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Pancreatitis in Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Pancreatitis in Dogs

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Like us, our canine friends also have a pancreas, a vital organ for the correct functioning of their digestive system. The pancreas affects the whole organism, as it releases glucagon and insulin, two hormones related to the metabolism of carbohydrates. Therefore, a change in your dog's nutrition will have systematic repercussions on your pet.

Food and digestive processes are vital to keep your dog at optimum health. However, sometimes a disorder can appear that affects nutrition and has a grave impact on the dog's entire organism.

In this AnimalWised article we will talk about the causes, symptoms and treatment of pancreatitis in dogs, a serious condition that must be treated quickly.

You may also be interested in: What Causes Pancreatitis in Cats?
  1. What is canine pancreatitis?
  2. What are the causes of canine pancreatitis?
  3. Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs
  4. Treatment of pancreatitis in dogs

What is canine pancreatitis?

The term pancreatitis literally means inflammation of the pancreas, but owing to the important functions of this organ this condition is far more than a simple inflamed state. To understand the damage that occurs in the pancreas, you should know about one of its main functions.

The pancreas synthesizes digestive enzymes that are activated in the stomach in order to facilitate the digestion of food. However, in the case of pancreatitis, the enzymes are activated in the pancreas and cause it to digest itself. When this happens, the organ becomes hugely swollen and causes damage that can sometimes become irreparable.

There are two types of pancreatitis in dogs:

  • Acute Pancreatitis: Symptoms occur suddenly and are very obvious and easy to spot.
  • Chronic pancreatitis: Symptoms are not as intense as acute pancreatitis. In this case, the disease develops very slowly and is long lasting. It causes structural changes in the pancreas, and symptoms recur even after receiving treatment.
Pancreatitis in Dogs - What is canine pancreatitis?

What are the causes of canine pancreatitis?

The exact cause of canine pancreatitis remains unknown, but it is known that the appearance of this disease is closely linked to nutrition, because the following have been clearly identified as risk factors:

  • Dogs with obesity
  • Diets with excess fat
  • Food with a high percentage of protein

In addition to causes related to a dog's diet, pancreatitis can also appear as a consequence of other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, kidney problems, infections or cardiovascular diseases.

Pancreatitis in Dogs - What are the causes of canine pancreatitis?

Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs

If you see any of the following symptoms in your pet, you should be alerted to the possible presence of pancreatitis:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Apathy

It is essential to go to the vet to get an official diagnosis. Although there is no specific diagnostic test, the vet will perform a blood and feces analysis and an ultrasound scan for dogs to confirm pancreatitis and to assess the damage done to the organ.

Pancreatitis in Dogs - Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs

Treatment of pancreatitis in dogs

There is sometimes no cure for pancreatitis in dogs as the damage caused is irreversible. In this case, the only option is to administer a palliative treatment that improves the patient's quality of life, and to definitively establish a low fat diet.

If faced with acute pancreatitis, all you usually need to do is stop your dog from consuming food and water for a day to stop the secretion of digestive enzymes before gradually returning to normal diet.

However, digestive enzymes are usually prescribed in any case. These allow your dog to properly digest food and restore its body weight. Administration of digestive enzymes can be supplemented with anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce the symptoms of pain and inflammation.

The only preventive tool you have against pancreatitis in dogs is to feed your pet properly to avoid excess body weight.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Pancreatitis in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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1 comment
tracey weekes
is chappie kibble good for dogs with pancrititus it contains 8%fat and 20% protein.
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Pancreatitis in Dogs