The pancreas is an organ of the body. It performs two functions. It produces hormones such as insulin which help the body utilise glucose and it also produces various enzymes which aid in the digestion of food.
Pancreatitis occurs when the enzymes starts to work before it gets to the small intestine and attacks the pancreas itself. It is very painful and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms Of Pancreatitis
There are a number of symptoms of pancreatitis. If your dog infrequently exhibits one of them, he should be monitored. But if he exhibit multiple symptoms repeatedly you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Pain in the abdomen - your dog may try to avoid being picked up and could whine or howl. It can be so painful that your dog will arch his back in an attempt to find relief.
Vomiting - dogs vomit for lots of different reasons and without the presence of other symptoms it is unlikely you would suspect pancreatitis. The pain itself can cause vomiting.
Lethargy - your dog will act as if it has lost all interest in life.He will not want to move around very much. If your dog was previously fairly active, lethargy is often a sign that something is wrong even if it is not pancreatitis. A visit to the vet is a good idea.
Diarrhea - the pancreas plays a vital role in digestion. When this role is interrupted diarrhea can be the result.
Fever - as a dog owner you should know how to take your dog’s temperature. A dog with pancreatitis will often have a fever.
Avoidance of food - a dog with abdominal pain who is vomiting will generally not want to eat.
Causes Of Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis often seems to come from nowhere, but a number of factors have been identified as possible causes. Here are some of those factors
High fat diet - this seems to be the biggest factor in the development of pancreatitis. If your dog is showing signs of abdominal pain, he should not be given fatty food. This especially applies to table scraps.
Dogs that will eat anything - this is known as dietary indiscretion.
Dogs may have a genetic predisposition to pancreatitis
Pancreatitis can be either mild or severe where are two forms, acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is where the condition appears suddenly with no previous history. It needs to be treated quickly before it affects other organs. Chronic pancreatitis develops slowly over time and can developr as a result of repeated attacks of acute pancreatitis.
Treatment For Pancreatitis
The treatment for acute pancreatitis involves the management of your dogs pain and getting onto it early to avoid complications.
The most common treatments are:
Intravenous fluid in severe cases
Keeping a very close watch for developing complications
Medication to stop the vomiting which will avoid dehydration
Withholding food and water for 24 hours to give the pancreas time to rest
Special low fats diet are available
Your dog should be given smaller, more frequent meals
Discuss ongoing treatment with your vet. Remember pancreatitis is a serious disease which can lead to death. Don't try home remedies - see your vet as soon as possible.