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Pancreatitis in Dogs


Pancreatitis in dogs generally is a painful, serious canine disease that can crop up all of a sudden. Although the exact cause of this condition remains unknown, it appears to be most common in middle-aged pooches, probably more in females as compared to males, which are overweight and usually follows a high-fat diet.

For some dogs, an attack can occur rapidly as a result of eating table scraps or very fatty foods. Veterinarians often report increased cases of acute pancreatitis around the holidays, when people unknowingly feed their dog special treats from the holiday meal, like turkey skin or sweets. However, not all cases are a result of poor diet, as genetics seems to also play a role in its development.

Understanding the Basics

· The pancreas. The pancreas is a large, elongated gland in the body that is found between the upper small intestine, kidneys, liver, spleen, and stomach. One of the pancreas’ major functions is the secretion of digestive enzymes as well as other essential substances necessary for digestion. Pancreatitis occurs when there is a swelling and inflammation of the organ. The condition is linked to the activation of certain digestive enzymes that lead to the injury to the pancreas itself, and sometimes, even to its adjacent organs in the abdomen.

· The symptoms. Clinical signs of pancreatitis normally include vomiting, oftentimes profuse; lack of appetite or refusal to eat; lack of thirst or refusal to drink; weight loss; depression; weakness; lethargy; abdominal pain, usually severe and sudden; diarrhea; dehydration; and/or tucked up belly. Once the disease has progressed, the following indicators can be observed: abnormal stool consistency and color; fever; swollen abdomen; heart arrhythmias; difficulty breathing; shock; systemic infection, inflammation of the other organs that surround the pancreas; and/or internal hemorrhage. Since pancreatitis in dogs can be very serious, it requires immediate vet attention.

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16 Responses to Pancreatitis in Dogs
  1. Frances
    June 16, 2014 | 6:02 pm

    My holistic vet suggested cottage cheese for my dog with Pancreatitis, and he has not had an attack in over the 9 months I have been giving him a spoonful before his meals.

  2. Rosie Roy
    May 17, 2014 | 2:27 pm

    My nine-year-old Black Labrador, Wolf, died of pancreatic cancer July 23, 2011. He lasted about a month after diagnosed and $2500. later trying to save his life. He was my best friend,loyal protector, and companion. Though I have two small sweet rescues found a year later, I dearly miss my Wolf till this day. He is buried in my backyard and still watches over me. I love you Wolf, see you in Heaven!~Momma

  3. K. Savage
    May 16, 2014 | 8:20 pm

    My 11-year-old lab/wolf mix has had chronic pancreatitis for several years now. Several months ago, I started adding raw goat milk to her daily food (the enzymes and pro/pre-biotics in the raw milk replace the ones her pancreas cannot produce anymore) and she has done amazingly well! Also, her “bouts” of pancreatitis have lessened… but when she does have one, I also add some cannabis tincture to her food. She acts like a pup again!!

  4. maria luisa redona
    May 16, 2014 | 4:05 pm

    i had mine too !! it was very painful for me !! since we never thoght that he couldhad that pancreatic ilnness !! my persia ! his named was so lovable ! that i did not realize 10 years had passed !! then suddenly he got sick ! and just afer 4 days he left us unexpectedly !! still my heart aches whenever i remember him !and i kept on thinking what i had given him some foosds that occurs sickness ! then i remember i used to eat cheese and eused to give him too !! then so sudden he how much he loved cheese he stopped eating it. but i have 4 doggies and the same i treat them all the same !!but h was sick after and vomiting !! which i never thought from the cheese or whatever treats i give !! i feel guilt yet i cnat say from the foods i give or what !! he passed away now for one year and my heart is broken till now !! i can never forget him ! a very unique and lovable pups !!

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  8. Kelly
    December 5, 2013 | 4:11 am

    My Baby Girl Esha Passed Away After A Ten Day Battle With This. She Was 11. The Symptoms Came On Fast And Although We Did Everything They Vet Said And I Didn’t Leave Her Side For A Minute Those Ten Days, She Easiest Not Strong Enough. We Fed Her Jam After Christmas…..I’ll Never Forgive Myself. Please Don’t Feed Your Pups People Food…..EspeciallY Ham. I’d Give Anything To Have My Best Friend Back. Im So Sorry, Esha. I Love you.

  9. Nancy Gagnon
    November 29, 2013 | 9:51 am

    While pancreatitis does present all of these symptoms other things can be diagnosed as this when it is not. My dog was diagnosed with reoccurring pancreatitis but when taken to a specialist it turned out to be inflamitory bowel disease. Now with meds and special food he has been fine and no “attacks” for two years.

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  11. Patti McDoggy
    November 27, 2013 | 7:21 pm

    The only food he has access to is whatever I feed him. I was giving him a bit of whatever I was eating but recently cut down drastically or not at all, due to what I’ve read. He is fed Merrick before grain and organic treats only in the morning. He doesn’t get too much. I have 3 and they al eat differently. He seems to graze and likes plenty of water. He will let me know when the water bowl is empty!!

  12. Patti McDoggy
    November 27, 2013 | 7:17 pm

    every once n awhile my 2.6 yr old male Dachshund cries out when I lift him. I realized when I was lifting him, my right hand is beneath his left side just the rib area. Can you tell me what organ is located there?

  13. Susan
    November 27, 2013 | 6:26 pm

    My daughter’s 2 year old mixed breed (boxer/pit) one day developed severe vomiting, eating grass, vomit some more, wouldn’t drink or eat anything. The next morning after having IV fluids, x rays and blood work- pancreatitis !! We spoon fed her “Fruitables” Pumpkin/or Sweet Potato canned food – 6 times a day, along with her medications. She now only eats Purina EN dry & canned food (vet prescribed) This whole adventure was less than 24 hours !!! I have “Fruitables” stocked in the pantry & won’t ever go without it. If your pet store doesn’t carry it, they can order it for you. Highly recommend. Also, after a call to Purina, they told me the EN food takes up to 8 hours to fully digest
    (most food is 3-4 hours) so the enzymes have something to work on other than the pancreas.

    • Deb
      May 16, 2014 | 3:14 pm

      That’s good to know about the digestion rate of Purina EN. We give our little dog that also after our vet diagnosed her with chronic pancreatitis last summer. She still has attacks once in awhile, but nothing like she did before.

  14. susan
    November 27, 2013 | 1:22 pm

    so sorry Lisa.

  15. Lisa
    November 27, 2013 | 11:15 am

    My 8 yr old clumber spaniel died of pancreatitis a year ago. Her symptoms came on very quickly and she deteriorated. She was hospitalized and on the 3rd day became diabetic, insulin was started and she still declined. She died 24 hours later. She had a healthy diet, fed only holistic food so it must have been in her lineage.

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