Can Dogs Live without a Pancreas?

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Introduction

The pancreas is a very important glandular organ that plays a vital part in the functioning of our bodies. This is an organ that is responsible for insulin production and plays a big part in the digestion process. 

Of course, the organ plays the same vital role in dogs as it does in humans but dogs suffer more frequently from diseases that affect the pancreas. This includes problems such as pancreatisis and even pancreatic tumors. Depending on the condition and the severity of the problem, this could involve the partial or complete removal of the pancreas. But can your dog live without its pancreas?

Signs of Possible Pancreas Problems

The answer to this question is, yes, our pooches can live even if they have to go through a complete removal of the pancreas. However, once the pancreas has been removed, there will be problems to get through and this includes the fact that your dog becomes an instant type 1 diabetic once the organ has been removed. 

As long as you can provide daily treatment and management for your pooch, they can still lead a full and enjoyable life - but you do have to be far more mindful about your pet’s health as a result of the diabetes that they will develop following the procedure.

If your dog has pancreatic problems, they may display a number of signs. This includes appearing to be dehydrated, losing their appetite, losing a lot of weight due to digestive problems, vomiting, nausea, and extreme lethargy. 

Your dog may lose interest in activities and may attempt to hide away in isolation because of the pain and discomfort that is being caused by the pancreatic issue. When your dog displays signs such as these, you need to ensure that you make a vet’s appointment quickly so that the cause can be determined and the right treatment arranged.

When your dog contracts any illness that causes pain and discomfort, they will be far more subdued and may spend a lot of time with their tail and ears down. In addition, you will notice that they do not have the energy to move around much or even get out of bed some days because of the weakness. 

Your dog may shy away from food despite being hungry because they realize that eating will be difficult and may cause vomiting. These are some of the key body language signs that your dog may display if they are suffering from a problem with their pancreas. 

Body Language

Signs your dog may have a pancreas problem include:

  • Weakness
  • Dropped Ears
  • Tail tucking
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Other things you may want to look for are:

  • Low energy
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Subdued behavior
  • Hiding away

History of Research into Canine Pancreas Issues

From historical research, we now know that many dogs and cats can be affected by pancreas issues just as many humans can. The level and severity of the problem can vary, as can the treatment. Researchers have looked into the various problems that can occur with the canine pancreas and while some conditions may simply require medication, dietary changes, and proper management, there are certain conditions that could result in the dog having to have a partial or complete removal of the pancreas. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure available for pancreas problems such as pancreatitis and pancreatic tumors, which is why surgery is sometimes necessary to simply remove tissue that is damaged.

If your dog does develop pancreas problems, the vet will need to determine what the issue is so that appropriate treatment can be arranged. The treatment could range from anything from a spell in the hospital under close supervision to surgery. This is something that the vet will be able to determine once the root cause of the problem has been diagnosed. 

In the event the pancreas has to be removed in its entirety, the owner will have to commit to providing daily treatment to keep the dog’s newly formed diabetes under control. 

The Science of Pancreas Issues

Studies have shown that canine pancreatic problems can occur for a variety of reasons and the treatment can, therefore, also vary. If dogs have a lot of fat in their diet or have excess calcium in the blood, it can cause pancreatic issues. 

This is why experts advise owners not to keep feeding their pooch table scraps that may have fat levels that are too high. In addition, dogs can develop tumors of the pancreas, which may involve surgery to try and remove the damaged tissue. In order to keep the risk of pancreas problems at a minimum, owners should feed their dogs high-quality food that keep their weight under control.

Being a Responsible Owner

As you can see, pancreatic issues can have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of your pet. Because the pancreas is such an important organ within your dog’s body, when something goes wrong, it can cause a lot of problems including difficulties with digestions, inability to produce insulin, pain, and discomfort, along with a variety of additional health issues. 

If your dog does appear to be experiencing problems based on the signs and indications outlined above, you need to make sure that it gets medical attention from a vet as soon as possible.

As a responsible owner, you need to make sure you look out for certain signs that could be associated with pancreatic problems such as malnutrition, lack of energy, being sick, and other signs of distress. You also need to remember that the longer you leave your pooch without the necessary treatment, the more severe the problem is likely to get. In addition, this means that treating the problem will be far more difficult, so you need to make sure you act as soon as you notice the various symptoms.

You also need to make sure that your dog leads as healthy a lifestyle as possible to protect not only its pancreas but also its other organs and overall health. Diet and exercise play a very important part in this, just as it does with humans. 

You need to ensure your dog eats quality, nutritious food, which is not only far better in terms of health but will also keep your pooch feeling full for longer. This means that you spend less money on food and your dog enjoys a stable and healthy diet. Keeping your dog’s weight under control is made easier by adding regular exercise to its routine with plenty of long walks and spending time outdoors. 

How to React to Your Dog's Pancreas Issues:

  • Be careful with your dog's diet.
  • Provide treatment as outlined by the vet.
  • Get your dog to the vet's for assessment.
  • Look out for signs of pancreas issues.

Let Us Know if Your Dog is Living without a Pancreas!