Pancreatitis is a painful and potentially life threatening condition and requires veterinary attention as soon as possible.
The pancreas releases enzymes to help digestion. These enzymes usually don't start to work until they reach the small intestine but if a dog has pancreatitis, these enzymes become active as soon as they are released. This causes inflammation to the surrounding tissue and organs. In severe cases, the enzymes start to digest the pancreas itself, causing extreme pain.
Knowing the signs can enable your vet to start treatment quickly and effectively and help reduce the severity of the condition.
WATCH OUT FOR:
- Hunched back
- Appears uncomfortable or bloated in abdomen
- Not wanting to eat
A high-fat diet is a major cause of pancreatitis, especially for a dog who gets a large helping of fatty food in one sitting (such as human left overs or a rich marrow bone).
Obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes and certain medications or other toxins can also predispose a dog to pancreatitis. Some breeds such as miniature schnauzers are also more susceptible indicating there may be a genetic component.
Treatment involves intensive fluid therapy, anti vomiting drugs, gastric rest and then reintroduction of a low fat food, often for life. A dog that has had a bout of pancreatitis is much more susceptible to repeat attacks in the future so diet management is essential.