What Is Pancreatitis In Dogs?
The pancreas, an elongated gland located between the stomach and duodenum intestine, the front of the abdomen, have two very important functions:
It produces insulin, which regulates blood sugar. If the production of insulin is disturbed, you can either get high blood sugar (diabetes) or low blood sugar.
It produces digestive enzymes that are extracted into the intestine and breaks down sugar, proteins and fats, so that the body can absorb this.
You can share the inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in two levels: Acute and chronic.
In both level, it is rare that the inflammation is due to bacteria or a virus.
In acute cases, there is an activation of the digestive enzymes formed inside the gland, so that they begin to break down (“eat”) the pancreas. This leads to an inflammatory response that may progress to peritonitis, and in many cases, the dog will go into shock and die. It is obviously a very serious and life-threatening condition that you as a dog owner must respond to.
If the dog survives this level, the pancreas will have changed permanently, which causes it to not produce enough enzymatic. This is called a chronic pancreatitis.
What are the symptoms of Pancreatitis?
In acute cases we see the following symptoms:
The dog vomits and experience diarrhea.
There are also signs of pain from the abdominal cavity; Many dog stand in the “prayer position” with his front paws stretched forward and the upper body close to the ground, while the hind legs are normal.
They are lethargic and have lost appetite.
The dog will probably have a fever, and in more severe cases, it will go into shock.
How Does Your Veterinarian Diagnose Pancreatitis?
By feeling the (palpation) abdominal cavity, there will be pain and possibly swelling in the front part thereof. X-ray, ultrasound and a laboratory study to measure different enzymes activity in the blood will usually give a certain diagnosis.
How Is Pancreatitis In Dogs Treated?
Acute pancreatitis is a very serious illness requiring hospitalization and intensive therapy. The main thing is liquid processing and transmission of the correct feed in measured, controlled amounts. Additionally, use of pain medication is not unheard of while treating pancreatitis in dogs. There are a number of other types of medications that can be used, depending on the severity of the condition. Although rare, it can also be a possibility to use antibiotics on bacterial and insulin in diabetes.
Chronic pancreatitis requires lifelong treatment. Treatment consists in a carefully balanced diet, as agreed upon in consultation with your veterinarian. In addition, the dog must be fed digestive enzymes in pill or powder form. There is a wide range of these products with names such as pancreatin and pancreatic.
What Is The Future For Your Dog When Diagnosed With Pancreatitis?
If the dog survives a medical emergency, it is likely to recover completely. To avoid a resurgence of the disease, you must talk to your veterinarian about your dog’ future diet. Some dogs will, despite proper feeding, still get recurrent cases, and either die or be euthanized because of complications, such as. peritonitis.
In some cases, the acute cases have caused so much damage to the pancreas gland, that the dog develops a chronic pancreatitis. This leads to reduced production of enzymes, and thus poorer digestion. Future looks good for these dogs, provided it is treated by your local veterinarian.
What Causes Pancreatitis In Dogs?
The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the dog’ diet. A fat-rich diet is the biggest single factor. If the dog on top of that are obese, the risk is significantly increased. You might want to be “nice” to your dog and give it pork chops with gravy and potatoes. This is misguided kindness, and shortly after, one can have a critically ill dog.
In addition there are a number of rarer factors that may develop acute pancreatitis: Feeding after a prolonged fasting, trauma (car accident / fall / impact) on the abdominal cavity, certain medications, viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Chronic pancreatitis can occur due to illness after an acute attack. In addition, there may be a slow degradation of the pancreatic tissue due to the body’s immune system. The body actually degrades the pancreas gradually. This is called an autoimmune condition.
Poor nutrition and improper feeding may also develop chronic pancreatitis.
What Is The Risk Of My Dog Getting Pancreatitis?
If your dog is overweight, and you feed it wisely by guidance from your local veterinarian, there is a very small risk of developing pancreatitis. The major risk factors are obesity and a fat diet – typically if the dog is fed human food. Therefore pancreatitis is often diagnosed right after Christmas – because of people not knowing about pancreatitis.
Which Breeds Are Particularly Prone To Pancreatitis?
There are no breeds that are more prone to acute pancreatitis than others, but it seems that many small dogs tend to be more “spoiled” and receive a fatter diet, and are too often overweight, it is very often these dogs, the clinic sees with the symptoms . Older female dogs are more predisposed than average.
German Shepherds can develop a chronic pancreatitis, which requires lifelong treatment.
What Can I Do To Reduce The Risk Of Pancreatitis?
– It is important that you plan your dog’ diet with your veterinarian. At the vet today you can get a diet that is composed so that it always contain exactly the nutrients your dog needs.
– Do not feed your dog high-fat food. There may be rare situation- in the dog’s life when it is necessary to do so, for example. by extreme physical strain. Here we are talking primarily about dogs used for sledding competitions or work in extremely cold or hot situations that require extreme energy inputs. Such additional energy input would be unlikely to occur in connection with a normal family dog.
– You must keep your dog slim and in good shape. If your dog is overweight, you should contact your veterinarian to schedule a weight loss program. Your dog will be examined and will be assessed for how long a period, and how quickly, your dog should lose weight. Remember that a sudden weight loss, or large weight loss over a very short period, also can cause pancreatitis.
Other Knowledge About Pancreatitis In Dogs:
If you are travelling to Trinidad on holiday with your German Shepherd, one should be aware that it has been known that a scorpion bite can cause acute pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis in dogs can, if not caught in time, be fatal.
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