Pancreatitis in dogs is an extremely dangerous disease, can affect all breeds at any age, and is still somewhat of a mystery to the medical community.
The reason for this is that while the damages it can do to your dog is fully understood; the exact cause of this very dangerous disease is still very poorly understood.
It can attack your dog in two different forms or types; acute as well as chronic.
It can also be quite mild in your dog, or it can be so severe that it causes several life threatening other diseases or syndromes that can easily take your dog’s life.
If this disease becomes chronic, your dog has very slim chances of surviving this beast.
Pancreatitis in dogs is an inflammation of the pancreas.
The best way to describe this disease is the activation of pancreatic enzymes that can literally cause your dog’s pancreas to start to digest itself.
The pancreas in your dog is a V-shaped organ and it is located between your dog’s duodenum, which is their first portion of their small intestine, and their stomach.
It has two major job functions; metabolizing sugar and digesting nutrients.
It helps in the metabolism of sugar in your dog’s body through the production of insulin.
It also assists with the digestion of nutrients by the production of pancreatic enzymes.
These enzymes are very powerful as they help your dog’s body with both digestion as well as absorption of any type of nutrient form the food that they eat.
If something malfunctions, it can cause what is referred to as acute or sudden pancreatitis in dogs, but it can also become a chronic condition.
If it becomes chronic, it can very easily lead to diabetes mellitus, as well as another extremely dangerous condition referred to as pancreatic insufficiency or maldigestion syndrome.
This syndrome is a situation where your dog is eating but they are literally starving to death.
Once this syndrome develops, the nutrients that are in the food that your dog eats do not absorb and they are very quickly passed through their system in their feces totally undigested.
Once this starts to occur, your dog’s appetite will absolutely explode and they will eat virtually anything as if they are starving to death for a very good reason; they are.
This condition still has no known actual cause and is still considered a mystery; however, there are several theories.
The major theory is that there are multiple factors that contribute and the first starts with genetics.
Although this disease can affect all breeds, it does seem to attack two breeds more frequently; Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers.
Obese as well as dogs that are overweight also seem to be at a much higher degree of risk, as well as dogs that take certain medications.
It is believed that potassium bromide, anti-cancer drugs, as well as some antibiotics can cause pancreatitis in dogs, but this is still yet to be documented.
It is also held in the medical community that there are two metabolic disorders that may also trigger Pancreatitis.
They include hyperlipidemia, which is high amounts of lipid in the blood, as well as hypercalcemia, which are high amounts of calcium in the blood.
There are also theories that hormonal diseases such as Cushings disease as well as hypothyroidism can also cause the pancreas to malfunction.
However, the list of potential causes and theories is still not complete.
There is also a speculation that if your dog’s diet is high in fat, it can also trigger Pancreatitis in dogs.
If you allow your dog to eat a lot of table scraps, get into the trash, or eat any type of greasy food at all, you may be setting the table so to speak for this very dangerous condition.
It is also widely held that once your dog has developed Pancreatitis, even if it subsides, they can very easily get it again.
Pancreatitis in dogs, in addition to no known actual cause also has a major challenge; the symptoms simulate many other diseases as well as range in degrees of severity.
The symptoms can be very mild or they can be very severe, and will generally start with either abdominal pain or abdominal distension.
Either one of these symptoms can easily lead to the next which will be a hunched like position by your dog because of the abdominal pain, especially if it is severe enough.
Dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be early warning signs.
However, if this disease progresses in severity, you will see an entire new set of symptoms and they are not only much more serious, they can literally be life threatening.
The first of these symptoms are heart arrhythmias which not only affects your dog’s heart, it can also affect their ability to breathe.
Sepsis can also develop, which is a very dangerous body wide infection, as well as a condition referred to as DIC.
DIC is also known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, and can very easily develop into multiple hemorrhages as the result of Pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis in dogs will all depend on the severity, and if it severe enough, the only treatment may be supportive.
The major goals of treatment will include five different factors; control the dehydration and vomiting, as well as provide pain relief, nutritional support, and prevent any further complications.
In treating Pancreatitis in dogs it is extremely important to remember that if it severe enough, your dog’s pancreas is actually digesting itself.
Because of this it will be very important to restore their electrolyte imbalance.
This will include supplemental fluids that are given intravenously in severe cases, as well as treating the pain that your dog is suffering from.
Stopping the vomiting as well as the diarrhea is also very important, and in most cases your dog will be taken off of all food and water for 24 hours to let their system settle down.
If this is successful, your dog is than placed on a very bland diet.
This diet is very easy for them to digest, very high in carbohydrates, and very low in fat content, and will be given in very small amounts until they are stabilized.
The overall prognosis of Pancreatitis in dogs will all depend on the severity, as this is an extremely unpredictable disease.
If your dog has only had one episode of the disease, they have a very good chance of full recovery. If it becomes chronic, the chances of your dog surviving it diminish very rapidly.
Pancreatitis in dogs is a life threatening condition if it is severe enough or if it becomes chronic, as it can very easily lead to several other very serious diseases.
The key with this potential killer is to monitor your dog’s diet, do not feed them fat or greasy table scraps, and very closely watch their weight.
Although the exact cause is still not fully understood, preventing potential causes may prevent it from even occurring.
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