment includes controlling vomiting, rehydrating, and introducing small meals. Pain medication is usually given and the dog is placed on a fat-restricted, easy to digest prescription diet while he recovers.
Prevention of recurrence includes weight control and exercise. Only essential medications should be given. And avoid allowing your dog to eat high fat foods. Pay attention to these and your dog will be back and enjoying doggie day care in no time!