SlimDoggy Health Check: Pancreatitis Part 1

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Jack has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis. Never a dull moment around the SlimDoggy household. We’ve never had a dog with pancreatitis before, we’ve only dealt with Jack’s IBS which is actually pretty mild, so this is all new to us.
 
It started Sunday night about 8pm – Jack got up from where he was sleeping in front of the fire, walked to the sunroom and quietly vomited his dinner…all of it. I could see it was mostly undigested food, a couple of pieces from the Zuke’s bone he had after dinner and lots of mucous. I cleaned it up and he seemed fine. The next morning, he was fine, so we chalked it up to something he ate on Sunday and fed him normally. He was fine all day – maybe a little sleepier than usual, but he’s an old man, he has days when he’s just more tired. He had a regular dinner and then 2 hours later he vomited again – everything in his stomach, morning and evening meals. I knew something wasn’t right.
 

Jack sleeping off his morning at the vet

Jack sleeping off his morning at the vet

 
Later that evening, he drank some water and proceeded to bring it right back up.
 
I knew we were off to the vet in the morning. He slept fine through the night and for breakfast I gave him a small serving of plain rice mixed with about a tablespoon of his canned salmon. He kept it down.
 
The vet listened to our story and then took Jack back for xrays and blood work. He came back shortly to show me the xrays stating that there was an area that looked ‘thickened’ and displaced??? (What does that mean?) He showed it to me on the xrays, but all I saw was a white space. He wanted to take another view to see if he could tell whether it was the angle of the stomach, but it was not definitive. What was definitive was his Snap CPL, a special serum panel for diagnosing Pancreatitis. It was positive.
 
The Snap CPL is a fairly new test for diagnosing pancreatitis. It measures the canine lipase levels that are specific to the pancreas. Why does that matter? Pancreatitis was fairly difficult to diagnose previously as symptoms of vomiting, anorexia and diarrhea could be many things. Xrays weren’t definitive and previous blood panels looking at the serum amylase and serum lipase enzyme levels were not definitive as they could be impacted by other forces besides pancreatitis. The Snap CPL and Spec CPL tests measure only the Pancreas-specific lipase, so it isolates the enzymes related to the pancreas alone and is therefore a more reliable tool for diagnosing pancreatitis.
 

What is Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is an organ that provides the enzymes that allow for the digestion of food. It also helps regulate blood sugar and glucose metabolism. When pancreatitis occurs, the pancreas becomes inflamed and these digestive enzymes, normally inactive until releasing in the small intestine, activate within the pancreas and may even spill out into the abdominal cavity, literally eating away at the surrounding tissue. Sounds like a horror movie doesn’t it – no wonder Jack is feeling poorly.
 
Jack was offered a room at the hospital so they could give him IV fluids and monitor him overnight. The vet also said we could take him home and watch him carefully if we preferred. I opted for the home care. I could hear Jack barking from the back room and I knew staying at the vets would only create stress for him. Stress that I’m sure his intestinal systems didn’t need.
 
They gave Jack a dose a fluids, a shot of Famotidine (Pepcid), some anti-nausea medication to take for the next few days and sent him home with strict diet restrictions. Rice and cottage cheese (since he can’t tolerate chicken). I got some ground turkey (a cooling protein) for tomorrow if he keeps his dinner down tonight.
 
We will look at treatment and prevention of Pancreatitis in more depth in Part 2.
 
Additional Readings:

Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity in Dogs
Pancreatitis in Dogs
Proven Greater Sensitivity for Canine Pancreatitis
Acute Pancreatitis in Dog
http://vetspecialistsofrochester.com/pdf/Internal-Medicine/Pancreatitis.pdf

 

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21 Comments

  1. Oh Jack. We feel so bad for you. We know nothing about this disease, but I sure hope there is a cure or treatment for it so you can eat. Your family is sure going through a lot right now. Paws crossed for you.
    Emma recently posted…Salivating For Venison Lung BitesMy Profile

  2. Jack we cross our paws for you…. and for your Maggie… I hope so much that your vet can help you and there is a med and a treatment what helps you to feel better.
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog SHOP TILL YOU DROPMy Profile

  3. When it rains, it pours. Hope Jack is comfy and feeling better.

  4. I have heard of pancreatitis many times; thanks for the post. This is something I worry about for Rodrigo. We had one night where he had a similar experience, but it was due to a supplement with shark cartilage.

