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Monday, February 2, 2015

Pancreatitis - By: Dr. Julie Cull

During this season, not only have we been snacking on extra treats, but our furry friends have as well. Pets that receive an unbalanced diet can lead to many health issues. One of these painful issues is Pancreatitis or inflammation of the Pancreas. This is a very painful occurrence that requires treatment immediately.  Causes of this diagnosis is not always known but there are several ways of treating Pancreatitis.
The pancreas is the organ next to the stomach that produces enzymes needed for digestion of food in the intestines.  Therefore, when the pancreas is inflamed, it has trouble producing the enzymes that help with digestion. Pancreatitis can be very painful, and dogs can become lethargic, stop eating, begin vomiting, have diarrhea and or show signs of abdominal pain.  However, when pets present for vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy there is a long list of possible causes that your veterinarian will try to rule out.  An easy blood sample and in house test can be taken to diagnose Pancreatitis.
The cause of Pancreatitis is often unknown.  It can be caused by eating a high fat meal or treat, some medications and for some dogs the cause remains unknown.  Treatment consists of supportive care for your pet.  Dogs that present with vomiting, diarrhea or in pain will often need to be hospitalized and placed on intravenous fluids to help correct any dehydration. Pain medications are often given to pets experiencing a bout of pancreatitis. Sometimes antibiotics will be given if it is suspected that a pet may also have an infection in the intestinal tract.  Lastly, stomach protecting medications are given to reduce the buildup of acid in the stomach and help prevent stomach ulcers.
Pancreatitis can be life threatening in some patients so hospitalization and intensive monitoring will be required for several days.  In many pets that experience pancreatitis, they can be prone to experience future bouts of pancreatitis.  Early recognition of signs is important as it can help to decrease the amount of time a pet will need to spend in the hospital. If you have questions about Pancreatitis, or think your pet is showing symptoms please call, AV Veterinary Center (661)729-1500, All Creatures Veterinary Center (661)291-1121 or Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital (661) 424-9900.