My areas of interest include caring for diabetic dogs, writing, English linguistics, and literature.
Symptoms at Onset and Subsequent Diet
A diagnosis of canine pancreatitis is frightening for any dog owner, especially when a veterinarian explains that it may be a life-threatening condition requiring immediate treatment and perhaps even the hospitalization of your dog for several days. But what is this illness? What are the symptoms, treatment, and subsequent dietary restrictions for your pet?
What Is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is a malfunction of the pancreas, an organ which is part of the digestive system. When the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are activated inside the pancreas (instead of inside the small intestine), they begin to digest the tissue of the pancreas itself. This painful autodigestion causes inflammation of the organ. If not treated, it can, in severe cases, lead to your dog's death.
Your dog may exhibit one or a combination of symptoms at the onset of pancreatitis. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- persistent vomiting (not necessarily connected to a meal): There may be no food at all in the vomit; it can be clear or colored (perhaps yellow). Your dog may throw up time after time in a period of several hours.
- abdominal sensitivity: Your dog may whimper or cry when held or picked up, especially if you hold him around the upper abdomen.
- standing with the back arched: The dog may look as if she is trying to imitate a Halloween cat, and she may hold this pose for several minutes.
- panting (a sign of physical stress)
A dog with pancreatitis can die without treatment, so if you believe your dog is exhibiting signs of this illness, you should seek veterinary help immediately. Your vet will perform blood tests (to determine whether levels of pancreatic enzymes are elevated) and may also wish to x-ray your dog's abdomen or perform an ultrasound.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your dog will most likely need hospitalization, perhaps for several days. The vet may treat your pet with pain relievers, antiemetics (to relieve vomiting), and antibiotics. If your dog has a chronic condition (like diabetes) which is aggravated by the pancreatitis, the vet will work to stabilize that condition as well. Because the pancreas needs to rest in order to recover, the vet may decide not to gjve food or water to your dog for a period of time (24 hours or more). To prevent dehydration, however, your vet may give subcutaneous fluids.
When your dog returns home, you will need to ease him back onto regular food. For several days, you will likely be told to administer small amounts of bland, low-fat prescription dog food, increasing the amount over 3 to 7 days. Do not deviate from your vet's recommendations concerning your pet's diet! The goal is to allow the pancreas to heal and slowly return to normal digestive function, not to overload it and risk a recurrence.
My dog's vet once said, "Fat is the enemy for a dog who has had pancreatitis," and all dogs who have had pancreatitis should be fed a high-quality, low-fat food. Unfortunately, once a dog has had pancreatitis, it may be at greater risk of a subsequent recurrence; a low-fat diet is a preventive measure.
A further benefit of this type of diet is weight loss. As in humans, obesity makes our pets more susceptible to serious illness. Because pancreatitis is more common in older, overweight dogs, seeing that your chubby pet reaches a healthy weight is absolutely necessary to avoid another incidence. Moreover, high levels of cholesterol in the blood are also associated with pancreatitis, and a low-fat diet can help lower this risk factor.
Many people think that chubby pets are "cute" pets. They are afraid to deprive their dog of tasty high-fat foods; they hate to say "no" to the many daily treats their dogs are accustomed to. Though it may be difficult, by feeding Petunia regular food, treats and table scraps, you may be condemning her to another painful bout with pancreatitis. Would you willingly hurt your pet? Or would you rather see her live a healthy, active life free of pain and sickness?
Think of this each time you are tempted to hand out a high-fat dog biscuit or a piece of fried chicken from your dinner plate. Then pat yourself on the back for showing her what a good parent you are! Think of the low-fat diet as a form of tough love, one of those limits we must set to keep our 'kids' safe and sound.
Keeping Rex away from treats that are bad for him requires less work than choice. Pet food chains such as Petco carry tasty low-fat treats with which to reward your dog after pancreatitis. Look for treats with 7% maximum crude fat content or less. You can find veggie biscuits and even biscuits containing fruit which are delicious to her and fit this nutritional bill. Avoid rawhides or treats like pig ears. (Skin is full of fat —think of the skin on chicken!) You can try to train your dog to enjoy little bits of raw carrots, or small pieces of raw apple. Another good choice for something crunchy is bites of plain rice cakes. (Be careful of the flavored varieties, which can contain lots of chemicals. Look for organics.)
Life After Pancreatitis
Keeping your newly healthy pet on track requires a little more effort on your part, but that effort will pay off. Your dog can learn to love low-fat food and low-fat treats, and will even begin to look forward to them even as she used to beg for the old high-fat variety. Seeing her shiny eyes free of pain will be ample reward for the trouble you take to keep her diet nutritionally sound and her health off the path toward obesity-related illnesses like pancreatitis.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Scottie on November 24, 2019:
A PS to my original comment. My schnauzer stopped eating so Dr. Shaw begin an appetite stimulant and then I would boil a plain chicken breast shred up the meat make sure it is skinless the skin contains too much fat then took to the hospital late in the second day she begin taking it. It took a number of days to go back to a low fat metabolic dog food
C-C on March 18, 2019:
My 7yr old min pin was admitted into hospital with pancreatitis this morning, this is her 3rd bout of it since last year April. It's absolutely awful, she's also on low fat diet and everything. Hers got set off cos she found a dead rotten bird a cat or raven dropped in the garden and by the time I noticed she was chewing on the putrid thing it was too late and by the evening she was in excruciating pain, all hunched up and barely able to walk so I had to rush her to a 24hr vet which was 1550 bucks and they sent us home and today I had to rush her back to our regular vet and they admitted her immediately. Seeing her so ill is heart breaking, I'm emotionally drained and actually feeling sick from worry and helplessness
anon on December 23, 2018:
did your dog make it yvonne?
Yvonne on December 06, 2018:
My beautiful little doggy is in Hospital with a bout of Chronic Pancreatitis . She has been in hospital for two weeks now . I am just so heartbroken about how poorly she is . She wags her tail like mad and kisses me when she sees me and was so eager for a walk on Sunday when I visited .
Yesterday Pixie had to have a central line out in via anaesthetic as she she had taken other Canullaa out of her leg! Following anaesthetic I was in was in a state and was taken to her and I got into her kennel / bed with her doe cuddles , then went back to help with her tea , hand feeding .
I want her home so much that nothing else seems to matter to me at this time and feel numb . I’m awake most of every night - lie picking skin off my body - why I don’t know .
I’m staying in a hotel to be near her .
If anyone reads this this - I don’t know what I’m expecting from writing it ? Think somewhere to openly say how we are .
I Love my little ‘girl’ soo much ❤️
Lucy nanni on May 04, 2018:
My miniature pinscher just turned 7 and is now gone 8 days from onset of acute pancreatitis. This is a very painful and difficult to treat disease. The enzymes which normally move to their intestines to digest food, stay in the pancreas and actually digest the pancreas ...imagine the pain they are in...they can’t speak however, they stop eating and drinking because they feel horrible and are in excruciating pain. I loved her more than my life As I watched her go through this and the vets talk of feeding tubes And more hospitalization I began to think of her and the quality of life ..being in pain and me not knowing because that’s how dogs are...they want to please us and make us happy even when they feel horrible or are hurting.
I brought her home and with my Vet I did the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. She is out of pain and I am heart broken ...she had the best last day she could, laying in my lap in the sunshine ...I will never get over it ..please don’t put your fur babies through this ...think of them ..if dogs could only speak you would understand ❤️
Laurie Oakes on February 28, 2018:
Hi, I have a 13 year old Shih Tzu. She was diagnosed two years ago with pancreatitis, She keeps have a little episodes but she doesn’t have to go to the hospital. Did your bloodwork up on her and they said it affected her kidneys and her liver. Now she’s starting to P more drink more. Still pooping in the house. Did any of you go through this as well
Katherine Tomatich on February 05, 2018:
I fight this horrible fight with my 11 yr old Chihuahua. If any of you have any elk meat in your freezer boil it as well, it is one of the leanest forms of meat, it is just as good if not better than boining chicken!
Jac on January 29, 2018:
Pepa 9 year old poodle...diag wih pancreatitis. Vomiting 24hours bloated tummy etc has a heart murmer.
Vet told us it would be$ 3,00 and more, for on going treatment for the rest of her life. We put her to sleep as she was too frail for any op... no other options were given. The vet tried to talk us into the operation and plan. Now I wished I'd got a second opinion..
Cheri on January 21, 2018:
I have a friend right now with his 4 year old pup in the vet hospital recovering from this nasty pancreatitis. She is still at a fragile state so prayers would be helpful. When she comes home her diet will change and "Angel" will be eating right! Thank you for the informative information.
Beth Jones on January 15, 2018:
Hi there,my 5 year old terrier has had pancreatitis now for 10 days he has only eaten a bit of chicken in those days and was violently sick .. he has been home once but deteriorated so is back at the vets on a drip again .. they tried to refer him to a specialist but they have said to scan him and do treatment including a feeding tube it’s going to cost k7 which is outrageous and we cannot afford it .. my vet is considering opening him up to check what’s going on inside but I am not sure I want to put him through that .. just don’t know what to do anymore
LoganReichert on August 24, 2017:
Thank you, @J.B. He actually was more himself yesterday than he has been in weeks! We are so grateful and understand he just needs to take it slow. Thanks so much and good luck to your sweet pup as well.
J.B. on August 23, 2017:
It takes a little time for a dog to recover from pancreatitis, but if you have followed your vet's advice and keep him on a low-fat diet, he should be himself again before you know it. Our dog will have to be on a low-fat diet for the rest of her life, but she is back to acting like she did before the latest pancreatitis episode. She has had three, although she never gets fatty food (human or dog food), is on a low-fat diet, and her treats are also low fat. For some reason, she just has a tendency towards pancreatitis. Good luck with your little Yorkie. I think they are adorable little pups.
LoganReichert on August 22, 2017:
Wondering if this post is still active.
Our yorkie has been in and out of the vet on IV fluids for 10 days. He is finally holding food/water down, no more vomitting. On the normal Cerenia, Metochlopramide, etc. Appetite comes and goes though the past two days he ate quite a bit. Mornings are worse, he won't touch the food. Seems like most of the physical symptoms are under control. But wondering how long before he gets his energy back and starts to be himself again? It is terrible seeing our adorable little baby bear so lethargic and sad. Swimming used to be his favorite hobby. Now he barely wants to get up. It's been nightmarish for me and my husband. Wondering about any other recovery times for your small dogs. Thanks!
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LJ on January 31, 2014:
My 1 1/2 year old pomeranian was hospitalized for 5 days a several months ago with pancreatits. She wouldn't eat at the vet until they tried feeding her without the probiotic sprinkled on her chicken. She's home now and doing really well. It took a month or so to get her on a schedule that kept her healthy. Our schedule now is get up in the mornings go outside when we come in she gets about a tsp of no fat greek yogurt followed by her dog food and a small (probably a tsp) piece of chicken. She eats dry dog food on her own throughout the day. Around 830pm she gets chicken breast carrots and warm water mixid with dry food. Took a while to figure out she needed to eat relatively late to prevent her ftom having issues in the middle of the night. She has had a couple episodes of shaking and acting like she was going to be sick. But thank goodness she trusts me and comes to me when she is shaking. I've been able to get small amounts of chicken in her and not take her to the vet again. Thanks for this page and info it kept me sane in the beginning.
Katie Sears on September 16, 2013:
My maltipoo, Riley, is just getting over an attack of pancreatitis. His appetite has returned but his disposition hasn't. He doesn't play or get excited about anything. To me, he just looks sad. How long before he is the funny, playful dog I used to know? I miss him!
