August 29, 2014

Canine Pancreatitus: A Serious Disease in Dogs

The pancreas in both dogs and humans plays an important role in the digestive process. Pancreatic swelling or inflammation can cause serious consequences. For this reason, pet owners should become very familiar with the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs. They must be prepared to identify any problems with their pet and get the animal to a vet quickly at the onset of these symptoms. 

Pancreatitus Is a Common Canine Ailment 

Pancreatitis appears mainly in adult animals. Females have a higher rate of occurrence than males. Studies show through histologic (microscopic tissue) studies of canine populations that fully 64.4% of all dogs have manifested. This makes problems with the pancreas one of the most common canine diseases. In addition, because the condition can be terminal, this disease is very serious.


Some factors include the following:

  • Hyperlipidemia (excessive amounts of fat in the blood) 
  • Hypercalcemia (excessive amounts of calcium in the blood) 
  • General metabolic disorders 
  • Particular drugs and toxins, including antibiotics and certain diuretics 
  • Concurrent diseases, including hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and Diabetes Mellitus. Miniature Schnauzers are vulnerable to condition known as idiopathic hyperlipemia 
  • Contaminated water or food 
  • Viral or bacterial infections 
  • An unhealthy diet, including foods high in fat and greasy people food from table scraps  

Yorkies and Schnauzers appear to experience the highest incidence of pancreatitus.


Because the root causes of pancreatitus are not well-known, pet owners must focus on detection rather than prevention. Owners can become well-versed for the warning signs of this serious disease in order to react quickly at the onset. These symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Fever 
Pancreatic disorders can be mild or acute. Pancreatitus in the acute stages can result in shock within just a few hours. This severe form of the disease is symptomized by the abrupt onset of severe pain in the abdomen and vomiting. This can lead to severe dehydration, which can lead to hypovolemic shock in the form of weak peripheral pulses and tachycardia.

Unfortunately, these symptoms also indicate a variety of other serious diseases. This can make it difficult to diagnose. Once an owner brings his animal to the clinic, the vet can examine the animal and palpitate the abdominal region for any abnormalities in the pancreas region. He or she can also take a blood test, and look for elevated lipase or amylase levels. A new test examines lipase immuninol reactivity for confirmation. A vet can also use radiography or ultrasonography to examine the pancreatic region, and look for swelling or inflammation.


Veterinarians treat this disease by halting the workload on the pancreas. This means stopping the digestive process. Animals are given no food by mouth for several days in order to stop the need for the pancreas to manufacture digestive enzymes. Instead, they are fed intravenously. In acute cases, this process is often performed in a hospital.

Long-term Care 

After treatment, dog owners must be vigilant in order to prevent a recurrence. They can do this by putting their pets on low-fat diets, limiting the meal portions, and eliminating table scraps. Dogs can be put on a fat-restricted diet, given 3-4 meals a day, and set on a proper regime of exercise. This will help owners keep their pets healthy and happy for a long time to come.

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