    Hope Jack is doing well today. Looking forward to learning about treatment.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Where Can I Buy Green Beef Tripe for My Dog?My Profile

  5. My thoughts and prayers are for both you and Jack…

  6. I am so sorry to read this news. I hope the vet can help so that you can manage the symptoms. Give Jack an extra belly rub from us. ♥
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Let’s #MixItUp with Instinct Raw Boost MixersMy Profile

  7. I have heard of many dogs that have had this but didn’t really know a lot about it. We sure hope Jack is feeling better soon, and appreciate you sharing what you are learning.
    Jan K recently posted…My Heart, My Heroes #MyPetisMyHeroMy Profile

  8. Oh Jack you poor thing. Pancreatitis isn’t fun. I hope you get over your bought real soon and don’t get it back.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Who’s Toe’sMy Profile

  9. Sweet Jack, we hope you are feeling better soon. You are in good hands with your loving parents and I am sure you will be playing in no time.
    Julie recently posted…Trail runningMy Profile

  10. Oh man… Our Angel K had chronic pancreatitis after an acute bout early in life. We had a veterinary nutritionist from Tufts make up her diet for the rest of her life. By being super strict about her eating only her own food and treats (no one else could give her treats!), we managed it for the rest of her life with really only one big flare-up later in life.

    I hope that you can do the same for Jack! If anyone can make informed dietary decisions and stick with them, it’s you!
    KB recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Everyday BeautyMy Profile

  11. Stress is definitely not good for Pancreatitis. Storm was diagnosed with it some years back. Too many high fat treats at a dog show (which was can be a stressful place). We watch her diet and she has been fine since. Hope Jack will be better soon.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…More From The Dog Show – Barks And BytesMy Profile

  12. Poor Jack, I hope his pancreatitis will go away soon with the right kind of treatment. Your pups sure are keeping you busy.

  13. Thank you for this information. Sending love and bright white light to you and your babies.

  14. I remember when my dog Copper had that. I know it was around the holidays and the vet seemed very reluctant to believe that I hadn’t given him anything he shouldn’t have had. It perturbed me quite a bit because Copper always had a sensitive stomach and I was VERY careful not to feed him anything other than his dog food and specific treats that he tolerated well. It’s possible someone threw something over the fence and he got it or it happened “just because”. At any rate – I remember him being really miserable and the vet recommending absolutely no food and only water for a few days. Because of my anger at the accusation that I fed him something he shouldn’t have had, I was feeling petulant enough to try and get something into Copper’s stomach since he was refusing water too so I bought some of that liquid food for puppies for him. As you can imagine – I totally screwed up in making that decision. Copper vomited up all of it and I confessed to my vet what I had done and he wasn’t too happy but asked that I not give him that again. My face was red. Thankfully, Copper recovered fairly quickly after that and I learned not to be a butthead and try to play vet when I am clearly not qualified.

    I hope Jack recovers soon. It’s awful when they are sick – you want to do something but sometimes, you just have to follow the vet instructions and wait it out.
    Blueberry’s human recently posted…Heart Messages from the BlueberryMy Profile

    • Oh dear – poor Cooper. Jack has been eating plain rice with cottage cheese and some lean ground turkey – so far so good. We are also really careful about what Jack eats – he gets table scarps, but only on occasion and only 1 bite, so I don’t think it’s necessarily fatty foods. ALthough he has been eating a lot of salmon lately as part of his diet and I think it might be too fatty for him.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Health Check: Pancreatitis Part 1My Profile

  15. Poor Jack. No wonder he’s feeling bad.

    I’m curious to see if you can figure out what caused this. I guess salmon is pretty rich–perhaps as dogs age (like people), they can’t handle everything they’ve always enjoyed eating.

    Hope he’s on the mend.
    Pamela recently posted…How Does Your Dog Know When You’re Coming Home?My Profile

  16. Hope Jack is feeling better and more like himself. Our thoughts are with you. ღ

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