All about Pancreatitis in dogs

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Pancreatitis is known as inflammation of the pancreas, an organ with important functions in the body that will be seriously altered with this disease.

Although it is a treatable pathology, sometimes it becomes fatal. Next we will expose the most common symptoms that the dog with pancreatitis will present. If we perceive any, we should immediately go to the veterinary center.

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Index of contents

  • 1 What is the pancreas?
  • 2 What is pancreatitis?
  • 3 Which dogs have pancreatitis?
  • 4 Symptoms of mild pancreatitis
  • 5 Symptoms of acute pancreatitis
  • 6 How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
  • 7 Treatment of acute pancreatitis
  • 8 Consequences of pancreatitis
  • 9 Can pancreatitis be prevented?

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ that is located next to the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine. With the liver and the gallbladder it collaborates in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. To do this, it secretes a series of enzymes, made by the acinar cells, which is called the pancreatic duct.

This joins the bile duct, which comes from the liver, and both end in the mentioned duodenum. Thus break down food into amino acids, which are the particles that make up proteins, fatty acids and carbohydrates.

But, in addition to a digestive function, the pancreas is in charge of producing insulin, an essential hormone for sugar metabolism. Insulin is made, in particular, by the cells of the islets of Langerhans.

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What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. This can be mild or severe and acute, when it appears suddenly, without being clear what the cause has been. There are predisposing factors. All the functions of the organ will be affected and a full recovery is not always possible.

Which dogs have pancreatitis?

As in most diseases, any dog ​​is susceptible to pancreatitis, but it has been found that it is a more common pathology in sterile bitches with overweight.

In addition, males fed high fat diets will also have a greater propensity to suffer from it. Finally, there are situations associated with elevated blood lipid levels that increase the risk of pancreatitis. They are as follows:

  • Dogs that are being treated with glucocorticoids.
  • Dogs with Cushing’s syndrome or hyperadrenocorticism.
  • Dogs with diabetes mellitus.
  • Dogs with hypothyroidism.
  • Miniature Schnauzer with idiopathic hyperlipidemia.

Symptoms of mild pancreatitis

This presentation of the disease is characterized by the appearance of progressive or intermittent symptoms that can go unnoticed or may even be confused with other pathologies. The most common signs are as follows:

  • Anorexia, the dog stops eating.
  • Depression.
  • Intermittent vomiting
  • Discontinuous diarrhea.
  • Weight loss.

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis

Acute onset pancreatitis is a very serious disease that can end the dog’s life. Therefore, any sign compatible with this pathology is reason to immediately go to the vet. Treatment should be started as soon as possible. The most frequent symptoms are the following:

  • Vomiting that comes on suddenly.
  • Very severe abdominal pain because pancreatic enzymes are spilled into and around the pancreas.
  • The belly is presented precisely because of the pain.
  • For the same reason, it is common for you to keep your chest close to the ground and lift the rest of your body.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dehydration as a consequence of severe vomiting and diarrhea.
  • General weakness.
  • Shock in the most serious cases.
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How is pancreatitis diagnosed?

The clinical picture and examination of the dog will guide the veterinaryn to the diagnosis of pancreatitis. This can be confirmed thanks to a blood test that will show an excess of pancreatic enzymes. In addition, an abdominal ultrasound can detect inflammation of the pancreas, which will be enlarged.

Treatment of acute pancreatitis

Given the severity of this disease, treatment will require hospitalization of the dog in the first place, since the first step is to correct dehydration and remove the animal from shock, if applicable. Further, it is essential to prevent the pancreas from working, which is achieved by not feeding the dog for a few days.

Obviously, you will be admitted and the vet will keep you administering fluids intravenously. Regarding medication, antibiotics are used to prevent the appearance of secondary bacterial infections. Analgesics are also used for pain control.

In some cases the evolution is not favorable. The dog does not respond to treatment and the solution will then be in surgery to drain the pancreas. A possible complication is peritonitis or inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the interior of the abdominal cavity, due to the leaked pancreatic enzymes. It is life threatening.

Consequences of pancreatitis

During pancreatitis, damage to the pancreas will occur. Even if the crisis is controlled and the dog recovers, those injuries may still be permanent. Thus, if Langerhans islet cells have been destroyed, the dog is likely to have diabetes.

This disease causes high levels of glucose in the blood. Requires lifelong veterinary treatment with insulin injections and a diet control. On the contrary, if the acinar cells have been damaged, the result will be what is known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

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This pathology prevents the correct absorption of nutrients since there are no pancreatic enzymes. Treatment involves adding these enzymes to the food for life and it may be necessary to use a specific low-fat food and vitamin supplements, since these are not going to be well absorbed, or resort to medication.

Can pancreatitis be prevented?

Even when a dog recovers from pancreatitis, it is a candidate for this inflammation to recur both mildly and severely. To avoid this, it is recommended to adopt measures that eliminate predisposing factors such as the following:

  • Treating overweight or dog obesity, always following the vet’s instructions.
  • Feed him two or three servings a day to avoid overloads that increase the work of the pancreas.
  • Do not offer leftovers from our food, much less foods with excess fat. If we want to give you an extra as a prize, it cannot exceed 5 or, at most, 10% of daily calorie needs.
  • If in some analytical control the vet detects a large amount of lipids in the blood, a low-fat diet must be administered.