Pancreatic Insufficiency in Pets

Pancreatic insufficiency is more common in certain breeds such as the German shepherd.

Pancreatic insufficiency is a chronic disease in animals that can certainly affect long-term health. This disease occurs when the immune system destroys the part of the pancreas involved with digestive enzyme production. In other cases, that part of the pancreas fails to develop adequately. In either case, digestive enzymes are not produced in adequate numbers leading to symptoms of chronic often fatty diarrhea, ravenous appetite and often severe weight loss. While pancreatic insufficiency can occur in all breeds, there are certain breeds, such as the German shepherd, where the disease is more common.

Any pet that presents with the above symptoms should have a full medical workup, including CBC/chemistry blood work, urine analysis, as well as stool checks for parasites. X-rays and ultrasound may also be indicated. This workup is important to rule out other causes of chronic diarrhea in pets. The definitive diagnosis of pancreatic insufficiency is done by a TLI blood test performed by your veterinarian. Treatment of pancreatic insufficiency includes a low-residue, easily absorbed, low fat diet, as well as the supplementation with digestive tract enzymes from products such as Pancrezyme. I also find that adding probiotics is helpful in long term management of this disease. Prognosis for control of the disease is excellent, as long as pets are maintained on special diets and supplemented with the appropriate digestive enzymes.

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  1. A month ago I had to put one of my dogs dowm because of Pancreatitis, And now my Yorky has it Can you please tell me what the best dry food, And can food I can give the ones I have left. What did I do wrong? I’ve always fed the best that I can afford. I even make dog food for them, (no Fat) And this Friday another min Pin goes in for dental and I’m having him checked. And can fish oil that I get from the drug store be as good as the one for sale here? Thank you very much for all your help. Barbara McCray

  2. THANK YOU so very much for being here for all of us.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Sorry to hear about your battles with canine pancreatitis. Many times episodes are triggered without any underlying cause. As for food, I like low carb, low grain foods like wysong epigen diet from 1800petmeds. Not all fish oils created equal. My FAVORITE and most reliable is nordic naturals pet omega 3 fatty acid.

  4. Around a year ago my cat was Dx with IBS. She went from 12 pds down to a little over 7 pds. I had been able to get her wt up to around 8-9 pds. But she has started losing wt again and has now been Dx with pancreatic insuff. She is a very picky eater The med the vet wants to try is very costly and we do not think she will eat it, I went threw many types of foods to get to what she is eating now.. Is here another med that is cheaper, non prescription, pill form, or food that I could try? Thank you for any help

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