SlimDoggy Health Check: Pancreatitis Part 2
Last week Jack got diagnosed with Pancreatitis. He’s been on anti-nausea medicine and a bland diet since then and is doing much better. We wrote about Jack and some initial information about pancreatitis and today we want to follow up with more details on the causes, treatment and prevention.
Pancreatitis is a serious ailment, even life-threatening if treatment isn’t given in a timely fashion. We weren’t able to pinpoint any specific cause of Jack’s bout. Typical causes are:
- High-fat diet
- Certain medications such as some antibiotics or cancer drugs
Jack doesn’t really fit any of those scenarios, although he does eat a diet heavy with salmon and salmon is a fatty fish, so maybe his IBS combined with too much salmon lead to the pancreatitis. Or maybe he just ate something disgusting that I don’t know about. Either way, I’m not really sure of the cause.
We’ve treated Jack conservatively. First the vet gave him an IV of fluids to counter the fluid loss from his vomiting. Then he gave him an injection of Famotidin, an anti-nausea drug. Finally, we withheld food for almost 24 hours other then a tiny bit of rice and then fed him only rice, cottage cheese and ground turkey for several days. We also gave him Cerenia, an anti-nausea medication and Pepcid to keep his stomach calm. Jack didn’t appear to be in pain, but pain killers may be appropriate to alleviate any pain your dog may have.
Pancreatitis may come as an acute attack or it may be chronic and as I said, potentially life-threatening. You should see your vet immediately for treatment. Their focus will be on stabilizing your pet and keeping their internal organs from being damaged by the pancreatic enzymes. There is no medication to neutralize these enzymes so the goal is to support your dog’s circulatory and homeostatic systems.
Now, just a week later Jack seems pretty much back to normal. He had a normal poop the last few days (always a good sign) and he’s got a bit more life to his eyes. He was really lethargic and woozy for several days. We’ve also rested him. No walks at all for a few days and then slowly building up to a short 15 minute walk this morning. I think we’re well on the road to recovery.
Given Jack’s history of stomach problems and now pancreatitis, we will have to be more vigilant about what he puts in his mouth. Hard to do with a dog who’s favorite meal is a toss up between road kill and coyote poop.
Typical preventative measures would include reducing the fat in your dog’s diet, losing weight if they are obese and regular checks of their triglyceride levels (measures the fat in the blood). Pancreatitis may occur only once or may become chronic and dogs may even develop diabetes or a pancreatic insufficiency. We’re certainly hoping Jack’s was just an isolated incident, but we will be keeping a close eye on him.