LIFE THREATENING PANCREATITIS
Linda (and Bailey)
researched and compiled the following information.
dogs is life threatening. Dogs that get Pancreatitis can die
unless emergency vet care is started immediately when you see symptoms.
We want you to be fully aware of what you can do to avoid Pancreatitis.
CLINICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
Typical symptoms include, but are not limited to:
· loss of appetite or not
· abdominal pain
· The dog, due to abdominal
pain, may act restless, pant, cry, shake, stand with an
or lie down with his/her front end down and hind-quarters elevated.
Additional symptoms include:
· severe weakness or
· dehydration or shock.
Risk factors for developing pancreatitis include a dog being overweight or
obese, elevated fats (lipids) in the blood, recent eating of a high fat
and other diseases. Also, some medications are believed to predispose to
pancreatitis. These medications can include corticosteroids, Phenobarbital
and Potassium or Sodium Bromide.
A diagnosis of pancreatitis is based on several factors. First, your Vet will
want to take your dog’s history and do a physical examination.
Procedures for diagnosing pancreatitis commonly include blood work (such as
a Complete Blood Count or “CBC”), serum chemistry to measure elevations in
the pancreatic enzymes (amylase and lipase), and a urinalysis. X-rays
or ultrasound of the abdomen may also be done to check the dog’s
internal organs, as well as to check the pancreas for inflammation,
abscesses, tumors or other disorders.
Diagnostic blood tests a Vet may conduct include a “cPL test”, which is a
specific test for diagnosis of pancreatitis. Other tests used include a
trypsin-like-immunoreactivity assay (TLI assay), and an ELISA test for
trypsinogen activation peptide (also known as a “TAP” test). A TAP
test is done to evaluate the levels of trypsin in the blood. These
blood tests apply more specifically to pancreatic function than tests for
amylase and lipase.
Pancreatitis treatment usually requires hospitalization at the Vet's office or
animal hospital for 3-4 days or more. While in the animal hospital, fluids
and nutrients are given intravenously (also known as an “I.V.”)
In order to give the pancreas time to “rest” and heal, food, water and
oral medications are not given during this time. In addition, pain
medications and antibiotics may be given as well.
Additionally, W. Jean Dodds, DVM, provides the following information regarding
blood transfusions in treatment of pancreatitis:
“Pancreatitis can be helped to ‘cool down’ with transfusion of
fresh-frozen plasma (3-5 cc per pound given once or twice daily). A
Vet should consider giving plasma as often as is needed to neutralize the
excessive trypsin released by the inflamed pancreas. They can even put the
plasma directly into the peritoneal cavity to "bathe" the inflamed
area to effectively neutralize any trypsin enzyme that has leaked out of the
damaged pancreas and is "autodigesting" the tissues it contacts. If
this blood product is not readily available where you are, please call my staff
at Hemopet and say it's an emergency need. Fresh-frozen plasma contains alpha-1
anti-trypsin to neutralize the trypsin produced and released by the pancreas,
but in the case of pancreatitis, it is released into the surrounding abdominal
tissues causing them to be autodigested.”
WHAT IS PANCREATITIS?
In simple terms, pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, a gland that
produces enzymes that help digest food. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it
produces too much of the digestion enzymes. These “extra” enzymes then
damage or destroy the pancreas, intestines and other organs.
Description of Pancreatitis for Vets: Pancreatitis is an inflammation of
the pancreas, a gland that produces enzymes that break down proteins to
help with the digestion of food. However, if these enzymes become activated
inside the pancreas or leek out of the pancreas into the abdomen, they
inflame and digest the pancreas and/or other surrounding tissues, and
pancreatitis (or more serious digestion of the bowel) will develop
Pancreatitis is a very serious disease that can be life threatening and it
requires immediate treatment. If you suspect that your dog may have
pancreatitis, immediately take him/her to your Vet or take your pup to your
local ER Vet for evaluation.
POST PANCREATITIS CARE AND DIET:
Your Vet will provide instructions regarding medications and a feeding schedule
for your pup after an episode of pancreatitis. Be aware that a dog
recovering from an episode of pancreatitis should be fed a food that
contains no more than 10% fat.
Regarding diet for a dog post-pancreatitis, Dr. W. Jean Dodds states that
"the liver cleansing diet would be best -- even long term. http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/liver_diet.htm
For those who cannot cook easily for their dogs, select a diet with not more
than 10% fat. Fish and potatoes, fish and rice, chicken and rice, or even
vegetarian kibbles are generally OK. If they only feed canned foods, which
are too soft and mostly water, there will likely be a tartar build up problem.
There are vegetarian baked dog biscuits, and people can just moisten and season
their dog's kibble and bake it into biscuits -- many of our clients do
that, if the company that makes the kibble doesn't have a comparable biscuit."
Dogs that have had an episode of pancreatitis should NEVER be given high fat
treats such as rawhides, pig’s ears, pigars and other similar items. In
addition, dogs that have suffered a bout of pancreatitis should not be given
coconut oil or any other types of supplemental oils or fats.
Finally, your dog’s Anti-Epileptic medications may need to be changed after an
episode of pancreatitis. Dr. Dodds explains “Because of the previous
pancreatitis, the risk is much higher that bromide rather than
Phenobarbital or other anticonvulsants would trigger another pancreatitis
attack.” Dr. Dodds also stated "Keppra would be a good
alternative to Bromide."
Pancreatitis is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. Dogs with
a mild case have a better prognosis than those who have a more severe case.
If you suspect that your pup may have pancreatitis, take your pup to your Vet or
call your local ER Vet as soon as possible for guidance and evaluation.
Except where noted, primary information was obtained from Carol D.
Levin’s book, “Dogs, Diet, and Disease: An Owner’s Guide to Diabetes
Mellitus, Pancreatitis, Cushing’s Disease, & More“ and www.vetcentric.com.
Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM, reviewed and also contributed to content.
This file post has been reviewed and updated 5/5/2009