SlimDoggy Health Check: Pancreatitis Part 1
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.
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.
Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity in Dogs
Pancreatitis in Dogs
Proven Greater Sensitivity for Canine Pancreatitis
Acute Pancreatitis in Dog
— SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) January 27, 2016