Archive for the ‘Pancreatitis’ Category

Pancreatitis in dogs

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

So, what exactly is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas has two main functions.

Its first is to produce enzymes that help the dog digest its food.

Its other function is to produce insulin, which regulates the blood sugar level.

Pancreatitis is simply an inflammation of the pancreas organ.

There are two types of pancreatitis in dogs; acute ( sharp and severe in effect) or chronic (recurring frequently) .

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are milder and are often mistaken for other illnesses.

While chronic pancreatitis is the milder form of the two, it’s a continuing inflammatory disease that’s often accompanied by degenerative, irreversible damage.

On the other hand acute pancreatitis is usually more severe, but when it’s over, there’s no remaining damage to organs.

There’s another very severe form of this condition called ‘necrotizing pancreatitis’, in which the damage is so severe that portions of the pancreas are actually destroyed. This has been referred to ¬†as ‘hemorrhagic pancreatitis’. Early intervention is imperative to save the dogs life.

Causes of Pancreatitis in Dogs

In a large number of cases, the cause of pancreatitis in dogs  remains unclear.

There are however factors common to the problem and it is generally diet that is the main issue.

In today’s world of highly processed dog foods and cat foods, sugar beet pulp is often included to allow manufacturers to add high levels of unnecessary fat in the diet - this makes the food more tasty.

The fat however is not required and slows the digestive system to the point where it becomes very sluggish for the dog.

Dogs with diets high in fat, and dogs who have recently gotten into the trash or have been fed greasy table scraps, seem to have a higher incidence of the disease.

A single high fat meal can cause pancreatitis in a dog whose normal diet is moderate or low in fat.

Other factors which may contribute to pancreatitis in dogs are:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Trauma
  • Obesity
  • Long term use of steroids
  • High Cholesterol
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

The above list is not exhaustive.