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What are Pancreatitis?

Documentation has shown that pancreatitis typically affects dogs who are over the age of five. Many of the dogs who get this disease are obese or overweight. Miniature Schnauzers seem to be especially predisposed to pancreatitis though studies have shown that Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, Dachshunds, and Cocker Spaniels commonly become afflicted with the illness. The disease can prove fatal if left untreated.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ close to the stomach. The pancreas produces enzymes that aid in food digestion and hormone regulation. When pancreatitis occurs, it is because the enzymes have prematurely become activated while still in the pancreas, instead of in the digestive system where normal activity takes place. Inflammation of the pancreas can result in secondary damage to other organs of the body.

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Pancreatitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs

Symptoms will vary tremendously depending on the severity of the pancreatitis. Because the condition can rapidly deteriorate, a veterinary visit is imperative if your dog is showing any of the following signs.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite reduction
  • Depression
  • Jaundice
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shock
  • Collapse
Types

Pancreatitis can be classified in two ways.

  • Acute pancreatitis
    • This is the more common form of pancreatic inflammation in canines
    • Several attacks can lead to the chronic form
    • The acute case is often more easily treated
  • Chronic pancreatitis
    • This form can remain undiagnosed due to mild signs and nonspecific test results
    • This leads to a continuous, progressive inflammation
    • It can lead to irreversible damage
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Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs

Treating your pet for pancreatitis is imperative because your canine family member may suffer greatly without a resolution. There are many underlying causes for pancreatitis, as well as a myriad of complications that can arise due to the illness.

  • Pancreatic tumor
  • Duct obstruction
  • High level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • Obesity
  • Blunt trauma
  • Complication of surgery
  • Toxins or infectious agents
  • Consumption of a large amount of fatty food a short time, or ingestion of fatty substances from garbage
  • Inability of the body to break down fats (hyperlipoproteinemia)
  • Disruption of blood supply to the pancreas (ischemia)
  • Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes mellitus
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Diagnosis of Pancreatitis in Dogs

When you bring your furry family member to the clinic, the veterinarian will begin the consultation with a few questions. Be prepared to be as accurate as possible; all information is pertinent and useful. The veterinary caregiver will want to know specifically what type of food your dog typically eats, whether you feed him table scraps and if it is possible that he could have consumed something from a trash can. If you think your pet may have ingested a toxic substance, inform the veterinarian right away.

A physical exam will be included in the first stage of the visit, and the veterinary caregiver could search for a palpable mass in the abdomen. Several testing procedures could be suggested.

  • Tests like complete blood count, serum biochemistry and urinalysis are standard procedures that can help the veterinarian to explore the possibilities for your pet’s pain
  • These tests can also rule out systemic causes or complications, such as elevated liver enzymes, hypoalbuminemia, electrolyte imbalances, or an increase in white blood cells
  • A radiograph of the abdomen may be done; this can exclude potential causes such as an obstruction
  • An ultrasound could show the presence of a mass or displacement of organs
  • The pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity test is very effective (accuracy of 80%); a high concentration will most often lead to a diagnosis of pancreatitis
  • If the diagnosis is not yet clear, and your pet is in a stable condition, a fine needle aspiration or exploratory laparotomy may confirm the instance of abnormal cell behavior
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Treatment of Pancreatitis in Dogs

Early intervention is key in bringing your canine companion back to good health. A mild case of pancreatitis can be followed up at home with a change to a low-fat diet and possible pancreatic enzyme supplementation.

In more severe instances of inflammation of the pancreas, hospitalization is needed. The treatment will center around the severity of the attack. If vomiting is a factor, then food and water most certainly will be needed to be withheld for a period of 3 to 4 days, in order to give the pancreas the opportunity to rest. In effect, allowing the pancreas a time of rest stops the enzyme activity that is inadvertently causing damage to the pancreas itself. If there is gastrointestinal bleeding, antacids will be administered.

The veterinary team will be keeping a close watch over your beloved pet during his hospital stay. Pancreatitis can rapidly worsen, making the close monitoring a necessity. Intravenous fluids (to replace the food and water), anti-nausea medication, and pain relief will all be part of the hospital treatment. There could be accompanying diseases that need to be attended to, such as hepatitis or irritable bowel disease both of which can go hand in hand with pancreatitis. Of course, in the case of a tumor, for example, surgery may be unavoidable.

Once the veterinarian feels that your canine family member is well enough to go home, she will discharge your pet with full instruction on the required home care needed.

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Recovery of Pancreatitis in Dogs

Mild cases of pancreatitis have a favorable prognosis. If the episode is severe, the prognosis is more guarded because there can be systemic complications that crop up, and there is also the high risk of multiple organ failures.

A dog with a mild case of pancreatic inflammation will benefit from the lifetime management of his diet. Low fat, low protein food will be recommended. The veterinarian will have the appropriate food on hand; you need not worry about what you should feed your pet. The veterinary caregiver can advise you on the proper food for weight management (another important facet of pancreatic care), and for adequate nutritional intake.

A dog with chronic or recurring pancreatitis will need regular monitoring by the veterinarian. Ensuring a low-stress environment for your dog, the avoidance of medications known to aggravate his pancreas and the diligent care of any underlying disease will be crucial factors in maintaining your dog’s quality of life.

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Pancreatitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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Pancreatitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chandler

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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6 Days

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Vomit, Pain

We were in an apartment complex that people did not clean up dog waste. Could this be a possible cause for pancreatitis if he repeatedly walked through? We had him treated, diagnosed and doing well however wondering if this could have been an underlying cause.

April 15, 2018

Chandler's Owner


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0 Recommendations

Walking through faeces wouldn’t cause pancreatitis but a dog may eat faeces to try and get help with digestive enzymes etc… If Chandler was walking through faeces, he should have been cleaned after each walk. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 16, 2018

I have a question my neighbors dog has been diagnosed woth pancreatitis and she is blaming it on me amd my husband becaise we throw slop out side bc there are a million cats tjay rome around outside, but she did so as well. So am i the reason her 13 yearold dog is havong these problems?

May 3, 2018

Tandi H.

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Bindi

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King Charles Spaniel

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8 Years

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Critical severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Vomiting, Nausea, Lethargy

Hello our dog is a King Charles spaniel who ingested human puppy chow and now has developed severe pancreatitis. He is in the veterinary hospital with elevated BUN and creatinine and his pancreatic enzymes are over 5100. He’s getting IV fluids, Not interested in food and is still lethargic. What are the chances of recovery, is he suffering, should I give the IV fluids more time.? Help. Thank you.

Jan. 20, 2018

Bindi's Owner

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2 Recommendations

The mainstay of treatment in these cases is fluid therapy along with supportive and symptomatic care (antiemetics for example), feeding a low fat diet (or encouraging to feed) is also important. As for chances of recovery, I cannot answer this question as I haven’t examined Bindi and haven’t monitored his progress to date but your Veterinarian would be able to give you more guidance on this subject. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/digestive-system/the-exocrine-pancreas/pancreatitis-in-small-animals www.cliniciansbrief.com/sites/default/files/attachments/Canine%20Pancreatitis.pdf

Jan. 20, 2018

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Pancreatitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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