Can Dogs Live without a Pancreas?

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Introduction

When it comes to our pooches, we naturally worry about their health and the various problems that they may suffer over the years. Dogs are prone to a variety of different health issues, with some breeds being more prone to health problems than others. 

In addition to the common health issues, you also need to think of unexpected health problems stemming from age, accidents, injuries, and other reasons. Of course, we all want to be able to help our dogs in the event that they develop a health problem but we also want to ensure that they will be able to enjoy a decent quality of life. So, what happens if your dog has to have its pancreas removed?

Signs of Pancreas Problems in Dogs

The good news is that your dog can live with a partial pancreas or even with no pancreas. Some dogs have to have part of their pancreas removed due to health issues such as tumors and sometimes, although far more rarely, the dog may have to have the entire organ removed. 

In the event that the whole of the pancreas is taken out, your dog will become a type 1 diabetic right away. This is because the pancreas produces insulin and aids digestion so without one your dog automatically becomes diabetic.

If your dog has pancreas problems, you will notice a range of signs and side effects stemming from the condition. Your pet will be extremely dehydrated and malnourished but will lack any appetite. Your pooch may also lose a lot of weight because of its inability to properly digest food. You may also notice high levels of lethargy as well as regular vomiting. Your pet will be dehydrated and weak. 

The effects of this condition, if it is left untreated, may also include disease of the liver, damage to other major organs, and various problems with the nervous system. Once the pancreas is partially or completely removed, your dog can go on to live a normal life with daily diabetes treatment. However, injections will need to be administered to your pet every day for the rest of their life.

The problems that your dog may experience due to pancreas issues will often be displayed through its body language. Dogs tend to slink off and hide away when feeling unwell, so this is something that your pet may do. 

You will notice that it has no energy and just lies around, unwilling or unable to get involved in any activity. You will also notice weight loss in your pet even though it may be trying to eat and drink ravenously. The damage to the pancreas means that your dog will struggle when it comes to digestion, which in turn will result in weight loss. 

In some cases, the removal of the pancreas can lead to serious side effects, and it is important to look out for these. Some of these include liver failure, severe dehydration, and intense weakness. These symptoms could even leave your dog comatose, so you need to keep a close eye on it and take it immediately to the vet if there are issues.

Body Language

If your pooch is suffering from pancreas problems, watch for:
  • Weakness
  • Lack of focus
  • Tail tucking

Other Signs

More cues that your sick pup will give are:

  • Disinterested behacior
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • No energy
  • Hiding

The History of Pancreas Problems in Dogs

A lot of research has been carried out into canine diseases and health conditions over the years. It has been found that pancreatitis and other pancreas conditions can affect both dogs and cats. Depending on the severity and how long the condition has been festering for, it may require surgery to remove some or all the pancreas. 

Despite research and studies, no cure for pancreatitis has been found, which means that at present, supportive treatment or surgery are the only options. The causes behind pancreas problems in dogs can vary and whether or not removal is necessary will depend on the problem and the cause.

A dog that does develop pancreas problems may have to be kept in the animal hospital for a period of time while an assessment is carried out. In some cases, where the damage is not too severe, they may make a full recovery from problems such as pancreatitis. 

Sometimes, a dog may keep developing the condition and this might be treated with a special diet and proper management. However, if there is a severe problem and surgery has to be performed, your dog will be kept in for a longer period so that the pancreas can be partly or entirely removed. At this stage, your dog will become diabetic and you will need to be committed to providing daily treatment. 

Science Behind Pancreas Problems in Dogs

Like humans, dogs can develop pancreas problems for a variety of reasons. Some dogs eat a lot of fatty food and scraps from tables, which can lead to high levels of fat in the blood and, eventually, pancreatitis. Some dogs have high levels of calcium in the blood, which can also result in pancreatitis. 

Dogs are also at risk if they are obese and consume a diet that is high in fat, which is why you should always be careful when it comes to what you feed your dog. There are also dogs that may develop tumors and this may result in the need to partly or fully remove the pancreas.  

Helping Your Dog with Their Pancreas Problems

It is important to try and protect your pooch as much as possible. Pancreas problems can cause a lot of problems for your pet, as it means that digesting food becomes more difficult and your dog may suffer a range of other health issues. 

In addition, if there is a problem and it goes unnoticed and untreated, it could become extremely serious and cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your pet in the meantime. This is why you need to make sure you keep an eye out for any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, as this could indicate a problem with your dog’s pancreas.

If you do notice these signs, such as weight loss, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and vomiting, you need to make sure you take your pet to the vet. A proper assessment can then be carried out so that the vet can determine what is causing the health issues with your pooch. 

If it is in relation to the pancreas, the vet will then need to determine what the problem is – for instance, whether it is inflammation and irritation or something more serious. Once the tests have been done and the diagnosis has been made, your vet will be able to speak with you about the treatment options.

In the meantime, one thing that you can do to help protect your dog from getting pancreas problems is to monitor its diet carefully. We are all tempted to give our dogs food from our plates, particularly when they are staring up at you while you eat. 

While this is okay on the odd occasion, if you do it regularly, it will impact on your pet’s health. In addition, make sure you always feed your dog with high-quality food that is packed with nutrition and vitamins. 

How to React to Your Dog's Pancreas Problems:

  • Look out for signs of pancreas issues.
  • Avoid giving table scraps on a regular basis.
  • Take your dog to the vet if it does show any signs or pancreas issues.
  • Make sure your dog is fed a low-fat diet and quality food.

Tell Us How Your Dog has Done without a Pancreas!