Pancreatitis in Pets

Symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Pancreatitis is an increasingly common diagnosed digestive condition in dogs and cats. Causes of pancreatitis include dietary indiscretion or a history of fatty food exposure, infection, trauma, or a history of anesthesia or surgery.  In many pets, pancreatitis may occur for unknown reasons.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Pancreatitis may either be acute or chronic in nature, and in some cases diabetes may occur. Diagnosis of pancreatitis includes a full medical workup, including CBC/chemistry, urine analysis and abdominal x rays. In some cases, abdominal ultrasound is needed to define the extent of disease, and to differentiate from other causes of clinical symptoms. The definitive test in dogs is the measurement of a canine specific lipase test, known as a PLI test, which can often be done at the veterinary office. In cats there is also a specific PLI test, but results may take several days to get back

Treatment of pancreatitis involves withholding food for several hours, while IV fluids, antibiotics and injectable pain medications are used. Bland diets are gradually introduced once initial vomiting is under control. Long-term prevention of future relapses involves being consistent with diet, and avoiding feeding pets excessively fatty or greasy table foods.

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12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Pancreatitis in Pets | PetMeds Blog | Chronic Pancreatitis

  2. great post.. Pancreatitis can occur in both dogs and cats, but is more common in dogs, especially the acute form. Cats more commonly have the chronic form, and it can be difficult to diagnose.

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  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Pancreatitis is certainly an emerging disease in both cats and dogs, especially with improved diagnostic testing.

  4. Hi Dr. Dym,

    Good article about the causes, detection, treatment, and prevention of future occurrences of pancreatitis.

    I guess blockage can also be a cause in the form of calcium build-up just like blockage can occur in the kidneys.

    If it’s chronic and goes on too long, the pancreas can stop producing insulin, which as you mentioned, would result in diabetes.

    Pancreatitis is a very serious issue and I would describe it as an emergency situation.

    Can a gallstone get lodged in the pancreas for several months? If so, how would a veterinarian get it to pass?

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    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 5, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Gallstones can lodge for several months. Veterinarians will sometimes use antibiotics to treat secondary infection and/or in other cases use drugs like Actigall to help promote flow of bile. In occasional cases, traditional vets will sometimes do surgery. Veterinary homeopaths can sometimes treat these cases with constitutional homeopathy to encourage the body to heal on its own.

  6. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

    You are very welcome Liz.

  7. As human beings suffer from diseases pets also suffer form diseases. There are many diseases such as Pancreatic disorder. There are many reason of pancreatic disorder in pets like dietary indiscretion or a history of fatty food exposure, infection, trauma, or a history of anesthesia or surgery. Some symptoms of pancreatic disorder are vomiting,lethargy, and loss of appetite. It needs to be treated early otherwise the situation might get worse.

  8. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 12, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for your excellent observations. Pancreatitis is indeed an emerging disorder in both dogs and cats and needs to always be on our differential list when these symptoms are present in either species.

  9. what can I give my dog to stop her from vomiting due to pancreatitis. I usually get something from the vet but its a new dr. and he wants to give a check up first.I have no money due to lack of work.Thank you so much. My dogs are my world.

  10. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    You can try oral pepcid AC at dose of one half mg per pound once to twice daily. OTher best prescription drugs include cerenia, from your vet. You can also try slippery elm from to soothe bowels.

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