If your dog is lethargic or throwing up, it can be scary. Although many conditions will pass, some — including pancreatitis — are more serious and require attention from a veterinary clinic. The pancreas is an essential organ for digestion, absorption of nutrients, and production of insulin to regulate blood sugar. Pancreatitis is when the organ becomes inflamed. The enzymes made for digestion remain in the pancreas, and the organ starts digesting itself. This leads to pain, swelling, and inflammation — if left untreated, the condition can be fatal. Here is what you need to know about pancreatitis so you take action if your furry friend starts showing any symptoms.
Causes & Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Veterinary clinics often see more cases of pancreatitis in dogs around the holidays because of the rich, fatty, and non-digestible table food that they “enjoy” during family celebrations. Other causes of the condition include endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism, certain medications, and obesity. Dogs with diabetes are also more prone to pancreatitis.
Possible symptoms of pancreatitis include a swollen and painful abdomen; unusual or repetitive arching of the back; restlessness or pacing; continual gagging; and diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to take them to a veterinary clinic immediately. They will perform a blood test and possibly an ultrasound to pinpoint the cause and administer treatment.
Treatment & Prevention of Pancreatitis
The vet will provide an individualized plan for your pet. Common treatments include IV fluids, medication to control vomiting, antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present, and nutritional supplements. Your pet will most likely be hospitalized at the veterinary clinic for observation, and severe cases may require intensive care.
The best way to prevent pancreatitis is to feed your dog a healthy, low-fat diet and maintain an optimal weight. Avoid slipping them table scraps and keep garbage out of reach. Older or overweight dogs and certain breeds, such as Schnauzers, miniature poodles, and cocker spaniels, are more susceptible to the condition, so practice extra caution in these cases.
Be vigilant in enforcing your pet’s diet and medication regimen, and monitor symptoms such as lethargy or restlessness. If symptoms persist, notify the vet immediately. Caught early, pancreatitis is curable with aggressive treatment. Chronic or severe, untreated episodes can lead to permanent damage of the pancreas, which must be treated with special food and supplemental enzymes.
If you need emergency care for your dog, turn to Parker Animal Clinic, in Clarksville, AR. The veterinary clinic provides full-service care to small and large animals, exotic pets, and reptiles. In addition to emergency services, they offer wellness and preventive care, parasite control, spay and neuter services, and vaccinations. Parker Animal Clinic also offers the Johnson County community an online store with discounted prices on food and medicine. If you have questions about your pet’s health or to schedule an appointment, call (479) 754-5656.