Sarah on July 13, 2013:
We have a Jack Russell Terrier who has had pancreatitis for about 10 years, he is now 14. Many, many trips to the vet and emergency vet over and over again, hundreds of dollars each time. No treats what so ever, prescription food in 3 small meals a day and an antacid given daily. He is minimally active, diarrhea almost daily, cannot be picked up and favors one back leg. Stomach seems in pain. Some days he shows good activity but most of the time is sleeping or just whining for food. We have never given him people food. He is also starting to show signs of dementia, not responding to his name and he will not want to go outside or will walk at a snails pace. This has been going on for so long. Has anyone had to deal with when is the time to put their dog out of this misery? We are considering putting him down, but it is so hard. He is our first child.
cfrdog on May 05, 2013:
Hi, my dog Murphy has had pancreatitis for weeks now. He puked daily until we went into the vet. He has had two ultrasounds that shows an inflamed pancreas. We did the chicken/rice. We give him veggies, etc and he kept it down for 1 week. No he is puking daily. I never did the IV treatment. I've spent $1,500 already on this. He just lays with his belly down and doesn't look happy. He still loves walks and playing but he isn't getting better. Vet said maybe do exploratory surgery to physically flush and check his pancreas? anybody do that? he is very picky and won't eat the special food. Very worried... its been 2 weeks and no improvement.
daisy001 on October 03, 2012:
I posted 2 months ago about Daisy my jr terrier who was in the er. She did not make it. She died that night from, as I was told by the vet systemic sepsis from the pancreatitis. I have another 14 y/o jr terrier who ate the same diet, etc. and now I am trying to find a new diet, fearing he could go thru the same disease terror. I am still in shock that this disease killed her. I got a new vet immediately [never take your sick dog to VCA!!] and he told me he has saved dogs with pancr. if treated aggressively [like removing the pancreas] Well. VCA did not and I am so sad knowing she might have been saved it I had not trusted VCA..... the worst experience of my life. My vet bills were $3500, which I am trying to fight, since they sent me to 2 of their veterinary 'practices' to practice on my sweet dog who as I looked at her in her cage with ivs and scared look, and could not help her. It was one of the worst days of my life, plus I found out when I go the bill that they never gave her pain medication!!
Brian on October 02, 2012:
@ Susan - I am sorry to say that we had to put our little boy down yesterday. I pray Tibby can pull through. It was the most awful experience of our life. We had a chance to be with him for an hour or so and he seemed fine(outwardly) but the doctors reassured us that he was very very sick. I had them do an ultrasound and his pancreas was so inflamed it was blocking other vital organs. He was my best friend and my heart aches that I couldn't help him get through this. Thank you for your prayers and we'll be praying for your Tibby.
God Bless all who have lost a loving dog.
Susan on October 01, 2012:
@ Jane- Thanks for the tips. The only issue for Tibby is that with her renal failure, she cannot have any form of protein for a bit so I'm def trying to feed her rice to settle her upset stomach. But I'm glad that your Jack Russell made it through! It does give me hope. Today Tibby showed some interest in her stuffed lion toy which is progress since one of the symptoms of pancreatitis is apathy.
@ Brian - Brian, I can sense your heartbreak. I don't know much about diabetes in dogs plus pancreatitis but my Tibby has renal failure so sometimes the two work against each other. My dog was in really horrible shape, retching and vomiting everything and falling over herself. We also turned to homecare because we couldn't afford to keep her at the vet and they told us that if she's not able to keep anything down, we should prepare to put her down. This was last Tuesday. Ever since, on my days off, I have spent every waking moment carrying Tibby in my arms and whispering in her ear that she will make a huge comeback in health. Each day is a battle but all towards progress. I will pray for Charlie. I really hope he makes it through.
Brian on October 01, 2012:
Our 9 year old Yorkie, Charlie, Is fighting with his second major bout of pancreatitis. He also has diabetes now because of the panc. We tried in home care to no avail. I gave him his third insulin shot and two hours later he was falling over and then started twitching. I ran him to the ER and they kept him overnight. We are now being to that he needs a plasma transfusion and at min 5 more nights in the ER. At $1000/day my wife and I are having to head down to the ER right now and tell them we can't afford 5 days of treatment. Most likely they will put him down today.
Absolutely the most horrible experience of our lives. Because of money our sweet Charlie will die.
Prayers to all parents who are suffering.
I am sorry my little boy for not having the means to help you. I will miss you more than you ever will know. With tears and a broken heart....Daddy
Jane on October 01, 2012:
Sorry to hear your dog is suffering but there is hope. My little Jack Russell was poorly for several weeks but he gradually recovered. We have been very strict with his diet and a year on he is fit a fiddle. The best thing is now he's on a restricted diet, Burns rice and chicken with some fresh boiled chicken or white fish added, he actually looks forward to eating for the first time in his life. He has had no tummy upsets or sickness since, something that was starting to happen quite often before the pancreatitis attack.
I cannot stress enough how strict you will have to be with food in the future though as the slightest bit of fat can trigger an attack. We have found a few treats that are less than 4% fat which we can give him along with the Burns and he is fine.
So just be patient, your little one will recover in time as it sounds like they're over the worse now.
Susan on September 30, 2012:
I'm so glad I found this page. My 4 year old shih tzu was diagnosed with pancreatitis which also triggered acute renal failure last Friday just a few days before my birthday :( . We went to two vets and they both confirmed that these can be reversed if she responded well to the treatments. Let me just say, it has not been easy. For the first two days, she refrained from vomiting and started to drink water on her own which was a great sign... but then things turned for the worst for the next 5 or 6 days where she was vomiting between 2-5 times a day even without any food or water triggers. It became so difficult to give her her medications as well as she could keep nothing down. The past two days have been a little better as she has kept most of her food and pills down. It just breaks my heart to see her suffer. She used to be so energetic with a curiosity of a toddler...now she just mopes around and goes to sleep.
How long did it take for your dogs to fully recover from pancreatitis?
daisy001 on July 08, 2012:
Daisy my 12 y.o jack russell was taken to my vet on Thurs, told she had pancreatitis and kept her 3 1/2 days [ iv fluids, npo, pain and antiemetics] I would visit her daily and by today she got worse, turning yellow. They suggested I take her to the er and now she is in critical condition, low bp and sugar and I think high lactate. They were going to do an ultrasound when they stabilized her. What could have happened? I don't know if she will survive this [please god]
Cann12 on June 18, 2012:
My little yorki-maltese, Missy, had a serious attack of pancreatitis about 2 years ago. We almost lost her. Since then she's had 2 smaller attacks, the last being in March 2012 after she had her teeth cleaned (and was put under). At first, we thought it was the antibiotic that they gave her because after awhile of taking it, she started getting sick (vomiting) and they told us it was a strong medicine and was known to upset the stomach. After a week of back and forth to the vets, they did the test and said she had pancreatitis. After a 3-day treatment at the vet on the IV etc. she started on the road to recovery again. The vet told us that he was doing some research on pancreatitis and then perscribed this medicine for her: pancreatin & lipase 252 g. We were supposed to give her 1/8th of a teaspoon mixed with her food twice a day. We started giving her that and after a few days she got sick again (throwing up and peeing a lot!) We stopped giving her everything, waited until all symptoms passed and then after talking to the vet started giving her 1/16th of a teaspoon once every 3 days for 2 weeks, then once every 2 days for a week and then finally once a day. She seemed to tolerate that and I started adding the second dose. Again once every 3 days, then once every 2 days. She threw up, so I stopped giving her the second dose. Has anyone here heard of this type of medicine for dogs who get pancreatitus? I couldn't find any info on line.
Sharon16 on June 09, 2012:
My four-year old Australian Cattle Dog was dx with pancreatitis Wednesday after vomiting throughout the day. This came on very suddenly and we have wracked our brains trying to figure out what might have triggered it. We do not feed any table scraps and measure Penney's food. She is outside a lot throughout the day with my husband on our acreage but does not roam.
She has been hospitalized since Thursday a.m. We were hoping she could come home today but her pancreatitis blood test was still positive this morning and she will need to stay at the clinic at least until Monday:-(
We hope so much she will fully recover and this will not happen again. We will start her on the I/D food when she gets home.
Shelly on June 06, 2012:
Our Brandy was a high energy JackRussell Terrier till she contacted pancreatitis. I think she may have had it for some time but we just didn't recognize the symptoms. She has always been a 'scavenger' hiding her treats outside for future rediscovery. It was not until I had to be away from home for nearly a month to care for my dying mother that this condition turned serious. She was left at home with my husband and our other JRT. My husband worked long hours which I think exacerbated this issue. JRT are very social and this lack of interaction I'm sure added to onset of this horrific disease. It started with chronic diarrhea stools and then vomiting which was diagnosed by our 1st vet as a 'virus'. Brandy is not a medicine taker so medicating her has been a great challenge. We found a wonderful new vet who quickly dx'd our Brandy with acute pancreatitis. We have now been battling this horrid disease for more tha 4months leaving Brandy with extreme weight loss. She is a mere 12 lbs-- down from 20+ lbs. she no longer rus and jumps and is so weak she can no longer jump up to get on the couch without falling. She developed so much fluid in her abdomen that she looked pregnant--all from her body's failure to absorb protein dur to the diarrhea and vomiting. I have been cooking for our Brandy for the past 4 months wherein she consumes 96% fat-free ground beef/ground chicken breast with kale and rice or wheat spaghetti. She eats better than many humans but we all know that we love our pets and will do anything to make them feel better. Over a thousand dollars later our Brandy may have turned the corner. The fluid dissipated last week with her losing 3 lbs in a mere 3 days. She is eating fairly well now but is in a very fragile condition. We pray that her recovery will occur and she will return to some sort of normalcy in her life..my greatest recommendation to anyone is prevention. Absolutely do not fall into the trap of feeding your dog any table scraps or treats you are consuming. I believe this is a precursor to pancreatitis which is a heart-wrenching disease that you would never want your pet to incur!
Judy on May 26, 2012:
I, like the others, have been searching the Internet for information on canine pancreatitis after leaving my Hallie at the hospital for the holiday weekend. She's a 10 year-old Maltese, and has Cushings syndrome. All was well until yesterday. We took her to the vet to have her teeth cleaned. When we picked her up at the end of the day yesterday, they told us to withhold food and water until this morning. We could only give her ice chips. This seemed cruel and unusual, since a Cushings dog is always thirsty and I didn't remember having to withhold this the last time her teeth were cleaned. We took her home and gave her the ice chips. She was SO thirsty. She ate them and immediately vomited. The vomiting continued all night. I called the vet this morning and he asked "Why didn't you feed her?" Duh, your staff told me not to. Anyway, I rush her in there and she's now diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Unlike everyone else on this board, I see no relation to food. Does anyone know if the withholding of food, the sedative used during the dental cleaning, etc. could have caused this? It just seems so odd to me. One day she's fine and we're being good "parents" and having her teeth cleaned, and the next day she's hospitalized and we're scratching our heads.
Jane on May 08, 2012:
My vet thought my dog had a spinal issue when I first took him in because he couldn't put his head down and fell over when trying to get up so initialled treated him with painkillers and anti-inflammatory pills. It was only when he started being sick a couple of days later( I thought it might be the drugs he was on) that the pancreatitis was suspected so hopefully your little one will improve as the pancreas calms down.
