December 11, 2017


The Pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system, which is important for the digestion of foods, producing the enzymes that digest food, and producing insulin. When factors occur to cause inflammation of the pancreas, the flow of enzymes into the digestive tract can become disrupted, forcing the enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area.


When this happens, the digestive enzymes will then begin to break down fat and proteins in the other organs, as well as in the pancreas. Basically the body then begins to digest itself. The kidney and liver, being so close to the pancreas can also be affected when this takes place, resulting in the abdomen to become inflamed. 


Inflammation of the pancreas often progresses more rapidly in dogs than cats and can be treated without any permanent damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-term without treatment, severe organ, and even brain damage can occur.



Symptoms of Pancreatitis

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss (more common in cats)

  • Dehydration

  • Fatigue and sluggishness

  • Mild to severe abdominal pain

  • Depression

  • Increased heart rate

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Vomiting

  • Diahoea


Causes of Pancreatitis


Some causes of pancreatitis include nutritional factors, such as high levels of fat in the blood, high levels of calcium in the blood, trauma to the pancreas, and some drugs or toxins. Obesity is also known contributing factor.


When an animal eats a large amount of fat in a single sitting, it can cause the pancreas to inflame. This tends to occur around the holidays, when dogs are given table scraps that are not normally a part of their diets.


Although pancreatitis can occur in any dog breed, it occurs more frequently in the Miniature Schnauzer, miniature poodle and Cocker Spaniel. Inflammation of the pancreas is also more common in females than in males, and more common in elderly dogs.


Diagnosing Pancreatitis 


A complete blood count work up will be needed to see if there are any nutrient imbalances, and X-ray imaging will be used to look for evidence of any blunt damage to the pancreas. Pancreatic and liver enzymes will be measured to analyze for increases of either in the bloodstream. Insulin will me measured to check for normal levels, since inflammation can cause insulin producing cells in the pancreas to be damaged, possibly leading to diabetes.



Treatment for Pancreatitis


Inflammation of the pancreas can often be with fluid therapy, substances to help move blood flow in the veins and arteries, electrolyte supplements, and potassium supplements, as potassium levels often drop when the animal is experiencing this medical condition.


When food is reintroduced, it will consist of a bland, low fat, high carbohydrate, and easily digestible diet



Prevention of Pancreatitis

  • A reduction in the pets weight

  • Avoidance of high-fat diets

  • Keeping the pets as close to its ideal weight as possible

  • Avoidance of drugs that may increase inflammation


So remember the pancreas when you are about to give your pet that piece of ham, or the table scraps. Christmas is the time for giving, so don’t give the pancreas any fat otherwise for Christmas all you will be receiving is a sick puppy and a huge vet bill, because as you know, everything always happens on a public holiday!


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