Signs of Pancreatitis in Dogs

One mistake that the majority of dog owners make is thinking that when your dog cannot eat and is throwing up, that is a passing thing. Most of the time it is but other times there could be an underlying issue that can be life-threatening. If it is pancreatitis, then your dog needs treatment and good care.

Signs of pancreatitis in dogs- pancreatitis is a condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a very useful organ in all animals. It is found near the stomach and aids in digesting food and controlling blood sugar. This condition can come and pass but other instances it may come and stay for longer.

I have to admit that Pancreatitis is a condition that dog owners should be informed about before it strikes. Most of the signs and symptoms are not always obvious at once. For this reason, symptoms may be mistaken for something less serious. Signs of pancreatitis in dogs is caused by diet high in fat.

The scientific definition of pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas but you have to know that it is a very serious condition and hence there is something more to it than that. It often progresses rapidly in dogs, however, it can be treated without causing any permanent damage to the organ.

Signs of pancreatitis in dogs. Inflammation of the pancreas can lead to abnormal secretion of the digestive enzymes. If these digestive enzymes have nothing to digest, they can progress and start digesting the lining of some of the most useful parts of the digestive system. They can start digesting the intestinal lining, nearby organs such as the liver and the kidney. They can as well start digesting the pancreas itself. If any of the organs or part of the digestive system is digested, the dog is likely to go through severe pain. It causes inflammation, vomiting, and diarrhea. For this reason, if the condition is not dealt with early enough, it is likely to cause severe organ and even brain damage.

Pancreatitis in dogs

Types of Pancreatitis – Signs of Pancreatitis in Dogs

There are two instances of pancreatitis in dogs cause but both of them need swift medical care. The first one is Chronic which means recurring and acute and therefore sudden. The Chronic pancreatitis is defined as a continuous or a progressive inflammation of the pancreas which is usually characterized with permanent damage of the pancreatic structure. This can lead to irreversible organ damage or impairment of the pancreatic exocrine and endocrine function. Acute pancreatitis happens at once and is more often severe. However, both of them can be mild or severe.

Symptoms of acute pancreatitis

Signs of pancreatitis in dogs

Those dogs with chronic pancreatitis have multiple attacks of acute pancreatitis. In most of the cases, the symptoms can be unnoticeable but since the condition is severe, the long term effects may be more serious. Some of the acute pancreatitis symptoms include;

Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis

A dog with chronic pancreatitis is likely to experience more serious symptoms as listed below;

Other Symptoms

Apart from the symptoms that I have discussed above for chronic and acute pancreatitis, the dog is likely to develop any of the below symptoms whether they have acute or chronic pancreatitis. They are likely to avoid eating and drinking especially because of the associated pain. You have to observe your dog closely and when any of the signs especially the abdominal pain accompany vomiting, Pancreatitis in dogs cause any of the below symptoms

Other signs of pancreatitis in dogs you may see are:

Upset stomach: You may be hearing some sounds in the stomach especially when the food is being digested. This can be a result of many problems and pancreatitis is one of them.

Swollen abdomen: Abdominal tenderness or pain- You may notice the dog is experiencing some pain. The dog may be walking tenderly or with a hunched posture. The dog may as well sit in a praying posture or hesitant to stand up and walk.

Diarrhea: This is a common symptom in a wide variety of the diseases and infections but if diarrhea accompanies abdominal pain, there’s something to worry about.

Fever: This is not a very common symptom in dogs with acute pancreatitis but the reality of the matter is that it happens in some of them.




What causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?

There is no proven cause of pancreatitis in dogs and hence what causes pancreatitis is highly debatable in veterinary medicine. However, there are many suggested causes of pancreatitis in dogs.

High Fat

One cause that is highly debated and believed to be the cause of pancreatitis in dogs is High-fat diets. Though, there is unsatisfactory evidence supporting this claim. One thing that people don’t know is that even if your dog consumed up to 60 percent fat but remained active, it is less likely to develop pancreatitis. However, high fat intakes may cause trouble to overweight middle-aged dogs and most especially those that are very inactive. The worst mistake that you can do to your dog is introducing high fat meals all at once. This can cause pancreatitis. This is a condition that can happen to dogs of all age and sex. However, there are some breeds that have increased risk of developing pancreatitis including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxer and Collies. They have shown high risk of developing chronic pancreatitis while Cocker Spaniels has an increased risks of developing acute and chronic pancreatitis combined.