Janine on May 06, 2012:
(Abby continued-sorry, hit send while trying to edit on I phone)
2 days later she had an accident of diahreah in the house which was so unlike her. She hadn't eaten all day and kept laying on her bed legs stretched out completely flat instead of her usual all curled up. Tuesday she seemed fine and ate both meals of dry food. Wednesday am she wasn't herself and wouldn't lift her neck. It even appeared a little swollen so we took her to the vet assuming a neck/ spinal injury which dachshunds are prone too. The vet said she was perfectly fine and sent us home. She was a little quieter than usual until dinner time that evening when she snuck a piece of fried chicken breast from my sons plate. The next morning she cowered at my feet, shaking, not lifting her head, and in obvious discomfort. Again we assumed a spinal injury and took her to the vet ASAP. He did bloodwork and told us she had pancreatitis. I had no idea! He gave us an Iams prescription canned food and told us to give her small frequent meals. Thank the Lord, she loves the food, gobbles it down and hasn't thrown up at all. The vet prescribed Cerenia for 4 days for nausea and 5mg of prpvid a day-both once a day and she had taken them just fine, However, She has only pooped once since Thursday and doesn't want to drink much water-only laps a little bit up out of our hand. She is laying in her bed 99% of the day and when she does stand, her legs seem weak and trembly. She is peeing in the backyard but seems so weak, to the point where she almost appears unsteady, walking a little crooked and twice tipped over from her backend. She pulled herself backup, thank goodness but trying to decipher if this is all normal. We are still fearful of a spinal injury on top of the pancreatitis. The vet hadn't completely ruled that out but didn't want to treat the possibility of that with anti-inflammatory or steroid as that would be worse for her gut issue. I suppose my question to you with all this being said is: "does all of this sound like normal symptoms and recovery time?" I am feeling positive about the fact that she is eating and not getting sick, but worried that she hardly moves, is weak and shaky/unsteady when she does and that she hasn't pooped in days even though she is taking in food. I know how detrimental and fatal a spinal injury is to her breed, and trying so hard to find out if some of these same symptoms are normal to a dog suffering from pancreatitis? Any info or opinion you could share to help my sweet little girl would be much appreciated! I feel so helpless and just pray to see her feeling better. Thank you in advance, Shelley for your time and concern for others little loved ones!
Janine~mommy to our black beauty, Abby ;)
Janine on May 06, 2012:
Shelley, I am so grateful to have found your site filled with so much educational info on pancreatitis. Thank you in advance for taking the time to help others.
Our little Abby was diagnosed with pancreatitis this past Thursday (4 days ago). I had caught her last weekend getting into some beef fat (8 days ago). 2 days later she had an accident of diajrea
Eddie's Mom on April 25, 2012:
I started reading these pages a month ago when my JRT Eddie was hospitalised with acute pancreatitis. They told me it was potentially fatal and gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. I was too shocked and traumatised to leave a comment then, but I'd like to say thanks and let you all know he's home and well.
I read a veterinary article that mentioned a 'cascade of events' that leads up to the onset of acute pancreatitis and that's what happened with Eddie. A combination of rawhides and fatty marrow bones triggered the onset with Eddie, which ocurred frighteningly fast. He initially refused to go for a walk, which was followed by projectile yellow vomiting and finally whimpering in pain before I rushed him to emergency at around 10:30pm at night. I have no doubt whatsoever that if I'd waited until the next day he would have died.
Seeing my mile-a-minute jump-right-in-it JRT so ill that he could barely lift his head was the most terifying night of my life.
5 days & nights in hospital on IV support before he came home, only to start vomiting again necessitating another 4 days & nights in hospital on IV support again. At nights I would search the internet for every post/article on canine pancreatitis and will my little dog to come home.
He did come home and he's been doing well on a very strict low-fat bland diet. Prescription food (dry & canned for a bit of variety) and lean chicken breast poached in water, with rice. He gets Nylabones to chew on these days (no more bones) and LOTS of dental-type chew toys (and squeakies!)
I've had some time off work so I've been able to care for him and monitor him, but I have to go back to work tomorrow and I'm really stressed about leaving him! I have a well-trusted dog-walker coming on both days to walk him and check on him. They also operate a pet taxi, so I know he's in safe hands and can be transported to hospital if necessary.
But I've become super-vigilant with his diet and monitoring him for any signs of recurrence and it's going to be really hard to be away from him for the next two days.
Long post I know! If you're going through this with your dog - my heart breaks for you. I hope reading this helps you get through the tough times. The posts here helped me through those dark lonely nights when I feared my boy wouldn't come home. The vets gave me all the scientific information, but what I needed most was to hear how others had coped.
megan on April 13, 2012:
Our little pup was diagnosed(thought to have) panchreitis she was vomiing, extreeme bloody diareah that looked like tar and refusing to eat or drink after a couple of days we took her to the vet and she was perscibed 5 different medications and bounced back right away she was put on a special diet of a gastro-intestinal low fat canned food, my question was when to start giving her her dry food
Caroline on February 21, 2012:
Rice water saved my dog's life when just a crumb of the Prescription Diet food would set him off. Not only is it sustenance that will get them through a good couple of days, it also soothes the stomach and gives the enzymes something to eat away at if they get active. From there, you can add some rice and then boiled, free range chicken breast with all fat removed and cut up into tiny, tiny shards. When he's in the recovery stage, I warm the rice water to make my dog eat it more slowly and then it's straight back to bed with the blanket over his head. He's learnt the drill. I wash and rinse the bowl impeccably every time as well as my hands. You just boil long grain rice in a lot of water for half an hour. Leave it thin and don't get all the gluten out of it if your dog is recovering from an attack. It's miracle fluid for pancreatic dogs. I only found this out from a website, my vet's advice wasn't at all comprehensive at first and I didn't even twig to the whole fat thing, I was just told bland food. So there were a few disasters in the early days and he had gotten to be so thin and I needed to get food into him somehow. Knowledge of pancreatitis needs to be so much more widespread among pet owners, and not to mention vets. This is a great site - thankyou.
Izzy on February 17, 2012:
Shelley, thank you so much for this site! It's really a great resource.
Our cockapoo Simba was just diagnosed with pancreatitis two days ago. The diagnosis was quite shocking -- he's not even two years old yet, and you'd have never known he was sick just by looking at him. He was his normal, playful, hungry, mischievous self the whole time. The only symptom we noticed was vomiting, which didn't immediately raise any red flags, as he's always had a sensitive tummy and tends to throw up hairballs and grass from time to time. But when he vomited five times in 2.5 weeks, I decided enough was enough and took him straight to the animal ER. They did the usual tests, plus an Xray and some bloodwork, and that's when they spotted the culprit.
According to the doctors, his case appears to be mild (thank goodness), so we were allowed to treat him at home. He fasted that entire first day, and since then we've been gradually feeding him small amounts of Hill's Prescription I/D canned food. He's also on Pepcid, Cerenia and Flagyl. He seems to be doing well, knock on wood, though he's still a little confused as to why he's no longer getting any treats after going to the bathroom.
We'll continue giving him the canned food and meds until they run out. If he goes through the initial treatment with no vomiting, we'll talk with the vet about putting him on a low-fat diet for the long term. The things I've read on here about the different food and treats that others have tried are really helpful.
What my husband and I still can't figure out is how the heck this happened. We have always been VERY strict about not feeding Simba any table scraps. The only human food he's allowed are apples, bananas and Cheerios, and only in moderation. Our garbage can has a lid and we never leave the bag lying around, so he couldn't have gotten into it. The only thing we had been feeding him that is different from what he normally eats is a bag of Milo's Kitchen brand chicken meatballs. It has a fat content of 12%, which we didn't think was a big deal, but just to be on the safe side, we threw them out. If that's not what caused this, we're truly at a loss.
Paulart from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001 on February 01, 2012:
I appreciate your hub.Very important info is given regarding pet health.
Jane on January 28, 2012:
Thanks Surphette, he seems to be settled at the moment. I've got a new food, Burns Chicken and Rice (don't know whether it's available in the States) which I mix with my cooked rice and chicken and he's always waiting to be fed, before he was ill he was really picky with his food. We're thinking that, as he's now 11, that his bout of illness was a bit of a blessing in disguise as he's eating better than ever and it's all good for him rather that the wet food, scraps and treats he used to get.
I've given him vitamin tablets though, just to be on the safe side.
surphette13 on January 17, 2012:
Jane, hopefully this is not too late. My min pin has had three bouts of pancreatitis. I have tried several diets, but currently I have "Harley" on royal Canin Duck and Potato formula, which was suggested by my vet as is it a good diet for dog with pancreatitis. This product is considered a veterinary diet and must be purchased from a veterinarian. I use a mix of dry and canned.
Harley is a picky eater and he now waits by the refrigerator for me to fix his meals. I tried another Rx food and Harley chose to go hungry rather than eat.
I have also begun giving him three small meals instead of the previous two. My vet told me that it is easier on the pancreas. I treat with cooked green beans and carrots.
I haven't been brave enough to try any types of treat so far. I am still doing research on those. I did read some articles on using deer antlers as chews, there is no fat and they last a long time.
I do know that feeding a home diet without the necessary vitamins and additional minerals over a long period of time will cause deficiencies which can lead to other issues.
Good luck on finding something that works.
Jane on December 08, 2011:
My dog is on a diet of brown rice with either boiled chicken or white fish. For treats he has low fat dog biscuits or a low fat dog treat bar. I'm concerned he's not getting enough nutrients from this. He won't eat vegetables or potato. Should I try him on a prescription type diet? His stools are getting a bit better but he still has the occasional loose one and I'm wondering whether the rice diet might be causing this.
Bob on November 28, 2011:
Thank you so much Shelly, we are coming to grips with it but it is so hard.
Shelley Cetin (author) on November 28, 2011:
I am so terribly sorry about your baby Aussie. I wish I could tell you something to make the pain of losing her go away, but as you know, the only thing to do is wait and depend on your wonderful memories of your best friend. I can't imagine what could have happened, especially if she seemed to be feeling so much better. But at least she was with you and your wife, with her parents at home, so she felt warm and loved and secure.
It breaks my heart when I hear of a dog lost to pancreatitis. It can be a devastating disease and it's often difficult to diagnose and treat. And even when you adjust a dog's diet, it can come back. My little Ozzie got it a second time even though he was on a low-fat, high-fiber food, ate no people food at all, and got only low-fat treats in very limited amounts. I just hope that by leaving this article out there more and more people will learn about pancreatitis so they have a better chance to save their pets.
I'm sure you did everything you knew to do to save your poor Aussie, Bob, so please don't feel guilty. The hard part about dealing with pancreatitis is that it's so unpredictable, and it can strike very quickly and be devastating. My heart goes out to you and your wife, and I can certainly understand the crying spells. Losing a pet is like losing a child, except that our dogs are like children who can't understand much - which is why their loyalty and trust endear them to us. They are such special creatures, and like you said about your Aussie, they can be full of nothing but love. Just keep remembering that your baby knew she was loved and she existed to love you. That love transcends everything, and because of that, she'll be with you always.
I'm so very sorry for your having lost your pup so suddenly and unexpectedly. You're in my thoughts.
Bob on November 24, 2011:
I wish that I had found this column about two weeks ago--,yesterday Nov.23 I lost the sweetest dog in the world, she was a Blue-Merle Australian Shepard with nothing but love in her whole body. She had Pancreatitus, we weren't aware of this disease until she got sick--we took her to the vets and the diagnosis was made. They kept her for two days and we brought her home--she seemed to be doing so much better, shiny eyes, wanting to be petted and play. At about noon she layed down and died about 15 mins. later. I and my wife are devasted she was loved so much and tried to please and understand more than any other dog we've ever known. I am 64 yrs old and I am still having crying spells svery time I think of her and something she would like to do. I hope that others will read this comment and act so they will not lose the light of their lives.take care and God Bless.
isaa0113 on November 15, 2011:
Hi, we were told our 3 year old boxer had a case last week. She didn't eat all day and I came home from work and it looked like a crime scene with pee, poop, blood, vomit and black tar looking stools. It was terrible! The vet said he 'thinks'it was pancreatitist. He gave her some fluids and bland food to eat for a few days. She is finally acting like her self again. Just curious I haven't read too many cases where a dog couldn't control her bowel movements. Is this a side effect? I'm just trying to make sure that pancratitist is what it was, so we can adjust to a low fat no raw hides diet. Thanks!
