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.