The other thing that you should bear in mind is that dogs that get into garbage are much likely to develop pancreatitis. This means that you should at all costs watch your dog and keep trash out of your dog’s reach.

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis in dogs can be diagnosed in several ways. The most common are the blood tests and also some clinical signs. However, in some other cases, ultrasound examinations are carried out to confirm the results

Some blood tests such as Complete Blood Count and Biochemistry Profile typically reveal abnormalities that can suggest an existence of pancreatitis. However, they don’t give a clear result and do not give a definitive diagnosis. Lately, the diagnosis of Pancreatitis was based on the discovery of high levels of two enzymes known as Serum Lipase and Serum Amylase. However, these tests have not proven reliability and hence much needs to be done.


The first step whether your dog is suffering from acute or chronic pancreatitis is to consult your vet for diagnosis and advice. The vet may as well administer some drugs to cure the problem. In some cases, the vet can administer IV fluids.

Chronic pancreatitis

As I have stated above, if your vet can be able to diagnose, and at the same time figure out what caused this condition, treating will be much easy. Signs of pancreatitis in dogs, chronic Pancreatitis has a close relationship with diets. For these reasons, it is controlled with long term diet changes, supplements, weight loss activities, and blood work monitoring.

If you are worried about the price, then you must know that the price of these special supplements, medication, tests, and foods are higher than if you just fed it the standard diets. Doing this will lower the costs of multiple hospitalizations in the future.

The vet may recommend a prescription diet. The diet should be specifically designed for dogs that are recovering from pancreatitis. I have dealt with several patients with this condition and the best cure that I would recommend for this condition is Low Fat Prescription diet. Any of the below-stated diets would help you in this case.

Hill’s Prescription Diet w/d Low Fat-Diet-Gastrointestinal Dry Dog Food and Hills Prescription diet w/d canine Low fat-Glucose management-Gastrointestinal Canned foods or even Royal Canine Gastrointestinal Low Fat dry food and Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Food.

Chronic pancreatitis
Chronic pancreatitis
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royal canin

Best Ingredients for Homemade Low Fat diet

As I had earlier stated, those dogs that access the bins are at high risk. They can access treats, tidbits and table scraps that are high in fat or even those of low quality. For this reason, it may be pancreatitis in dogs cause. To reduce signs of pancreatitis in dogs, make sure that your bins and pet food storage containers are well and truly dog proof.

Useful Supplements for Dogs with Pancreatitis

There are certain supplements that can help you reverse this condition. They can greatly help you reduce the risk of acute pancreatitis and also control the effects of chronic pancreatitis. They include:
• Omega-3 fatty acids in low amounts
• Fish body oil, such as salmon oil or EPA oil
• Vitamin E and selenium
• SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine)
• Co-enzyme Q 10
• Digestive Enzymes: These enzymes may help give the pancreases a break. This is what will make the dog’s pancreatitis flare-up easier to control
• Vitamins: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that can reduce the frequency and severity of dog pancreatitis flare-ups. The above hormones can as well help quicken the recovery process.
• Probiotics: This is to ensure that the digestive system has a balanced gut flora. However, note that probiotics are not recommended for dogs with acute pancreatitis. They aid in some gastrointestinal problems and for this reason, you should give them after the dog has fully recovered.

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Transitioning to a Normal diet

There’s no doubt that after the dog has recovered from pancreatitis, she may have problems tolerating fat in the future. This depends on how much the pancreas was damaged. There are some dogs that will have an easy time transitioning to a normal diet and others will have a hard time. After the condition is corrected, continue to feed a low-fat prescription diet for a week or 10 days. It will depend on how fast your dog will recover. You can gradually increase the size of each meal until the dog returns to normal two to three times a day.
If dog is recovering and has no signs of discomfort, you can gradually increase the amount of fat in the diet. Also, start to add small amounts of regular meals bit by bit.

You may eventually be able to transition back to somewhat higher-fat foods but you should ensure that your dog has enough exercise and remains active. Watch your dog closely especially after meals so that you can notice any sign of discomfort such as whining, panting, and restlessness or even hunched appearance. To reduce signs of pancreatitis in dogs, then return to a low-fat diet.

The bottom line

Dogs suffering from acute pancreatitis are in eminent danger and if swift treatment measures are not taken, there is potential danger. After your dog has fully recovered from this condition, ensure that you remain in a low or moderate fat diet. Watch them closely so that they don’t go to the garbage. Also give them the right supplements and vitamins

Those with chronic pancreatitis have a good prognosis for a normal life span if they are subjected to dieting, supplements and treatments.

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