Shelley Cetin (author) on November 15, 2011:
So sorry it took me so long to answer your question. I didn't get a notification. I hope your dog's stools have normalized by now. The change in color and the looseness could certainly be because of his recent bout of pancreatitis (since his pancreas is inflamed) but the blood worries me. I'm not a vet but I do know that any time there's blood in the stool, it's not normal. Watch him again and if you see anything, please notify the vet. Since it's so hard for your dog to go there, you might be able to go to their office and pick up a little specimen bottle so you could give them a sample to analyze. I know it sounds gross, but it's a little plastic bottle with a tiny "spoon" you can use to collect a specimen. The spoon is attached to the lid of the bottle, so you just pop the spoon back into the bottle and screw it on. THen take it to the vet's office where they can read it in their lab.
Good luck with your dog!
Jane on November 09, 2011:
My Jack has been diagnosed with possible pancreatitis but as they would need to sedate him to get bloods, he's a nightmare at the vets, it is only suspected. It's a week since they gave him an anti sickness jab and he's doing well. I've had him on boiled chicken or poached white fish and brown rice which he is eating. Yesterday I gave him some bell pepper and a 5% fat biscuit. My question his about his poop, it's yellow and a bit on the loose side with specks of blood. He's going at the normal time
and is seeming a bit more like his usual self. Should I be worried or is this because I have changed his diet?
Hope you can help as I don't want to have to take him to the vets unless I have to as he finds it so traumatic.
Shelley Cetin (author) on October 16, 2011:
Five days is a really long time for a dog recovering from pancreatitis not to eat. She may have a serious case (i.e. her pancreas was severely inflamed) so is taking a longer time to recover. The good thing is that you don't say she's vomiting, so I assume she's keeping the water, pedialyte, and baby food chicken down on her own. Her tummy may be really sensitive right now - or she might just now feel like eating much yet. I'd call the vet and ask if she can eat a prescription diet, bland food that won't irritate her stomach or pancreas too much. Science Diet makes a really good one called I/D. When my Ozzie got pancreatitis he started with just a couple of tablespoons of I/D 3 times a day and I moved the amount up from there. I'd also ask the vet if your pup can take an antacid to help her stomach feel better. Dogs can take OTC Pepcid, but your vet would have to tell you what type and exactly how much to give your Pom. (Since Poms are so tiny, you might need to quarter the tiniest size available.) Don't give her anything without the vet's consent.
If the vet did a test to confirm pancreatitis (thus ruling out anything else), the treatment he prescribed is typical. I'd ask about the antacid and the I/D, and I'd also ask when you should start worrying. I.e. ask when your baby's normal appetite should return. If it hasn't by that time, you may want to take your pup to an emergency clinic, where you may be able to find a vet with experience in more difficult cases of pancreatitis. Good luck to you and your baby!
Berlyn Kamminga on October 13, 2011:
I wanted to add, she has never vomited, had a fever, or diarrhea. She does have some some mucus coming out but the vet said that is completely normal given the condition. I am also keeping her hydrated with pedialyte about 3-9cc every hour and she is drinking on her own.
Berlyn Kamminga on October 13, 2011:
My pomchi "Lily was diagnosed with pancreatitis on Tuesday. She was given antibiotics and pain meds and some fluids subcutaneously. She really doesn't seem to be doing any better. She hasn't eaten anything in 5 days. I force baby food chicken down her but really don't want to stress her any more. Do you have any advice. I am very worried!
Shelley Cetin (author) on September 27, 2011:
For some reason, I only have one dialog box for you both, so Rich and Charis, I'll answer both your questions in this one box and hope you both check back.
Rich, losing weight isn't really one of the signs of pancreatitis. Has your vet checked your dog for diabetes? If she's overeating and still losing weight, as well as drinking and drinking (?), that could be the problem. Ask the vet to check her blood sugar to be sure that's not the problem. Does the dog seem to be in pain? Is she standing with her back hunched? Is she vomiting? If not, the vet could be wrong...or maybe he/she did some blood tests the confirmed pancreatitis anyway. Good luck!
Charis,the only way to get a pill down a dog without food or water is to actually put the pill down the dog's throat. I'm not sure how good a sport your dog is about taking meds - and you CANNOT do this if there's any chance your dog could bite - but you can actually hold your dog's mouth open, put the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, then close the dog's mouth, which should make him swallow. A further trick if the dog doesn't swallow once you're holding his mouth closed is to blow a small amount of air into his nostrils. (Don't cover them; just sort of blow a puff of air into his nose.) That somehow triggers a swallowing response in some dogs, and I do this will my little terrier.
Since your dog is big, this may not work, and if not,or if your dog tries to bite, you may have no choice but to take him back to the hospital, where they can tranquilize him and get the meds down his throat.
Whatever you do, DO NOT give your dog water before the vet says it's safe to do so, and don't give him anything but very small quantities. Giving him too much can cause vomiting and maybe a relapse. Same thing for food. Be sure to ask the vet what type of low-fat, high fiber food your Rottie can eat once he's better so he doesn't come down with pancreatitis again. Best of luck!
Charis on September 26, 2011:
My Rottie has been diagnosed with it today. I was given the option of hospital care with an overnight stay or treating him at home. I now wish I'd chosen the hospital stay. :-( How do I get him to take all these pills without food or water? In all, I've got to get him to take 12 pills a day. Also, I was told I could introduce him to water after 12 hours in very small amounts. What's a very small amount for a Rottie and how often? Sigh ...
Rich on September 21, 2011:
My dog is very skinny and is getting worse although she eats like a horse 3 times a day and drinks plenty of water. She really doesn't have any of the other symptoms of pancreatitis that everybody else is talking about but the vet diagnosed her with pacreatitis anyway
DOOBS on August 04, 2011:
HI, MY OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG HAD A SCAB ON THE SIDE OF HIS FACE...TINY. DIDN'T HEAL FOLLOWING CORTICOSTEROID JAB (CAN CAUSE ULCERS) AND ANTIBIOTICS SO IT WAS REMOVED. HE WAS GIVEN METACAM AT TIME OF OP. BEAR WITH ME, ALL WILL BE CLEAR! THE SCAR FOR THIS TINY SCAB WAS MASSIVE, HENCE A LARGE EGG LIKE SWELLING 4 DAYS LATER. VET ADVISED METACAM (AGAIN) TO REDUCE SWELLING. 6 DAYS LATER HE BECAME VERY, VERY ILL.(MY LOVELY BOY, NOT THE VET!) HE SPENT 3 DAYS IN THEIR HOSPITAL AFTER DIAGNOSIS OF GASTRIC ULLCER. ON SAT 23RD JULY I WAS TOLD MY DOG WAS WELL ENOUGH TO GO HOME. ON COLLECTION I WAS DEVASTATED TO SEE MY DOG WAS IN A DIRE CONDITION WITH SWOLLEN ABDOMEN.HE BARELY KNEW I WAS THERE.I WAS TOLD TO WAIT WHILST THE VET SAW HIS NEXT ROUTINE CLIENT THEN HE DID AN ULTRA SOUND. HE TOLD ME TO GET MY DOG TO BRISTOL(5HRS AWAY!) AND QUICKLY. THANKFULLY THERE WAS ANOTHER HOSPITAL JUST OVER 1 HR AWAY. ON ARRIVAL HE HAD RAGING TEMP AND SEVERE, ADVANCED PERITINITIS, BADLY INFLAMED INARDS 50/50 CHANCE. WE HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK. NOW DAY 12 AND IT LOOKS AS IF HE HAS COME THRO THE INFECTION BUT BECAUSE HE HASN'T BEEN IMPROVING HE WAS OPENED UP AGAIN TO FIND ACUTE PANCREATITIS AND SOME LIVER DAMAGE. (THE PERFORATED ULCER WAS REMOVED DURING THE 1ST OP). THIS LESION WAS SENT TO LAB, THEY SAY IT WAS 'SEVERAL DAYS OLD',SO MY BOY HAD BEEN SUFFERING IN THAT PLACE WITH HIS INNARDS PICKLING IN PUS. HE REMAINS IN THE SECOND HOSPITAL WITH ALL THE ATTENTION/HELP FOR THIS PANCREATITIS, NOW AWAITING LIVER BIOPSY.CAN ONLY CONTINUE PRAYING. HE'S NOT EATEN OR DRANK FOR THREE WEEKS. COSTS NOW APPROACHIN 9 GRAND.
HE SO DESERVES TO COME HOME. WHAT A FIGHTER. WE HAVE THOUGHT WE MAY HAVE MADE THE WRONG DECISION TO PUT HIM THRO THIS, BUT WHEN U ARE OFFERED 50/50, AND YOUR DOG LOVES HIS LIFE?? HE HAS 3 FURRY FRIENDS WAITING TO CHASE HIM ACROSS THE FIELDS. FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN FOR THE VET WHO SENT HIS PATIENT HOME WITH SEVERE, ADVANCED PERITINITIS? IN THEIR OWN NOTES FOLLOWING HOSPITALIZATION IN 2008, THEY ENTERED CLINICAL INFO TO HIS RECORDS SAYING METACAM SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN IN THE FUTURE AS HE HAD VOMITED DARK BLOODY 'STUFF' ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION FOLLOWIGN USE. I WAS NEVER TOLD NOT TO GIVE THIS, I WOULD NOT HAVE FORGOTTEN, I AM VERY VERY CAREFUL WHAT I PUT IN MY DOGS. PRAY FOR US.
tracy condel on August 03, 2011:
my boxer was diagosed with prancreatitis and i was beside myself..what happen was we had filet mignon and i put a prime rib rub on it and had a piece left and i thought for a lil treat i would give him and his sis who is a boxer as well ......i NEVER feed them table food at all!!!! they eat wellness core wet and dry!! well that was a sat night...sun and mon he had major diarehia and all niight mon and tues am he went all in ktichen was bad and had lil blood well i decided to try rice that morn well he threw it right up as soon as i gve it to him and he layed himself on floor and became stiff and lil incoherent well thank god my boyfriend was home...he start talking to him no response then he came out of it it only lasted prob 10 sec b ut felt like a 4 hours ..we picked him up off floor right to doc left him there and they diagnosed with that all from the piece of steak i gave him and it did have fat and rub....i was devasted knowing i had did thid for a lil treat and i never feed them table human food at all....anyways he saty there all tuesday and all wed and came home wed night with medicine and he just need to rest and we kept him quiet and rest and with his lil sister its hard and BTW this had no effect on her at all she was fine! they sent him home with a low fat gastro intestnal food from royal canine starting with 2 tb every 2 to 3 hours and incease it day by day well its been 9 day and as of now hes on 1cup and half 3 times a day cuz we always feed out dogs 3 times adays cuz boxers stomachs get alot of air so they cant go long on empty stomach but anyhow hes doing very well stating to play with his sister and he is hungry i do have to say that!!..also we are a very activer with out dogs we hike every weekend and walk everyday so they are very active...we go back in another to get update on how his pancrea is doing but i do recommend letting the doctor do what ever it takes cuz they can die depending on severty....it was a very tuff week for us and i was crying everyday and praying so much and everythin g turned out well and hes getting better and btw he 2 yrs old!! thank you for letting me share my story
Jaclyn on July 20, 2011:
My dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis today and I am beside myself with nerves. He was normal yesterday, running around and then at 9pm last night changed to being very timid and low-key. I brought him into the emergency vet this morning and after saying he has pancreatitis and that it would be $1800 for an IV drip and monitoring I decided to take him home with meds (tramdol, pepcid, carafate & metronidazole) and they gave him a subcutanious fluids ... i am wondering if people have written you saying that have done the in home treatment before the hospital? I am so nervous & want to make sure I'm doing the right thing, I just wish it wasn't SO expensive. How long should I wait if I see no signs of improvement?
