Pancreatitis in Dogs: Symptoms You Should Watch for and What to Do Next
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
- A painful abdomen. This might be one of the first symptoms you notice and if you are doing the DIY physical exam at home, your dog will grunt in pain when you push up on her belly. If her belly is in pain, she might have a hunched-over back.
- Vomiting. There are a lot of things that can cause vomiting but if you follow these simple steps, and it does not stop, you need to have her checked out right away.
- Loss of appetite. Missing a single meal is not a big deal for most dogs. If your dog normally eats fine, and has loss of appetite with any other symptoms of pancreatitis, take her in for an exam.
- Depression. Your dog is in pain.
- A swollen abdomen.
- Dehydration. You can check this by lifting up her skin. If it sinks back slowly, she is already dehydrated.
- Diarrhea. This may be mild and may not even be present in all dogs.
- Fever. You may not even notice this symptom, but you should keep a thermometer in your first aid kit. Check this but watch for the other symptoms first.
Sometimes the disease is so severe that the organs around the pancreas are “autodigested” or destroyed by the digestion enzymes leaked from the pancreas. Dogs might also have heart problems, breathing problems, or a disease called DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulopathy) where all the organs are destroyed, and the dog starts bleeding out of her nose and eyes.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis you should watch out for?
What Causes Pancreatitis and What Should I Do?
The pancreas normally stays quiet and does its job, releasing insulin to keep the blood sugar normal and helping to digest food. You might notice the symptoms of pancreatitis when:
- Your dog has been “dumpster diving,” or you give her a fatty meal like the skin off of the turkey at Thanksgiving.
- Your dog is already obese; you make things worse by giving her a rich meal that she cannot handle.
- Your dog is hit by a car or kicked in the belly. Her pancreas is traumatized and starts leaking enzymes into her belly.
- You have a Miniature Schnauzer. They can have bouts of pancreatitis without external causes, like a fatty meal.
- Your dog is on a new medication; some antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and seizure control drugs can affect the pancreas. If you have any questions about new meds your dog is taking, contact your veterinarian.
- Your dog has another disease like diabetes, Cushing's, or hypothyroidism.
- Your dog is on a diet that causes her pancreas to over-react and produce too many enzymes. Some holistic veterinarians believe that corn-based diets are most likely to do this.
How will we recognize pancreatitis and treat it?
If your dog has the symptoms of pancreatitis that I described above, the first thing you need to do is take her to your regular vet for an exam and bloodwork. Your vet will recommend the bloodwork to check for inflammation and enzymes, evaluation of the urine (a urinalysis), and maybe need to take x-rays or perform an ultrasound.
To treat your dog suffering from pancreatitis, your vet will want to:
- Give medications to stop the vomiting.
- Give IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated.
- Give pain medications.
- Give small meals.
Your dog will probably need to be hospitalized for the treatment.
Cheap food with a lot of carbohydrates (that raise the blood sugar) might be one of the causes of pancreatitis. You may be causing your dog problems by putting these foods it into your dog´s bowl each night.
Which dog never has to worry about pancreatitis?
More About Your Dog's Health
- My Dog Is Vomiting
Sometimes vomiting is simple to treat and easy to figure out. Now always. Find out what can be wrong and what you need to do if your dog is vomiting.
- Save Money on A Dogs Health Care
How you can save money on your dogs health costs by following a few simple steps. Why you should examine your dog regularly, keep you dog healthy and how to avoid excessive health costs.
Will My Dog Get Better?
If your dog has her first bout of pancreatitis, she is treated correctly, and you do not waste days going to forums and checking sites on the internet to decide whether or not you should take her to the vet, she will probably get better.
After she gets better, she will probably need to be on a low-fat diet. If you just ignore it and she has repeated bouts of pancreatitis she can develop a chronic disease where her pancreas is not even able to digest her food, your dog will starve to death.
Don’t let it get this far. If your dog has any symptoms of pancreatitis get her examined by your veterinarian today.
If you think your dog has pancreatitis, you should:
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.
Questions & Answers
Our mini poodle was diagnosed with pancreatitis two years ago and was hospitalized. I have since completely changed her diet. She is now on the Hills i/d Digestive Care (156g). I give her and our other poodle half dog food with chicken breast. Snacks are homemade dehydrated chicken wrapped around rawhide. Now she is also licking her paws until they are raw. Are there any supplements I can give her?
If this were my dog, I would want to find out what is causing her excessive licking before I started supplements. Is it just her feet, or does she have recurrent ear infections? Is she itching and scratching other parts of her body excessively?
Your dog may be allergic to something in the environment, maybe licking her feet out of boredom, or may even be allergic to that Hills diet. (Read the label.)
If you are not able to find out what is causing her excessive licking, and just want to try a supplement, I can only recommend some natural sources. Honey, when it is harvested locally, will contain many allergens that the dog is allergic to and will act like allergy shots. If your dog is inside all of the time, and the allergies are not seasonal, you can try to reduce the allergens she is exposed to: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/tips-to-make-an-allerg...
If it is only her feet, you can also try to soak them in Epsom salts or wipe them with apple cider vinegar. (As long as you do not use too much it is not going to hurt her to lick the feet, but if you are soaking them in Epsom salts be sure to wipe them clean after.)Helpful 3
© 2013 Dr Mark