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.