Shelley Cetin (author) on June 12, 2011:
I'm so sorry your baby isn't responding to his pain meds. You don't say if your dog is on any other meds besides the fluids, and I assume that he's on morphine because the vets think a regular pain med like tramadol wouldn't work as well. (Most dogs go on something like that.)
You say that the vets "think" he has pancreatitis. Have they done a pancreatitis-specific test? There are two tests that can immediately identify pancreatitis: the Spec cPL and the SNAP cPL tests. I would ask the vet this question as soon as possible. If the vet hasn't yet done this test, your dog could have something else wrong with him. If the vet did do one of these tests, the diagnosis of pancreatitis should be correct. Since treatment for the condition involves fluids and pain meds, your vet is following the book. Some dogs can have a secondary infection (like an abcess on the pancreas) which can require antibiotics. You could ask your vet if these would be appropriate for your pup. You didn't mention whether your dog is vomiting. (Did his condition start out with vomiting?) If he is, what is the vet doing to control the vomiting? (i.e. giving him Reglan (metoclopromide or another antiemetic?)
Also, is your dog eating or has the vet taken him off food? Sometimes it's necessary to let the pancreas "rest" for 24 -48 hours when it is very inflamed (which occurs in pancreatitis), so vets sometimes withhold food to help the pancreas heal. If your dog is in pain AND if he's still eating, ask you vet about this. The food could be making things worse or at least be keeping him from getting better. If the vet does take your dog off food for a day or two, ask if your dog can/should take an antacid before his meals once he starts eating again. (Sometimes you can buy over-the-counter Pepcid and give part of a pill 20-30 minutes before your dog's meal.)
From what you say, I can't really see anything your vet is doing wrong unless, as I mentioned earlier, he hasn't done at least one of the two tests that specifically diagnose pancreatitis. Some dogs do take longer to heal, but also ask about antibiotics and see whether your dog can go off food for at least 24 hours to let his pancreas recover a little.
Best of luck with your baby!
Jill on June 11, 2011:
Thanks for this article. I am so worried about my dog! It has been a week that he has been sick and in and out of the vets office. I took him to an ER vet and did xrays and blood work that came out normal. They sent me home with pain meds and said to get an ultrasound on Monday (This was a Saturday night).
On Monday I went to my vet and they said after reviewing his symptoms and looking at the blood work they think he has pancreintitis. They did 2 days of IV treatment and then he is on pain meds. He is still in SOOO much pain :(
I brought him in yesterday and today for an injection of fluids and morphine for the pain but he is so miserable. I feel helpless. Is there anything I can do?? Is it possibly not pancreintitis? I am so worried :.(
Shelley Cetin (author) on May 05, 2011:
I'm so sorry about your little Jack Russel. I know just how expensive it can be to have a dog with pancreatitis treated.
Since you say you are administering fluids and your pup is on pain meds (Tramadol), I don't know what else you personally could do to make your little guy more comfortable. You don't say what med is in the injections the vet is giving him. If it's just something for vomiting, it's treating the symptom, not the cause of the pancreatitis. Since I'm not a vet, I don't know if the vet could give another med to help resolve the pancreatitis. However, you might ask him/her if an antibiotic is in order. Some dogs get a secondary infection which can be treated that way. I know my little Ozzie had an infection and the antibiotics helped him feel much better.
You also say your pup hasn't eaten for 2 days. While I'm sure that worries you a lot, it's not uncommon for a dog with pancreatitis. Dont' try to force food on him. If he is drinking normally (he is drinking, right?), that's the important. He needs to be hydrated. If he's not drinking, if he throws up whatever water he drinks, You can ask the vet for something to calm your dog's stomach. (Reglan is a common drug used to calm the stomach in dogs with pancreatitis.) If your dog is waking up showing signs of pain like those you describe, ask the vet if Tramadol is the right drug for him. He might respond better to a different pain reliever.
So here are things to ask the vet:
1) Is Tramadol the right pain med? Can the vet give something else?
2) Is an antibiotic in order? Could a secondary infection be contributing to your dog's pain and keeping him from getting better?
3) Would a med like Reglan help your dog by calming his stomach?
4) If your dog doesn't start eating in the next day or so, ask if you can add something to his water to get some nourishment - or at least calories - into his body. For instance, could you mix in some Karo syrup? My little Ozzie tolerated that when he first started getting better but before he felt ready for solid food.
5) If the vet doesn't think Reglan (or another drug to calm the stomach) is appropriate, ask if you can give your pup part of an OTC Pepcid A/C tablet. Sometimes an antacid will calm the stomach enough to make a dog feel a bit more comfortable.
Good luck with your little guy. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your vet,especially if your Jack Russel doesn't start to show improvement today or tomorrow!
One last thing: if you dog is standing while hunching his back like a Halloween cat, he's in great pain. If this happens while he's on Tramadol, he definitely needs something else for pain.
Courtney on May 05, 2011:
I was told 2 days ago by my vet that my Jack Russel has pancreatitis. We cannot afford the constant vet bills, and have been doing in-home care. Our vet has given us fluids via IV that we have been doing twice a day, as well as Tramadol. We have been taking him in to get shots for vomiting, too. Nights seems to be the worst, and he is not making improvement at all. In fact, he appears to be getting worse. He wakes up shaking and whining even after a dose of Tramadol. I take him outside, try to cuddle up to him, all to no avail. He has not eaten in the last 2 days, and I constantly check to make sure he has plenty of water. Do you have any suggestions for in-home care? Anything to help us get through the nights?
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 30, 2011:
I'm glad your dog is under a vet's care. But poor Brandi undoubtedly doesn't feel very good, which is why she's not eating much. You are lucky that she's able to keep water down and isn't vomiting, because dogs with very serious cases of pancreatitis can't even drink anything without it coming right back up.
You're just going to have to be patient about Brandi's appetite. She doesn't want to eat now because she simply doesn't feel like it, so even if she is hungry, because her pancreas is inflamed, it probably hurts her after she does eat. Your vet has put her on steroids (the prednisone) to reduce the inflammation so the pancreas will heal. She/He has probably prescribed the Amoxicillin to handle/prevent any secondary infection from the condition. So your vet seems to know what she/he is doing.
I assume the hardness of Brandi's stomach is a result of the pancreatitis. If that's the case, nothing you could apply topically will help. I'm not a vet, though, so if this worries you, ask your vet. If Brandi whimpers or cries when you touch her stomach, or if her stomach seems to be getting harder or stays hard, her pancreatitis could be getting worse and you should definitely call the vet. But if it's been that way since she got sick, I would assume her pancreas is still healing and it will eventually get back to normal.
Remember: Brandi was only diagnosed 2 days ago. That's a very short time in which to expect to see much improvement. The steroids will reduce the inflammation in her pancreas over a number of days, and Brandi will feel better as the inflammation decreases. You should expect to see her feeling a little better each day. If she wants to walk or play, let her. But if she wants to rest inside, let her do that. She is recovering and her body needs time.
Don't encourage Brandi to eat if she doesn't feel like it. When she eats, her pancreas has to go to work to release the digestive enzymes the lower intestine needs to process her food. That will irritate an already suffering pancreas. Since it needs rest, don't try to force Brandi to eat. Most vets actually remove food completely for 24 to 48 hours for a dog with pancreatitis. (My little Ozzie didn't eat for 48 hours per our vet's instructions.) Since the vet didn't tell you to remove Brandi's food, he/she must think it's okay, but I still wouldn't give her much food. (And no, she won't produce much waste since she's not eating much.) Next time she seems hungry, offer her a quarter of a can, since that's the amount she seems comfortable with. Brandi's not going to starve by going without food for a couple of days. It will actually give her pancreas time to recover. (Besides, dogs in the wild don't eat every day. Our domesticated pets have developed the habit of eating at regular times, but their bodies don't need it.)
If Brandi doesn't start eating a little more by Monday, you can ask if the vet thinks it normal. You can also ask if you can give Brandi some over-the-counter Pepcid A/C to calm her stomach. (Her stomach may actually be hurting right now.) It can reduce acid and make her feel a little better. Some vets automatically prescribe this to any dog with pancreatitis once the dog starts eating anything. If the vet okays it, ask what size tablet to buy, how much to give Brandi and when.
I think most dogs feel considerably better within a week of starting treatment for pancreatitis. Watch Brandi carefully for any signs that she's getting worse. If she pants a lot for no reason (not after a walk or exercise or because she's hot), whimpers or cries, begins vomiting, or starts standing with her back arched like a Halloween cat, call the vet immediately. These are signs the pancreatitis is getting worse.
In the meantime, let Brandi rest, give her just a little food, make sure she drinks enough water, see that she gets all her meds on time, and watch her. She should feel better in a few days (total 4-7 since initiation of treatment). And remember to give her all her meds, even if Brandi seems to feel completely better.
Brandi on April 29, 2011:
Hi! My 9year old Lab Mix was just diagnosed on 4/28 with Pancreatitis. The vet said since she was not vomiting that she could drink water and not to worry if she was avoiding food. She still isn't eating much, but occasionally she comes to me or walks to the refridgerator and thats when I know she wants her wet food. It is the only thing she will even consider touching and I even have to slightly warm it in the microwave. When she does eat she only eats like a quarter can at a time. Her tummy is hard off and on. This has been going on since 4/24. The doctor didn't say she needed hospitalized and i'm assuming that it because she is drinking to stay hydrated and not vomiting. However, she is on Amoxicillin and Prednisone here at home for 10 days. She isn't active while in the house but you let her outside and she wants to walk, run and play. How long do you think it will take for this to pass, her tummy to go back to normal, and her overall to feel better? Any advice would be great. Is there anything herbal I can rub on her tummy to help her out? Also she is pooping but just not a whole lot. I'm assuming this is due to less food consumption. What do you think? Thanks so much. Have a very blessed day...
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 22, 2011:
I'm sorry your little pug is going through such a rough time. She sounds like a real trooper. I don't have any other experience that could help you, since you already have her under good medical care by now (at the emergency vet's). Anyone else? You are both in my thoughts.
Kristine on April 19, 2011:
My 13 year old pug had had pancreatitis most of her life but was not diagnosed until a few years ago along with diabetes. By then her enzyme levels were through the roof. She has been on Hill WD for about 8 years along with a low fat diet and insulin twice a day. She had always had a few pancreatic episodes a year but had been doin well until the past two weeks. She has been pacing, panting, and standing hunched at night but no vomiting which was always her tell-tail sign before. Each time this occurrs I have been double checking her sugar and giving her gerber oatmeal (plain) just a few tsps because her bs has been low and hse has been really hungry. This, along with allergy meds for her stuffy nose seem to work but it still is happening and it has been two weeks. I am thinking that her pancreas is probably worse and am going to take her to the emergency vet tonight as they are the ones who had diagnosed her with everything (not my vet). My concern is how far can they go with a damaged pancreas and when is it enough. I cannot bear to loose her as she is my pride and joy and just writing this I am in tears but I do not want her to be in pain everyday and live the last of her years uncomfortably. I know that when she was originally diagnosed with the pancreatitis her enzymes were over 30 times higher than normal adn was told that it was probably so scarred from not being treated early enough that this would always be a problem and maintaining her blood sugar has been really rough. I just feel so bad and do not know where to turn anymore. Has anyone had a similar situation or know of any answers. I would really appreciate any help.
