Canine Pancreatitis: Symptoms, Treatments and Information

Canine Pancreatitis

Canine pancreatitis affects middle-aged and elderly dogs. Females fall prey to the disease more than males. Genetics matter as well. Small dogs, Cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, miniature schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers tend to be most susceptible to developing dog pancreatitis. Not every dog will develop pancreatitis. However, many cases can be prevented. Pancreatitis in dogs occurs when the pancreatic juices attack the tissue of a dog pancreas creating inflammation. Other conditions such as diabetes, pancreatic trauma and kidney disease may lead to pancreatits. Sometimes, it appears for no reason. The painful disease is preventable. The best prevention includes lifestyle and dietary changes. Experts believe canine pancreatitis is a result of poor diets. Inexpensive dog foods are high fat, low protein and fillers with no nutritional value. Always feed your dog high quality dog foods with a good source of protein and fat. Real chicken, beef, lamb, duck and seafood should be the first ingredient. Avoid foods listing food coloring, meat by-products, corn gluten, soybean meal and artificial flavoring. Don’t forget chocolate products and onions are toxic to dogs. From puppyhood, feed high-protein, low carb foods to your pet. Make sure your pet has fresh water to drink. Exercise your dog daily. These steps help prevent canine pancreatitis later in life. Watch for changes in appetite. Dogs with pancreatitis often stop eating and drinking due to the pain. Other canine pancreatic symptoms include: • Abdominal pain • Diarrhea • Fever • Restlessness • Vomiting • Weakness Identifying abdominal pain takes time. A dog can’t say he/she’s in pain. Watch for a dog that will not lie down completely, changes position frequently or lies on the chest while leaving the backside in the air. If you suspect anything, call your vet. These common symptoms of pancreatitis are found in other canine conditions, so see your pet’s veterinarian for advice and treatment. A proper diagnosis involves a thorough blood test that measures levels of enzymes found in the pancreas. A veterinarian also takes a urine sample to check these enzyme levels. If results prove positive, an x-ray of the abdomen will confirm it. Dogs diagnosed with canine pancreatitis will be hospitalized for a few days. An IV delivers fluids to avoid dehydration and help flush out any toxins. The dog will be kept calm and allowed to rest. Medications to reduce diarrhea and vomiting are given. Pain medication is used to keep an animal comfortable. If rest, liquids and medication do not help, surgery is a last option. Surgeons will remove any masses or blockages. The dangers of surgery force this to be a drastic lifesaving method. Once a dog recovers from canine pancreatitis, it is essential that a diet high in protein is provided. Ask your vet for a list of suggested foods and always read labels. Manufacturers change their formulas frequently, so a good food may become a bad food.