Dog Pancreatitis Symptoms

Dog pancreatitis is a condition that typically affects the pancreas of middle-aged to older dogs, but can strike at any age. The pancreas is a small organ that is located near the stomach and is a necessary part of the digestive system, excreting enzymes to help with the body’s processing of food. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that causes the enzymes to be leaked from the pancreas, causing pain as the enzymes destroy tissue.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

The primary symptom of pancreatitis is abdominal pain. Other symptoms that appear may be mild at first, but continue to escalate as the condition worsens. Symptoms of pancreatitis can include the following symptoms.

Pancreatitis causes abdominal pain from the inflammation of the pancreatic tissue.

Your dog may arch his back with his head thrust forward. This position elevates his belly and may provide temporary relief from the abdominal discomfort he is feeling.

Your dog may have a loss of appetite with pancreatitis. The abdominal pain he’s experiencing may make it even more uncomfortable to have food in his stomach. The additional food will also prompt the pancreas to produce more enzymes, increasing the discomfort in his belly.

Diarrhea can also be a symptom of pancreatitis. Any time the gastro-intestinal system is upset, the imbalance can result in loose bowels.

Vomiting can also be a result of an upset digestive system.

Inflammation of the pancreatic tissue can also result in a swollen abdomen. Swelling of the abdomen can add to the belly discomfort and tenderness your dog is already experiencing.

The stool color may change from normal brown color to an odd yellowish tone.

The overall discomfort your dog is feeling may lead to depression or sadness in your dog.

Because of the inflammation of the tissue, your dog may develop a fever as his body fights any infection that may be developing inside his abdomen.

Secondary Symptoms

As pancreatitis progresses, secondary symptoms develop that are a result of the initial onset of the condition.

  • Dehydration develops with the continuation of vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration can worsen if the vomiting and diarrhea are not brought under control.
  • Organs surrounding the pancreas can also become inflamed due to the enzymes leaking from the pancreas.
  • Your dog may experience difficulty in breathing. This can be caused by the vomiting, dehydration, stress and the awkward stance he has as he tries to find a more comfortable position.
  • As the enzymes continue to leak, they will destroy additional tissue throughout your dog’s body. This damage allows bleeding and infection to take place throughout the body.

As with any condition, the earlier you can catch and control pancreatitis, the easier it will be to return your dog to good health. While pancreatitis can be caused by an individual event such as digging through and eating garbage, more frequently it is brought on by sustained causes such as infection, medications they’re taking or a metabolic disorder such as diabetes. Finding and either controlling or removing the cause can help your dog start on the road to recovery. Early detection and treatment improves your dog's chances for a quick and complete recovery.