Pancreatitis in dogs is similar to pancreatitis in other mammals, including humans. The pancreas is an organ that is in the back of the stomach and it is the first segment of the small intestine. It produces the hormone, insulin, which is used to help the body regulate sugar or glucose levels. The pancreas also produces enzymes which help the body digest other nutrients.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis in dogs can be caused by eating high fat people food or by your dog getting into the garbage and eating scraps. It can appear more often after a first incidence or surgery involving the abdomen. Certain breeds of dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers or Schnauzers, seem to develop pancreatitis more easily than other breeds. Pancreatitis in dogs is also more apt to happen to dogs who are in their middle years. High amounts of lipids or calcium in their blood, obesity, or sudden trauma can all be conditions which produce pancreatitis. It can even be a result of certain medications used to treat your dog for other diseases.
You can tell if your dog has pancreatitis by the many symptoms he will develop. The abdomen can get very painful and distracted. Your dog may have a combination of the following symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, no appetite, not drinking, and depression. As the pancreas gets more swollen and painful, your dog may appear to be hunched up as he tries to walk.
If your dog has any of these symptoms or a combination of them, get him to a veterinarian immediately. If the disease worsens, your dog can get sepsis, which as in people, is a life-threatening infection of the entire body. Dogs also can experience hemorrhages from DIC, disseminated intravascular coagulation, or they can develop an irregular heart beat.
Failure to get treatment can ever result in damage not only to the pancreas but to the surrounding organs as well. If gotten to the vet in time, however, your dog can be restored to good health by the appropriate treatments. The first thing your vet will do is confirm diagnosis with an examination and blood tests. An ultrasound or x-rays may also be needed.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, your vet will start several treatments. IV fluids with water and electrolytes may be given if dehydration is occurring. The pancreas will need to rest so no food is given to the dog for at least 24 hours, and then he can start eating a little bit of low-fat food. As your dog stabilizes, food will be increased. Initially he may be given a pain reliever and then some antibiotics if infection is present or the vet feels it may develop.
Many times, even very severe pancreatitis in dogs can be successfully treated. Some may need to remain on a low-fat diet for life and others might need to be given replacement enzymes. Sometimes surgery is needed. Doing your part in caring for your dog is essential because the earlier the symptoms are recognized, the better the chance of recovery.
Source by Peter J Lee