What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that may be either chronic or acute in nature. Acute pancreatitis is an abrupt illness in contrast to chronic pancreatitis which is an ongoing continuing condition. Acute pancreatitis has little long term damage to the pancreas while chronic pancreatitis causes irreversible damage. In either case, the normal defense mechanisms in the pancreas are compromised allowing the pancreatic enzymes (which are normally blocked) to start to digest the pancreas itself leading to tissue destruction.
How does my dog get Pancreatitis?
ACUTE: the specific cause is usually unknown but has been linked to high fat diets, damage or injury to the pancreas, pancreatic duct blockage, certain drugs or poisons, gastric reflux, various infectious agents, chronic kidney failure, among others.
CHRONIC: recurrent bouts of acute pancreatits that may or may not have severe signs.
How do I know if my dog has Pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis is most commonly seen in middle age female dogs although males are affected also. Most common signs noted will be associated with the gastrointestinal tract. Lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal positioning in an effort to get comfortable, sometimes diarrhea.
Chronic pancreatitis may be associated with recurrent bouts of the above but of a less severe nature.
Your veterinarian will take some blood samples, urine samples and radiographs to help confirm the diagnosis. These findings in conjunction with physical exam findings of lethargy, dehydration, abdominal pain, fever, etc. will help to confirm pancreatitis.
What can I do about Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is a medical emergency. If you believe your pet has pancreatitis they should see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Dehydration is a common sequel to the vomiting and lack of interest in ingesting water. Once diagnosed, pancreatitis will require a combination of intensive veterinary care and appropriate at home care.
Chronic pancreatitis may be a lifestyle disease requiring dietary manipulations and medications.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting pancreatitis?
Since there is an increased risk with obesity, weight reduction is extremely beneficial. High fat diets or table foods should be avoided at all times. Avoid the drugs or toxins that also increase the risk of pancreas inflammation, see your veterinarian for his list.
Are there certain breeds that get more often?
Miniature schnauzers, miniature poodles, and cocker spaniels are over represented.