Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis is a common medical concern that can affect dogs of all breeds.  Pancreatitis is a technical term for inflammation and swelling of the pancreas. There can be different ways in which this will affect your dog, depending on whether he has a mild or severe bout of it. Pancreatitis can occur because of an underlying medical condition or because of an acute problem associated with diet.

Causes of Pancreatitis
Dogs that suffer from Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and idiopathic hyperlipemia have higher occurrences of pancreatitis. High serum lipid levels and corticosteroids can bring on an attack of pancreatitis. Dogs that are overweight, spayed, or that eat fatty foods have a higher risk than other dogs for triggering an attack of pancreatitis.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

There are many different symptoms of pancreatitis. You will usually notice your dog vomiting and he will appear to be in pain. Dogs who are experiencing the pains of pancreatitis usually curl up and lay down or have their abdomen tucked up and their tail tucked underneath them. Many dogs also exhibit diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, or constipation. Because of these symptoms, it is especially important to keep your dog hydrated and watch for symptoms of shock.

If your dog has a mild case of pancreatitis, you may notice him acting depressed, lethargic, and under the weather. He will probably be vomiting and it will seem like he cannot hold anything down. It’s important to keep giving him fresh water and if too much time passes with a lot of vomiting and diarrhea, offer him something with electrolytes, like Pedialyte. If your dog gets dehydrated, even more complications will arise.

There are more severe forms of pancreatitis and this is why, if you suspect your dog may be suffering from something, you should take him to the vet immediately. Fulminant necrotizing pancreatitis is a very severe form of pancreatitis which has a quick onset and is usually fatal.

What You Can Do
If your dog has pancreatitis, there are some things you can do to ease his discomfort. Once you have gotten a diagnosis, the symptoms may last for days. Make sure your dog has a comfortable place to lie down and don’t offer him anything to eat for no less than 24 – 48 hours. Dogs will naturally fast when they are ill so you are not hurting him by withholding food. Always keep liquids available, however. Once your dog does resume eating, offer him chicken broth, boiled chicken, and rice. Don’t put him back on his regular diet until you see his daily pattern return to normal. Those foods are easier on his stomach and healthier during this time.

Pancreatitis can be a very serious illness that could cause lasting damage. It’s nothing to be taken lightly. Pancreatitis could lead to diabetes and other debilitating disorders. Dogs who have experienced pancreatitis in the past are susceptible to bouts in the future so the best thing you can do for him is to keep him on a strict diet and avoid table scraps and fatty foods.

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