So, what is Pancreatitis?
It is a disease where the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is responsible for releasing enzymes that help digestion. When the pancreas is working normally, the enzymes will activate only when they reach the small intestine. When it is inflamed, however, the enzymes will activate prematurely which causes damage to the pancreas and its surrounding tissue and other organs. The cause of pancreatitis is not known but there are many possible causes and contributing factors. From my personal experience, it has always been related to his diet (too many doggy treats, rich/fatty food and eating something he shouldn’t have).
When Diesel had his first bout of Pancreatitis the following symptoms occurred:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Hunched back
- Loss of Appetite
I was very concerned and took him straight to the vet. The vet discussed how these are common signs of pancreatitis and to properly diagnose it, laboratory tests and a possible radiograph/ultrasound needed to be done. Diagnosing pancreatitis can be quite tricky as every dog is different and some will elude any detection of the disease with any of these tests. Blood results from a dog suffering pancreatitis will usually show an elevated white blood cell count however that could be caused by many other things. The elevation of pancreatic enzymes in the blood is usually the most helpful criteria in the diagnosis.
From Diesel's symptoms and blood results, the vet diagnosed him with mild pancreatitis and he spent the next few days in hospital on IV fluids to keep him hydrated, anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pancreatic inflammation, pain relief and a low-fat diet.
After a small hospital stay, Diesel was back to his bright and happy self and was ready to come home. He had a huge diet change and has ever since been eating Hills I/D low fat dry biscuits along with boiled white rice with pumpkin, vegetables, and chicken. I am now very strict with the amount of treats he is fed and how often he eats them.
Changing to a low-fat diet has done wonders for Diesel and has kept his Pancreatitis under control except at times when I have fallen for his guilt trips and given him one too many treats or when he has sneakily eaten something he shouldn’t have.
It is always good to learn the warning signs of a possible flare-up of Pancreatitis so you can take the necessary steps to try to prevent it from worsening and make a trip to the vet to get the appropriate treatment.