The pancreas is an organ found in all mammals that is responsible for producing insulin and is therefore critical in the metabolism of sugar. Moreover, the pancreas releases pancreatic enzymes that are necessary for the body to process various nutrients. Acute pancreatitis is a condition wherein the pancreas is severely inflamed leading to illness and possibly even death.
The causes of acute pancreatitis in dogs may be external or internal. For example, various medications have been known to cause the condition and certain metabolic disorders are also associated with acute pancreatitis. Infections, physical trauma, obesity, and nutrition tend to be the most common causes of acute pancreatitis in dogs.
They symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs can be quite severe and include but are not limited to the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Distended abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Oily, greasy, or loose stools
Obviously, if you notice these symptoms in your dog it is important to visit the veterinarian because acute pancreatitis can be life threatening but also because only a veterinarian can correctly diagnose your dog’s illness. Diagnosing acute pancreatitis in dogs requires close observation, a physical examination, and likely some clinical tests. Generally speaking, dogs with acute pancreatitis have an excess of amylase and lipase in their body making these an important indicator of the disease.
Treating acute pancreatitis depends on how ill your dog has become. Your veterinarian will first aim to control vomiting and diarrhea and then to get enzyme levels back to normal. In most cases, dogs with acute pancreatitis cannot eat or drink for about 24 hours after diagnosis allowing the pancreas to heal. Following this, your veterinarian will recommend a strict diet of low-fat, low-salt, and easily digestible foods.