Pancreatitis In Dogs : Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
If your dog has pancreatitis, she may have symptoms like:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Depression. Your dog is in pain.
5. A swollen abdomen.
6. Dehydration. You can check this by lifting up her skin. If it sinks back slowly she is already dehydrated.
7. Diarrhea. This may be mild and may not even be present in all dogs.
8. 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.
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Causes and Treatment of Pancreatitis
What can cause pancreatitis?
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:
1. Your dog has been “dumpster diving” or you give her a fatty meal like the skin off of the turkey at Thanksgiving.
2. Your dog is already obese; you make things worse by giving her a rich meal that she cannot handle.
3. Your dog is hit by a car or kicked in the belly. Her pancreas is traumatized and starts leaking enzymes into her belly.
4. You have a Miniature Schnauzer. They can have bouts of pancreatitis without external causes, like a fatty meal.
5. 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.
6. Your dog has another disease like diabetes, Cushings, or hypothyroidism.
7. 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 a lot of symptoms of pancreatitis, your vet will recommend bloodwork to check for inflammation and enzymes, evaluation of the urine (a urinalysis), and maybe even x-rays or an ultrasound.
To treat it, your vet will want to:
1. Give medications to stop the vomiting.
2. Give IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated.
3. Give pain medications.
4. Give small meals.
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.
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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.
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