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 13, 2011:
I've never heard anything said against white rice, and I know some of the low-fat dog foods contain white rice. But brown does have more fiber in it, and fiber absorbs some fat from the food that we eat. That might be an argument for using brown. Just be careful not to prepare the rice with more than the tiniest bit of oil. Or use a non-stick pan.
trish on April 11, 2011:
is brown rice ok or does it need to be white for the pancreas to handle?
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 08, 2011:
I'm so very sorry about your Timmy. Poor baby. It brings tears to my eyes to think about your losing him, but you just have to believe that he is in a better place. He fought very hard, I'm sure, so he could stay with you, but I know that you feel he's at peace.
We lost our little Ozzie, my sweet baby Maltese, almost 2 years ago. He was our little trooper; in fact, that was my husband's nickname for him. He had diabetes, then got pancreatitis twice, which is how I learned so much about the condition. I always thought the diabetes would take him. (He had it for nearly 7 years! But I have juvenile diabetes and knew how to care for him, so he did fine.) However, the 2nd time he got pancreatitis, the vet had to give him a shot. The injection spot was red and never returned to normal color. The vet advised us to watch it carefully as some dogs can develop cancer at injection sites.
We did, and about a year later, the spot started looking abnormal. We had it biopsied, and it was a hemangiosarcoma, a particularly bad type of skin cancer. Because Ozzie was 13 and physically much older than that due to the number of years he had lived with diabetes, we decided it would be cruel to have the cancer removed. The surgeon had said they would have to remove a large portion of skin along his back, that he would have a really large scar, and that even removal might not get all the cancer. Ozzie only weighed 12 pounds, and I just couldn't imagine his having a 10-inch scar along his back and being in pain. So we decided just to keep him comfortable and care for him as well as we could. That was September of 2008; Ozzie died in May of 2009. He was never in any pain, and until the last 24 hours he was our silly little playful boy, somewhat tired but with a good appetite and happy as ever.
Not a day goes by that I don't remember Ozzie. It's hard for a long time, but you'll eventually start remembering Timmy for all the good times and healthy days he had. You'll remember that he was very brave and that he was brave because he wanted to be with you. Know that he loved you very much. My thoughts are with you.
Leanne Lentinello on April 06, 2011:
I'm sorry I meant to say thank you to Shelley. I appreciate all that you do to help, Leanne
Leanne Lentinello on April 06, 2011:
Hello Yvonne, Thank you so much for responding to me. It turned out not to be pancreatitis. He had a raging fever and his blood work was normal..He began crashing overnight at the vet, the night I wrote on here. They called me to say I better come in. Within minutes they called to say he had just passed on his own. I couldn't believe it. They said that the cancer is what took his life. I just wished he didn't suffer so..He passed on April 1, 2011..I miss him so very much.. :(
Yvonne White on April 06, 2011:
Hi Shelley, we know Charlee has developed arthiritis in his knee which causes him to do a little hop when he runs. I agree wholeheartedly that it is better for Kandee to miss out on her bones than to risk Charlee having another attack, she is actually enjoying the meals more than Charles that I have been making but than again she has always had a healthy appetite and Charlee was always the picky eater, hence her being slightly overweight and him being skinny.
Thank you for the encouragement you are truly a wonderful person.
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 06, 2011:
What great news about Charlee! I'm so glad that he's on the mend and feeling much better. I can understand your feeling sorry for Kandee now if she was used to chewing on bones, but you really can't take any chances with Charlee. He could have another attack if he got one of Kandee's bones or if he was given table food that had too much fat in it. For that reason, I wouldn't allow a dog with a history of pancreatitis to have any bones or skin from a chicken (or other animal). It's just too risky. Do you have a reason to think that Charlee's developing some type of arthritis or that his bones are becoming weak? Is he actually experiencing tooth problems that make you want to give him chicken necks? If he is (any of these things), I'd ask the vet. I definitely wouldn't let Charlee have a chicken neck, as the fat in the neck is still fat, and the bone actually could hurt him. (Bone marrow is greasy.) Better to brush his teeth regularly and make sure he gets regular exercise to keep his bones healthy. But ask your vet if you have real concerns. He/She can recommend a supplement if Charlee seems to need it.
Good luck with Charlee. Kandee probably isn't happy not to have her bones now, but she'll get used to whatever new low-fat treats you give her just as Charlee will. And you'll be a better mom for watching over their diets so carefully. You deserve a big pat on the back. Take care!
Yvonne White on April 06, 2011:
Just thought of something else, Charlee was never overweight so please people, do not assume that your dog is not at risk if it is in a healthy weight range. Charlee is actually skin and bone with his ribs showing and I am really trying to get him to put on weight.
Yvonne White on April 06, 2011:
Just wanted to give you an update on Charlee. He is doing extremely well after his pacreatic attack and is almost back to normal ( normal for him anyway lol) I have been feeding him on a homemade diet of chicken breast,rice,vegetables and low fat stock. Sometimes I mix it up and cook kangaroo meat as I heard it is very lean. I was just wondering if it is ok to give him a chicken neck now and again as I know bones are good for maintaining teeth, if not, is there anything else you could suggest?
I have another baby at home and she is 13 yrs old and loves her bones, I feel sorry for her that she now has to miss out as we can't watch Charlee 24/7 and he already managed to get into one of Kandee's bones she had hidden before we realised what he was up to. Luckily for us he had absolutely no ill effects after devouring it.
Thank you for a wonderful forum, the advice and suggestions have been invaluable.
Shelley Cetin (author) on April 02, 2011:
I have your Timmy in my thoughts and hope he's doing well under his treatment. Now that he's had pancreatitis, you need to learn how to feed him, so please read everything in the comment section above this and inform yourself about high-fiber, low-fat diets for dogs. Timmy will now need to avoid regular dog food and switch to something like Science Diet's W/D, which has a very controlled fat content. Fat is now the enemy in Timmy's life; too much of it can set off another attack of pancreatitis. That means no more steak or fatty meats. He can have white meat chicken (no skin) and perhaps very low-fat cuts of beef from time to time (but ask the vet about this one). Read my recommendations above about what treats are safe for dogs like Timmy, and learn to read dog food labels (and treat labels).
I can't tell you about whether or not Timmy can still take his prednisone - I'm not a vet, just someone with a lot of experience caring for a dog that, like Timmy, lived through pancreatitis. I started reading and studying everything I could in order to learn, and I talked to vet after vet fo inform myself. The best thing you can do is to keep reading and to talk to your vet about Timmy's future treatment. When you think of a question, write it down so you don't forget it. Then ask your vet.
Read my comments above about what to expect when Timmy comes back home. Ask the vet whether he can take Pepcid A/C to calm him stomach while he's recovering and ask whether he needs antibiotics. Timmy will probably have to be off food completely for 24 - 48 hours, and then will have to be weaned back on to food, very small amounts at a time in order not to aggravate his pancreas again. Ask the vet if he should be on a bland diet for the first week or so. (Science Diet I/D is a typical recovery diet.) Most important, don't go home with Timmy until you have asked the vet every question in your mind. If you don't feel like you know what, when, how, and how much to feed him and when and why to give him his various meds, don't take him home. Ask, ask, and ask more questions and don't let anyone make you feel silly or guilty for asking.
Good luck with Timmy. You are both in my thoughts.
shaesgrammi on March 31, 2011:
My Dog Timmy is fighting lymphoma cancer. He was doing pretty well on prednisone and 1/2 a zantac twice daily. He began to get a swollen belly a couple of weeks ago and I told the vet but he said it could be from the pred. He would have good days and bad days and after he ate a lot of steak he seemed to not feel very well after that. That was a week ago. As he is fighting cancer I just thought that this is what it was. They are doing tests to confirm pancreatitis but it is almost certain.. :( I am so worried and scared that he will die from this. He is on iv fluids, antibiotics and something to relieve nausea. The reason I took him to the dr is that he started vomiting last night. I hope I got him there in time. Asking you to send lots of positive vibes to our Timmy boy. What can I expect from this after he is treated? Can he still be on prednisone which is controlling his cancer. This is so hard. Thank you for any help, Leanne
Shelley Cetin (author) on March 29, 2011:
Thanks so much for letting me know about your dog. I'm really happy for you that he's able to come home and that he's getting better. The poor little guy has been through a lot, but he sounds like a trooper. Remember to get him on a good low-fat (preferably high fiber) diet and to read treat labels. (Try to get treats with less than 7% fat content. You can read comments above for some suggestions.) Make sure nobody who is around your pup gives him any food without checking with you first. Table scraps can bring on another bout of pancreatitis. Make sure he doesn't get into your other dog's food if it isn't on the same diet. In fact, it's a good idea to ask your vet if both dogs can now eat the same food Science Diet W/D is a good one; so is R/D.)and treats. That way, you don't have to watch them constantly to make sure one doesn't get too much fat. (I put both my dogs on Science Diet W/D when my little Maltese got over pancreatitis and they both got used to have the exact same type and number of treats every day.)
Good luck with your baby! And you are absolutely right. Our dogs are our family!
Nicole on March 29, 2011:
My 7 year old Jack Russell is finally coming home today. It's been quite an ordeal. He was vomitting on and off for about two weeks. Nothing severe. He remained active, alert, etc. I mentioned it to the vet when I took my other Jack, and she thought it was because we had changed dog foods. Last Wednesday he threw up massive amounts while I was at work, and I immediately knew he wasn't right. It couldn't go on any longer. I took him to the vet first thing next morning. He had a high fever, so they put him on antibiotics, another medicine for the throwing up (sorry, forget the name), took his blood and sent me home. The next morning the vet called and said white blood cell count was more than twice the norm, and I needed to get him to specialty care for ultrasound. She thought he had an infection but didn't know from where. I turned around, called out sick from work, and quickly got him over there. After the ultrasound, vet said he needed to be hospitalized immediately for severe pancreatitis. Off we raced back to our regular vets. He stayed for two days, but wouldn't keep IV in. Chewed it out first night so they gave fluids beneath the skin. No pain meds. (Didn't know then how important that was!!!!) He didn't vomit so they released him two days later. He wasn't home two hours and I knew he still wasnt' right. He was in distress, shaking non stop, lethargic, really in bad shape. Normal vets was closed by this point (Sunday), so I raced him back to the specialty care hospital which is open 24/7 in the hopes that they would do a better job. Admitted immediately, put on iv fluids (and a cone!), pain meds and anti-nauseous medicine. Two and a half days and he's well enough to come home today. I am both happy and scared to death!! I don't want any repeats of bringing him home too early, but I think this website has been a Godsend. The information, advice and suggestions as well as everyone's experiences above have truly helped me understand what to look for, what questions to ask when I go to pick him up, and now I feel better prepared to bring him home. Thanks to everyone!!!!! These guys aren't just animals; they're family!!! So thank you!
Shelley Cetin (author) on March 22, 2011:
Your poor little Charlee has been through a real ordeal, hasn't he? Charlee could be refusing to eat chicken because of an association with what made him sick, but there's not that much similarity between chicken breast and the bones and skin. Still, it could be the reason. However, since Charlee has just recently started to keep water down, it seems more likely that he's refusing the chicken because he just doesn't feel well enough to eat yet. He was in the hospital for a LONG time. What did the vet do while Charlee was there? Was he treated for a secondary infection? If so, that could explain the long time at the hospital and his slow recovery, but if not, it's unusual that he's not better by now. Most dogs can recover sooner. But maybe Charlee's condition was truly touch-and-go and his care was very intensive for several days. ?)
Here are some things to ask your vet:
1) Would Charlee feel better if you gave him an antacid before meals? Some vets will prescribe part of a Pepcid A/C tablet to help settle the stomach after a bout a pancreatitis. It can really help and isn't not expensive since Pepcid is over the counter.
