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Dog Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in dogs is a painful disease that causes vomiting
and dehydration. Pancreatitis is essentially inflammation of
the pancreas. Sam Meisler DVM, a small animal veterinarian,
discusses the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of

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Pancreatitis in Dogs

What is the pancreas? It’s the organ that produces and
stores enzymes for digestion of sugars and proteins. The
pancreas is structured and made up of proteins so a delicate
balance must be maintained so that the pancreas doesn’t
digest itself. Similar to storing a flammable or potentially
unstable substance like gunpowder, the pancreas needs to
maintain an environment using a system of checks and
balances where the wrong substance is not introduced.
When this balance is upset, inflammation can occur.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, not eating,
weakness, dehydration, and intense abdominal pain.

What sparks Pancreatitis? Many dogs are predisposed to it
with the most common dog being the Miniature Schnauzer.
A rich diet stimulates the pancreas, which can lead to a bout
of pancreatitis. Stress and certain medications can also be
factors in pancreatitis.

When your dog has pancreatitis, your vet will perform a
blood test to look for higher levels of enzymes that are
being released into the blood stream by the pancreas. Two
enzymes, amylase and lipase, can increase dramatically. To
treat pancreatitis, the vet will order fasting, IV fluids and/or
nutrition to tone down the pancreas. Antibiotics are used if
there is a concern of bacteria coming through the intestinal
wall. Once the condition has calmed down, your dog will be
put on a very bland, low fat diet and non-stimulatory foods.
Pancreatitis attacks can last from one day up to several
days. They can be serious with a very sick dog or can be
quite mild where a simple diet change clears up the
Pancreatitis in dogs is not the same as in
humans where it is related to cancer. Happily, that link is not
there in dogs.

- Sam Meisler DVM

The statements or information on this website have not
been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.