Pan­cre­ati­tis in dogs – how treats can be trou­ble

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Alis­tair Chatto VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

THE pan­creas is an or­gan in the ab­domen which has var­i­ous func­tions. It is im­por­tant in se­cret­ing hor­mones such as in­sulin to reg­u­late blood glu­cose, as well as di­ges­tive en­zymes to as­sist with break­ing down food in the in­testines. Acute pan­cre­ati­tis is where the pan­creas be­comes in­flamed and dam­aged. This oc­curs be­cause the di­ges­tive en­zymes, nor­mally re­leased by the pan­creas to di­gest food, ac­tu­ally be­gin to di­gest the pan­creas it­self! These en­zymes can also be very dam­ag­ing to sur­round­ing tis­sues. Fur­ther­more, tox­ins may be re­leased which cause widerang­ing ef­fects to other body sys­tems and can lead to fur­ther dis­ease such as di­a­betes or even death. It can some­times be dif­fi­cult to iden­tify the ini­tial cause of pan­cre­ati­tis, how­ever there are some com­mon con­tribut­ing fac­tors. Pan­cre­ati­tis is of­ten trig­gered when the dog has in­gested a meal or treats which are high in fat con­tent. Ex­am­ples include mar­row bones or left-over’s from a roast or baar­be­cue. Other pre­dis­pos­ing fac­tors include obe­sity or other con­cur­rent hor­monal im­bal­ances. The symp­toms of acute pan­cre­ati­tis can include a com­bi­na­tion of ap­petite loss, de­pres­sion, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea, a painful ab­domen or fever. Di­ag­no­sis is achieved through tak­ing a thor­ough his­tory, per­form­ing a phys­i­cal exam, run­ning in house blood tests and us­ing ul­tra­sonog­ra­phy. Once acute pan­cre­ati­tis has been di­ag­nosed, the dog is very likely to re­quire hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion to un­dergo treat­ment. This in­cludes fluid ther­apy, pain re­lief and anti-nau­sea med­i­ca­tion to re­verse de­hy­dra­tion and get the dog eat­ing again. Once the dog is well enough to go home, they are re­quired to be on a low-fat diet un­til the pan­creas makes a full re­cov­ery. In some cases, dogs may re­quire more per­ma­nent changes to their diet to re­duce the chance of fur­ther pan­cre­ati­tis episodes.

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