2) Did the vet treat him for a secondary infection? If not, could that be a reason Charlee isn't bouncing back? This is an important question, because Charlee's only recently being able to keep even water down can be a sign that the pancreas is still irritated. If Charlee has an infection, treating it could help.
3) Can Charlee have other types of low fat meat? For instance, could you give him a little bit of 95% lean ground beef mixed with a little low-fat, high fiber dry dog food (like Science Diet W/D - a great formula for dogs with pancreatitis). If he is reacting to the chicken that made him sick, this could be a way to coax him back into eating. But whatever you give Charlee, make sure it is LOW FAT and preferable high fiber. This includes any treats you may buy him in the future. Read my notes above on what foods and treats to choose.
4)How much food should you be giving Charlee? Vets will generally recommend easing a dog slowly back onto solid food - even giving them 2 or 3 teaspoons a couple of times a day at first, then gradually increasing the amount. This prevents irritating the recovering pancreas.
Ask your vet these questions, then try changing Charlee over to a different type of low-fat meat if the vet okays it. Make sure to read about choosing treats(above in the comments, and see if the vet will okay giving Charlee Pepcid A/C 20-30 minutes prior to his meals to settle his little stomach.
Yvonne White on March 22, 2011:
My baby Charlee was hopitalised with pancreatitis 12 days ago and spent the first 7 days at the vet hospital. Unfortunately due to the cost involved we had to stop treatment and bring him home, but the vet is still giving us advice via phone and we can ring anytime.I am having a real battle on my hands trying to get him to eat anything, he does drink a lot of water which at first he was throwing up but is now managing to keep it down. When can I expect him to show some interst in food? He used to love chicken breast but can't get him to go near it now. His attack was brought on by feeding him the bones and skin from a boiled chicken I was cooking to make soup. Could this be why he won't go near chicken anymore?
Shelley Cetin (author) on March 20, 2011:
My thoughts are with you. When you get your baby home, please read all the comments above to inform yourself, as she'll need a special diet from now on - low fat, including low-fat treats. Especially be careful not to give her table food that could have higher fat content (that means almost everything). When people come to visit, make sure they understand not to give your dog any treats without asking you first. One little bite of a cookie or chicken with skin on it can send some dogs back to the emergency vet. Good luck!
Lynne on March 20, 2011:
my yorkie was hospitalized today, we were told that she has pancreatized, she went in with severe vomiting they were able to stop that, and now severe diarria, she went in with a temp of 93 and is goin up, praise God, we are praying, she is our baby.
Sue Jones on February 15, 2011:
My little yorkie was diagnosed with pancreatitis 3 days ago and was hospitalized where she was put on a drip and pain relief plus antibiotics. She showed no signs of improvement and deteriorated overnight quite quickly. She has just undergone emergency surgery which was necessary to save her life. She was flushed out with saline solution and her pancreas was very inflamed. I am now sat hoping and praying she is going to pull through, i love her so so much its painful. It is down to her now, we can't do anymore for her. Tho she is a little fighter i am terrified i am going to loose her. I have found the comments very useful indeed, thank you.
Shelley Cetin (author) on February 13, 2011:
I'm so sorry for not getting back to you before now but I just now saw your post. I hope your little Elvis is feeling better by now. Most dogs generally feel quite a bit better within a week, but some dogs have a harder time getting through a difficult bout of pancreatitis. It sounds like Elvis is in the latter group. If you trust that your vet knows how to treat pancreatitis and Elvis seems to get even a little better each day, he is probably moving in the right direction. If he can't get comfortable, however, something is still wrong and he's still experiencing the pain of the disease. You might ask your vet about the possibility of secondary infections from the disease, which can affect some dogs.
Is Elvis eating now? His not wanting to eat is a great concern and might send me to an emergency clinic where they are used to treating acute pancreatitis. While dogs just diagnosed are generally not permitted to eat for 48 hours or so, if Elvis still doesn't have an appetite, get him other help. When pancreatitis is life-threatening, a dog may begin vomiting incessantly, unable to keep down either fluids or food. Another sign of life-threatening pancreatitis is signs of acute pain, i.e. whimpering, crying, or worse.
If Elvis still isn't any better when you get his message, please take him to a reputable emergency clinic. Vets at such clinics treat many cases of pancreatitis and could be able to do something a regular vet wouldn't know to do.
Lesley on January 31, 2011:
My 7 yr. old Boston has been diagnosed with Pancreatitus & he has been battling it for 1week now. He is not improving at all-he hasn't eaten a bite of food & barely drinks water. I've been bringing him in for fluids every other day but he just doesn't seem to improve. He's on Rimadyl once a day & Bupromene (sp) every 2 hours. He will not walk around & when he does he also favors 1 leg? He cannot get comfortable & it so hard to watch. What time frame should I look for him to get better? If it I severe...Life threatening-How will I know? My poor little Elvis used to be such a happy/lively dog until last Sunday.
Shelley Cetin (author) on January 15, 2011:
Hi, Becca and Jane.
I'm having trouble using comments tonight so I'm answering your questions in one box, but I'll address them separately.
I think your lab should be feeling much better by now and that a follow-up trip to the vet is in order. Some dogs can suffer secondary infections as complications from pancreatitis. If that's what's going on, it might explain why your guy isn't feeling well. Since he's not eating and is losing weight, he really does need to see the vet to find out why he's not recovering. I'm not sure about permanent organ damage, but if his pancreas is still irritated, your dog could still be in pain, and that, too, would explain his listlessness. After 2 weeks, he should be completely back to normal, so there's definitely something going on here. Take notes and tell your vet everything about your dog's appetite, behavior, and mood when you see him/her next. Good luck!
P.S. By the way, you need to learn how to choose safe treats for your dog. Milk Bones (and treats like them) are very high in fat and could set off another bout of pancreatitis. Your dog should have treats with 7% MAXIMUM fat content or lower. I've written recommendations to several people on this page to give them ideas of what to look for and what brands to buy, so read the info over and make mental notes. Even one high-fat treat is enough to set off another attack of pancreatitis in some dogs, so you have to monitor every bite of food that now goes into your pup's mouth.
Something is definitely wrong with your lab if she was feeling much better and now is acting/feeling like she was when you first took her to the vet. The pancreatitis could be recurring, or she could have a secondary complication when is causing her pain (and therefore making her listless). Pancreatitis is very painful, but dogs don't show pain like humans do. Sometimes they just lie around and act like they don't want to do anything - simply because they hurt too much to do anything else. Please take your dog to the vet and tell him/her everything you have observed about your dog's behavior, appetite, and mood changes since she started feeling bad again. Also, once she's back home, please educate yourself about what type of food (low fat, high fiber) to put her on and what kinds of treats (low fat) she can have. I have a lot of info in comments on this page that I've written to other people. Hopefully, it will help you too. Good luck with your pup!
Jane on January 14, 2011:
My 9 year old lab has just been diagnosed with pancreaitis. After 2 days of iv fluids,she was bright and HUNGREY? Whoopee. She had a small amount of food(medical gastro) butnow seem to be back where we started, heading back to the vets, listless, not doing well at all. Is this a normal setback. Any recomindations?
Becca on January 10, 2011:
My dog 7yr old lab mix had a bout with pancreatitis over 2 weeks ago now. He refuses to eat his Iams dog food, even with broth poured on it. I made chicken and rice, which he ate for a couple of days and then began refusing that. He ate a chicken breast yesterday. He doesn't even want his favorite milkbone type treats. He is still just laying around doesn't even bother our cats anymore. He has lost alot of weight. How long should recovery take? Can they suffer permanent organ damage from this disease?
Shelley Cetin (author) on January 02, 2011:
I'm so glad Charlie is doing better and is at home. I'm sure it is hard to know that he's hungry and can only have very small amounts of food right now. I always tell people that although things like this are hard, we "parents" have to remember that we're helping (actually saving) our pets. Once his pancreas has calmed down, the vet will have you resume his eating schedule and he'll be a happpier little guy.
One thing to think about while Charlie's on the mend: Did your vet suggest a special diet for Charlie now that he's had pancreatitis? You should keep him on a low-fat, preferably high fiber, dog food now to prevent his having a recurrence. Science Diet W/D is a good one, but you can ask your vet for other suggestions. You will probably want to avoid those "regular" dog foods sold in stores and keep him on a prescription diet. You can also refer to some of the comments on this page where I suggest some low-fat treats for their dogs who've had pancreatitis. Many of the most common dog treats (like Milk Bones) have high levels of fat which could set off another bout, so start reading labels when you buy treats and look for something with 7% maximum fat content or less. (If the package only gives minimum content, don't buy it!)
Good luck with Charlie! I hope he's soon back to his old self and feeling better than ever.
Jodie on January 02, 2011:
Hiya Shelley, I'm glad to say that Charlie returned home from hospital today and seems alot more like himself which I'm relieved to say, he didn't half give us a scare. Few. However he Is now on the mend except his limp still remains after you saying youv never heard anyone connect pancreatits and a limp before we thought maybe it's his claws digging in as he was due his " pamper session " however the vet cut his nails and his limp still persists.
Another thing we are really struggling with Is seeing him so hungry ad the vet has suggested a tablespoon of his food every 2 hours which he wants more off it's so difficult to see him so hungry,
Aswell as jeanne I'm also terrified he's chewing something he picks up himself, as he Is a moocher and forever picks things up he shouldn't have !! :(
Just wanna say thanks for your help earlier and I'm so so happy that Charlie is home and getting better x
Shelley Cetin (author) on December 31, 2010:
I hope Charlie is doing better today. I'm sure your poor little guy was hurting and exhausted from vomiting, so no wonder he looked sad and didn't want to play. It's unfortunate your vet wasn't able to diagnose the pancreatitis sooner; really they should have figured it out if you told them Charlie got sick after eating a fatty meal for Christmas and that he was vomiting nonstop, even after just drinking water.
Charlie's pancreas needs to rest now so that it will stop producing the digestive enzymes that attacked the lining. While Charlie's at the vet, they will keep him on fluids and painkillers until he stabilizes. They may (and you may want to ask about this) give him antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection.
When you take Charlie home, he may not be able to eat anything for another 24 to 48 hours (per your vet) so that the pancreas can continue to rest and so the inflammation can subside conmpletely before the pancreas has to produce any more digestive enzymes. Charlie will be hungry, but if the vet tells you not to feed him, please don't. Vets will generally put dogs recovering from pancreatitis on a bland diet (like Science Diet i/d) for several days when they start eating. The vet may also ask you to feed very specific amounts of food, increasing the amount slowly each day. Your vet may also recommend that you give Charlie an antacid like Pepcid (OTC) to further reduce the chances of Charlie's system being upset by food. (You can ask the vet if Charlie can take part of a Pepcid tablet before he eats. It helped Ozzie a lot when he came home, and the vet had me keep him on Pepcid for a couple of weeks just to be safe.)
Ozzie was always a good little eater, and it was hard to see him hungry for the 48 hours the vet didn't want him to have any food. But once he started eating, he got better every day, regaining a bit more energy and "pep" with each meal. I remember that a week later, he was back to his old self and was running around the back yard and playing with his toys. He did sleep a bit more for a couple of weeks, but he bounced back fairly quickly. I do know that every dog is different, and that Charlie may bounce back quickly (like ozzie) or may take a bit longer. This will depend on just how severe the pancreatitis was, so ask your vet when he/she thinks Charlie should feel all better. If you don't feel your vet is handling the situation adequately, don't ever feel afraid to get a second opinion. Pancreatitis can kill dogs, so if Charlie seems not to be feeling better after a couple of days, or if he shows signs of pain, consult the vet.
