Prevention and Treatment for Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis in dogs is a condition that develops as the result of inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is the sole the producer of insulin, which assists in metabolic function by regulating blood sugar. The pancreas also produces enzymes that help to breakdown foods during the digestive process. When a dog is afflicted by pancreatitis, many of these functions become altered and insufficient. The condition is completely treatable. However, because of the interference that pancreatitis has on a dog’s system, it is important to learn the steps that can be taken to prevent it.

Effects of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is dangerous to dogs because it produces a body-wide effect. Initially, there is a severe amount of abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, and a lack of appetite. As the condition progresses, though, more serious side effects begin to develop, such as:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration
  • fever

At that point, even though the symptoms appear to be very severe, treatment is still highly successful. However, pancreatitis can become life-threatening if sepsis or heart irregularities develop. So, it is imperative to seek medical attention at the onset of any of these symptoms.

Underlying Causes and Prevention

In order to understand how to best prevent pancreatitis in a dog, the underlying causes and contributing factors must first be understood. There are many conditions and situations that can put a dog at an elevated risk for developing pancreatitis. While some of them may be avoidable, others are not. Any of the following factors could be indicative of an elevated risk:

  • Obesity
  • Underlying health conditions (hyperlipidemia and hypercalcemia)
  • Breed predilection (Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terriers)
  • High fat diet

The best way to prevent pancreatitis in a dog is keep him on a quality, balanced diet that is not overly fatty and does not contain a large amount of table scraps. Likewise, monitoring and treating all other health-related conditions can help reduce the risk of pancreatitis. Breed predilection is not always something that can be avoided, but the increased risk is something that the owners of Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers should be aware of.

Treatment for Pancreatitis

Treatment is very viable for dogs with pancreatitis, assuming that the condition has not gotten too far advanced and other ailments have not developed. When conditions like hyperlipidemia or hypercalcemia are ultimately to blame, the main goal of treatment will be to treat those underlying conditions and then to observe the pancreas carefully. If an underlying health condition has caused the onset of pancreatitis, then treatment of the original condition should help to reduce the inflammation of the pancreas.

Because of how pancreatitis affects a dog, another one of the main purposes of treatment is to help alleviate the symptoms and to return the pancreas to its normal state. This can be done with the administration of fluids; the implementation of a bland, reduced fat diet; pain relievers; and antibiotics. Antibiotics are routinely given as part of pancreatitis treatment to help prevent the onset of sepsis, which is a secondary infection that spreads to the bloodstream.