Pet First Aid Instructor Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

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Pancreatitis in Dogs

Understanding Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a potentially serious condition that affects the pancreas, a crucial organ located in the stomach. When afflicted, the pancreas becomes tender, swollen, and inflamed. This organ plays a pivotal role in producing and releasing essential enzymes necessary for food digestion in the stomach, as well as other hormones like insulin.

Key Points:

  • Pancreatitis involves enzyme leakage, leading to tissue digestion and severe pain.
  • Immediate veterinary attention is vital if you suspect pancreatitis.
  • More common in middle-aged to older dogs, and certain breeds like Terriers, Spaniels, and Miniature Schnauzers.
  • Causes include high dietary fat intake, poor diet, scavenging, underlying medical conditions, and specific medications.

Types of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can manifest in two forms:

  • Acute Pancreatitis: Sudden onset with severe pain.
  • Chronic Pancreatitis: Progresses gradually and persists over time.

Recognizing Pancreatitis

If you suspect pancreatitis in your dog, watch out for these signs:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • High temperature
  • Crying or whimpering
  • Hunched posture with the chest down and rear raised
  • Collapsing
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Pain when touched around the stomach

Treatment and Management

Immediate Vet Care: If you suspect pancreatitis, seek veterinary assistance promptly. Veterinarians can provide pain relief, anti-vomiting medications, and recommend suitable treatments.

Treatment Approaches: Depending on the severity, treatment may include restricting food for up to 48 hours or hospitalization for monitoring and intravenous fluids to maintain hydration levels when eating is not advised.

Diagnostics: Vets may conduct blood tests to assess enzyme levels, perform ultrasound or X-rays, and, in some cases, opt for a biopsy to evaluate the extent of the condition.

Crucial Initial 48 Hours: Prompt veterinary intervention within the first 48 hours is vital to prevent excessive organ damage and resolve the issue. Your vet will also provide guidance on future dietary management to prevent recurrence.