I hope your little guy makes a normal recovery and that he's much better within a week. I've never had another person talk about their dog developing a limp with a bout of pancreatitis, so I hope they figure that one out. Do ask your vet about antibiotics and the Pepcid just to make sure he/she is covering all bases. Best of luck with your little Charlie. I hope he's better soon!
Jodie on December 31, 2010:
Hiya Shelley, I have a cavalier king Charles spaniel called Charlie he's 8 years old and after eating a Christmas dinner, like alot of dog owners allow, he bagan being sick the following day he was sick about 8-9 times even after drinking water. Charlie looked sad and just wanted to
Sleep all day had no energy wasn't interested in his grandparents wasn't interested in his toys, he also developed a limp, and wouldn't put any weight on his back right leg ( which we still don't understand ) after a trip to the vests and a blood test was taken on his 3rd visit day after day. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis they admitted Charlie for a fluid drip and painkillers today. I'm really worried after reading all of the comments above that he won't make a full recovery so I was just wondering wether after pancreatitis how long did it take Ozzie to fully recover and was it a full recovery to your pets old self before he became poorly x
Shelley Cetin (author) on December 27, 2010:
I'm so glad your little Charlie is doing better. It sounds like he had a very tough time getting through his bout with pancreatitis. Poor baby! I can understand why you worry when you see him chewing on something. I used to go through the house and check the floor for bits of food that anyone might have dropped or that our other little dog might have carted off for Ozzie to find, eat and get sick from. Do try to get everyone to be very careful not to drop crumbs from their plates on the floor. Also, if you ever have people over, make sure to tell them not to give Charlie any food. Most people will ask first, but there's always that one person who will feed a dog under the table without asking the owners. (My little Ozzie got sick the first time shortly after a dinner party we had and I've always wondered if someone didn't give him something without asking us!)
I'm sorry but I don't know anything about phenobarbitol or the combination of that and potassium bromide. If you're worried about it, I can only suggest that you talk to your vet.
Do look for low-fat treats for Charlie. If you can't find any of the brands I suggest, ask your vet for recommendations. Good luck!
jeanned81 on December 26, 2010:
"too" not two
jeanned81 on December 26, 2010:
My 5 year old min Pom Charlie almost died three weeks ago from pancreatitis. He stayed in the emergency hospital for two nights. It was 14 days before he would eat anything. He also was put on antibiotics. I did not think we would be bringing our dog home. He is now eating his Iams dry food. I had to force food (id) through a syringe for 2 weeks and he hated it. He hated taking his meds that way two. We were both give out after every force feeding. I am scared to death now everytime I see him chewing on something. It was a tough time for all of us. We are very thankful to have him still with us. He has always eaten Iams and very little table food so it really worries me of it happening again. He is on Phenobarb for seizures and I read that a combo of that and potassium bromide can also cause it. I was wondering if just the phenobarb is dangerous? Thanks for all the info that I have read. It will help me in trying to find some treats for Charlie to eat.
Shelley Cetin (author) on December 18, 2010:
That is a REALLY long time for a dog to have such severe symptoms. There must be a special reason the vet has her on two antibiotics since they aren't usually prescribed for pancreatitis. Did the vet do an ultrasound and find an abcess that he/she is treating with them? The lethargy? Maybe just from the pain, or maybe just general weakness if your dog isn't getting sufficient nutrition from the liquid diet. If this were my dog, I wouldn't wait any longer. I think I'd take her to an emergency clinic (where the vets may have seen something like this in other acute cases) or to a different vet for a second opinion. It never hurts to have a fresh eye see a case. I think your pup should have been better much sooner and needs medical attention. (You should also ask why she's on those antibiotics. There's something else going on for him/her to have prescribed them, and that could explain a lot.)
Nicole on December 16, 2010:
My Vera (10 yr old pom) has been diagnosed with pancreatitis for about 11 days now...on two antibiotics, pain meds, and liquid food since she has no interest in eating. Getting to the point that we need to see improvement in her...she is lethargic, depressed. Anyone else have these severe of symptoms last this long with pancreatitis?
Shelley Cetin (author) on November 30, 2010:
I hope your pup Asia gets over this bout of pancreatitis soon! Poor little thing. I know it can take a while before they feel good again, and it's hard for them to adjust to having to eat bland food compared to what they were accustomed to eating before they got sick.
I hope you can get little Asia to gradually tolerate her Rx dog food as you gradually increase the amount relative to her chicken and brown rice. You may never get her to eat the Rx only, but hopefully you can get her to eat a large enough portion that she'll get adequate nutrition. You may want to ask your vet to recommend a good vitamin for her to take as a dietary supplement to make sure she gets all the nutrients she needs.
I can't see why Asia couldn't have bits of sweet potatoes and/or cooked veggies if you steam them or maybe microwave them with a bit of water. With the veggies, read the labels for sodium content - try to find low- or no-sodium green beans if you can. Green beans are commonly added to dog food, as are peas, and you can find sweet potatoes in lots of low-fat dog treats. They're high in fiber, I think, and a lot of dogs like the taste. In fact, you might try adding a little microwaved sweet potato to her chicken/rice/Rx food mixture to make it more appetizing. As you change the mix to include more Rx food, you could keep the sweet potato in there if she seems to like it. The only reservation I can think of with sweet potatoes is if your dog is diabetic, but you don't mention that.
Let me know how she does, Traci. I like to hear about doggie success stories.
Traci Sellers on November 29, 2010:
My little 13yo Asia was diagnosed for the 2nd time with pancreatitis last Wednesday. I think we caught it early, but it seems as though it is taking her longer to recover than the first bout. She is still lethargic and sleeps most of the day. We are having a time trying to administer all her medication as she is refusing to eat any food that has any scent of medication. I was finally forced to crush her meds, mix with a little corn syrup (per vets suggestion) and water and quickly squirt in her mouth with a syringe. She is not a happy camper when I do that but I know it has to happen to get her better.
Your post about low fat treats is great as Asia really enjoys treats. I will look for the low fat options you outlined in your article.
Like others who have commented, Asia is refusing to have any parts of the prescription dog food. She is currently eating boiled chicken and brown rice but I know that is not nutritious enough for long term. I will try your suggestion about mixing the chicken with the prescription dog food and increasing until she can tolerate.
One more question, what are your thoughts about sweet potatoes and/or cooked veggies? I would think they would be ok as long as oil or fat are not used when they are prepared.
Again thanks for sharing. It made feel better to know that I am not the only "Mommy" with a sweet little doggie who just happen to have pancreatitis.
Shelley Cetin (author) on November 28, 2010:
Your , poor little beagle! I'm so sorry she's had so many problems with pancreatitis and that she's so terribly sensitive to any fat in her food. I hope your vet will be able to recommend some type of treats for your pup. Though my vet always recommended treats with 6% fat or less (maybe 7% she said at the most)it sounds like your little dog might react to even that small amount.
I do have a couple of no-fat possibilities for you (but ask your vet about these too). I was able to teach Ozzie to eat small bites of raw apple and carrot as treat alternatives when I didn't want him to have any fat but he was still hungry. He learned to love bits of sweet apples (such as Honey Crisp or Pink Lady). I would also sometimes shred a baby carrot and give him that on a plate. It gave him fiber and filled up his little stomach when he couldn't have anything else. You might ask your vet about doing this for your beagle.
I hope your little dog gets better over time. It's hard, I know, to watch every bite that goes into their mouths, so I hope your vet will okay some sort of treat for her.
Susy on November 28, 2010:
My 9 year old beagle has a history of pancreatitis. When she was a puppy she got a tub of margarine and ate the whole thing without us knowing. She has been on lowfat prescription food for several years.
She recently had a battle with pancreatitis. She exhibited the arched back, sweaty paw pads, panting, tongue way out,would not let you pick her up, walked sideways and backwards and hid as well has having large pupils in her eyes. She would get better and be frisky and then the whole process would start over. She was at the emergency vet and hospitalized with our vet.
We followed the rice diet but as soon as we put even a couple pieces of the low fat kibble in the rice we would be back to square one. Currently, she is on the low fat prescription canned food. If she even gets a smaller sized crumb of something that someone accidently drops (before we can snatch it from her) she is sick again several hours later. She either goes through the whole pain thing or vomits. She is very hungry and we still cannot get her to drink water anymore. We have to trick her into drinking it with her canned food. We cannot give her too much food at one time or she vomits the food. We try not to give her too much water with the food. It is very expensive food. I appreciate your information about the treats, but will check with the vet first, because it seems like even the smallest food item send her backwards. I know she would love to have a treat once in awhile. The vet would not give her any pain medication because she felt it made the pancreatitis worse.
We have had to adjust as a whole family about eating in front of her. There were times when I think even the smell of cooking food set her off (crockpot cooking and smelling all day). We actually cooked our Thanksgiving turkey at the neighbor's house and put our food in another room at Thanksgiving in hopes of not having the smells trigger something again. She did fine. You are right about no more table scraps, not even a small piece of a cracker or popcorn. Thanks for your valuable information.
Shelley Cetin (author) on November 16, 2010:
I'm sorry your pup is having such a hard time adjusting to his new diet. Have you tried Science Diet W/D? It's a low-fat/high fiber diet formulated for diabetic dogs, but it also works for dog's that have to avoid much fat. (That's what I put my little Ozzie on after his pancreatitis.) It comes both in dry and canned forms - you'll have to get it from your vet as it's a prescription formula. You can try your dog out on one can to see if he'll eat that. There's also Science Diet R/D, another low-fat diet, a little more flavorful, that some dogs prefer to the W/D.
Here's what I'd do:
Sauté WHITE MEAT chicken (or another low-fat meat) in a nonstick pan (tiniest bit of oil). After it begins to brown, add water to keep it moist, cover it and steam it the rest of the way done. This method requires the least amount of fat. I'd then mix some of this chicken (or other meat) with rice, and add in a tiny bit of whatever special canned diet you want to use (W/D, R/D, etc.). Every two days or so, increase the canned food by a small amount. You may want to offer his his food in two installations the days you add in more canned food - half to see if he'll eat the new combination. If he does, give him the 2nd half (with the same amt. of canned food). If he won't eat the first half, you know to reduce the amt. of canned food.
This process may take some time while your dog slowly adjusts to the taste of the canned food. If your vet okays it, you can probably use very lean beef (i.e. 97% fat-free stew meat or something similar) or equally lean ground turkey. Please make sure to ask your vet though before switching to something other than chicken.
Dogs won't usually starve themselves; it's against their instincts. It sounds like your dog is giving you clear signs that he's hungry, so that means he still has an appetite. That's very important. Try the above to see if you can jump start his eating again.
You can also add in low-fat treats (again, get this okayed by your vet). You'll have to learn to read labels because you want something that has about 6% MAXIMUM fat content. (Be very careful here. Many treats only list minimum fat content. Don't buy them if they don't list maximum, as the treats could be very fatty.) There are some dried meat products that look like jerky and that are quite low in fat, too. (Dried duck strips by Canyon Creek Ranch are 97% fat free (1% min/3% max). They carry them at PetsMart, but you can probably find them online, too. You could take a small piece (maybe 2" long), tear it into small pieces, and mix this into your dog's food (i.e. adding it to the chicken/meat, rice, canned food) to tempt him. Be careful not to overuse these - follow the guidelines on the package about how many to give your dog each day. My dog likes these so much she would eat nothing but if she could!
You might also ask your vet if your pup's stomach could be upset from his recent illness. (Some dogs have acidic conditions in their stomachs which can bother them especially after pancreatitis.) If so, ask if you can give him part of a Pepcid tablet 15-20 minutes before his meals. That might help him want to eat again, too.
Good luck! Please remember to run any big dietary changes past your vet. (i.e. the W/D or R/D or the addition of low-fat beef)