Pancreatitis in dogs is an inflammation of the
pancreas that can lead to organ damage if left untreated. It is therefore vital
to understand the disease since early treatment can help ease the
condition and prevent it from reoccurring. This crippling disease presents with
several common symptoms that include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting,
diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Functions of the pancreas
The pancreas, which is part of the endocrine and
digestive system, produces the hormone insulin and digestive enzymes. Once
the pancreas becomes inflamed, the enzymes in the digestive tract can get
forced out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area, where they begin to
break down fats and proteins in other organs of the body as well as the
pancreas. The dog's abdomen then becomes inflamed, and pancreatitis can
progress rapidly. There are two forms of pancreatitis in dogs: chronic and
Chronic pancreatitis may have no recognizable
symptoms, making it less severe but more difficult to detect. It takes time to
develop and more commonly affects older dogs, overweight dogs, and female dogs.
The condition can occur after repeated bouts of acute pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis in dogs occurs suddenly and
can be more severe. If the inflammation spreads, it can affect other organs in
the body and become life-threatening. It is, therefore, necessary to seek
veterinary advice as soon as possible.
Common causes of pancreatitis
Pancreatitis in dogs is a somewhat common
disease, although the precise causes are unknown. Some dogs, such as rough
collies, German shepherds, Yorkshire terriers, cocker spaniels, and poodles,
are known to be at higher risk than other breeds. Some people have blamed an
injury to the middle back, and even gross over-vaccination, for triggering the condition. However, one of the more common causes is thought to be a
Unlike humans, dogs get all the nutrition they
need from animal protein and fat. Many people routinely feed their pets
dry dog food that is about 50 percent carbohydrate. Dogs do not produce as much
of the enzyme amylase as humans do, so too many carbs can put the pancreas
under strain. This situation also raises the blood sugar level so that more
insulin is required.
Once pancreatitis occurs, vitamin E levels drop.
Vitamin E controls the excess fat in the dog's body, so feeding it table scraps
and other high-fat foods will exacerbate the situation.
If your dog has pancreatitis, it is essential to
improve its diet as soon as possible. However, before changing its menu, you
must give the dog's system a 24-48-hour rest period, feeding the animal
smaller meals of freshly prepared and easily digestible food, such as low-fat
chicken and turkey or white fish. Once your dog's system has settled down, you
can begin adding organ meats, cooked vegetables, and even probiotics into the
diet. If you think your dog's pancreatitis is the result of an injury, then
seek a qualified vet for treatment.
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Prevention of pancreatitis in dogs
Feeding a diet that consists of natural raw or
cooked non-processed foods appears to be the best way of keeping pancreatitis in
dogs at bay. Only feed small amounts of meats that are high in fat, such as
duck, lamb, and beef, and provide natural supplements, such as daily herbs and whole
It is important to remember that, apart from diet, all dogs require regular exercise to keep their bones and muscles in good shape. A fit and healthy dog is also less likely to suffer from injuries or ill health. A happy canine should hopefully provide you with many years of companionship while avoiding the crippling effects of pancreatitis and blood sugar imbalance in dogs.