What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas is a digestive organ, located next to the stomach. It is responsible for production of insulin to control blood glucose levels, but it also produces hormones respo
nsible for digestion of fats and proteins.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It is usually caused by a high fat meal. Foods such as marrow bones, Christmas ham and crackling, cat food, bacon and sausages are common meals to cause pancreatitis. Some dogs are more susceptible to pancreatitis than others, and depending on the individual’s ability to process fat. Dogs that have had pancreatitis previously are more likely to have a repeat bout.
What are symptoms of pancreatitis?
The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are vomiting, lethargy or inappetence. Occasionally diarrhoea may occur. Pancreatitis is quite painful and most affected animals are quite miserable. Symptoms can resemble non-specific gastrointestinal disease.
What do I do if I suspect my dog has pancreatitis?
Animals suspected of having pancreatitis must be seen by a vet. Severity of disease can vary from mild, to life threatening, and aggressive treatment may be needed. Your vet will diagnose pancreatitis based on clinical exam and blood testing results. Depending on how sick you dog is he may be treated at home or may need to be admitted to hospital for intensive care.
How do I avoid pancreatitis?
Avoiding feeding table scraps, cat food, marrow bones and high fat treats in susceptible dogs can help avoid pancreatitis. With Christmas coming it is particularly important to consider avoiding feeding dogs sausages, bacon, Christmas ham, pork crackling, fat trimmed from steak, chops or other meat cuts. Christmas time often sees an increase in pancreatitis cases as a result of the high fat foods we often eat at this time of year. Although we all love to share a treat with our pets, it is important to remember that dogs are less able to process fat than humans, and we must be careful with the treats we give them to avoid causing distressing illness in our pets at this time of year.