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Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in dogs

Pancreatitis in dogs

The technical term for the pancreas is pancreas. If your dog suffers from pancreatitis, this is also known as pancreatitis. 

Inflammation of the pancreas is a serious condition that can cause your dog a number of complaints and, in the worst case, even lead to organ failure.

In the following, we will explain to you the possible causes of pancreatitis, how you can recognise the disease and what is required to treat your four-legged friend.

Tasks of the pancreas and forms of pancreatitis in dogs

The pancreas is part of your dog's digestive system and is the most important digestive gland in his body. In particular, it is responsible for the production of enzymes necessary for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. However, it also produces hormones, such as insulin.

If your dog suffers from pancreatitis, the digestive enzymes released cause the pancreas to digest itself. This type of pancreatitis can occur both acutely and chronically, although the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis always subside in between.

Possible causes of pancreatitis in dogs

There are numerous causes that can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. It is often not possible for the vet to determine an exact trigger. In this case one speaks of an idiopathic pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis in dogs can be triggered or at least encouraged by the following factors, among others:

  • The administration of certain drugs
  • A too high fat content in dog food
  • Injuries to the pancreas due to an accident
  • A spread of other inflammatory diseases, such as IBD
  • A temporary low blood flow during general anaesthesia

In addition, pancreatitis in dogs can in rare cases also be triggered by an infectious disease.

Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs

If a dog suffers from pancreatitis, this is noticeable by numerous complaints. Which symptoms occur depends on the severity and type of pancreatitis.

While a mild course of pancreatitis in your dog may simply lead to loss of appetite and an increased need for rest, severe forms of pancreatitis can also manifest themselves as more serious symptoms.

Depending on the course of the disease, pancreatitis in dogs can also trigger the following symptoms, among others:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Yellow discolored mucous membranes
  • Dehydration
  • Cardiac arrhythmia 
  • Weight loss

Particularly in the case of acute pancreatitis, it can often be observed that dogs repeatedly adopt the so-called prayer posture due to stomach pain. The quadruped stretches its forelegs forwards in a similar way as when stretching and presses its chest with stretched hind legs to the ground.

Dogs with pancreatitis should go to the veterinarian

Dogs with pancreatitis should go to the veterinarian

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, we recommend that you visit your vet as soon as possible. The veterinarian can examine your four-legged friend and check whether you are correct in your suspicion.

For this purpose, he or she will carry out a blood test in which, among other things, he or she will measure the levels of the enzyme canine pancreatic lipase. If its levels are elevated, this is a sign that your dog actually has pancreatitis.

In addition, ultrasound examinations are usually used as part of the diagnosis. A biopsy, in which a small piece of the pancreas is removed, is also possible, but in most cases not necessary.

Treatment of pancreatitis in dogs

In order to treat pancreatitis in your dog, the veterinarian will focus primarily on alleviating the symptoms. If possible, he will first stop taking any medication that may be responsible for the pancreatitis. 

In addition, the administration of painkillers is common in the treatment of dogs with pancreatitis. If necessary, your pet will also be given an infusion to compensate for the loss of fluid due to diarrhoea and vomiting.

Regardless of this, it is essential that your dog suffering from pancreatitis receives a dog food with an easily digestible animal protein source and easily digestible carbohydrate sources, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. Treatment with antibiotics, on the other hand, is controversial, as their benefit for dogs with pancreatitis has not been proven beyond doubt.

Prognosis for dogs with pancreatitis

Depending on the severity of the pancreatitis, you should notice an improvement in your four-legged friend's condition after just a few days. Under certain circumstances, however, the symptoms may last for several weeks and even require inpatient care.

If the pancreatitis has already caused significant organ damage, the disease can be fatal in the worst case. You should also be aware that chronic pancreatitis in dogs often requires lifelong therapy.

Feeding recommendations for dogs with pancreatitis

Our feeding recommendations for dogs with pancreatitis

As you can see, getting pancreatitis is a serious matter for your dog. The success of the treatment measures depends not least on the choice of a food that is as digestible and easy to digest as possible.

Should your dog suffer from pancreatitis, we therefore recommend our varieties with insect protein from the larvae of the black soldier fly. This cereal-free food is not only particularly well tolerated, but also convinces with its excellent digestibility of the proteins it contains.

For your dog with pancreatitis you can choose between the following products:

Natural help for diarrhoea

Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms that pancreatitis causes in dogs. To alleviate the associated symptoms and counteract possible consequences such as nutrient deficiency and fluid loss, we recommend that affected dogs take Bellfor Gastro Relax as a dietary supplement.

This natural preparation is very easy to digest and is also highly effective against diarrhoea. Bellfor Gastro Relax is therefore the ideal product to support the treatment of pancreatitis in your dog.

Strong defences promote the healing of the dog's pancreatitis

The better your dog's immune system works, the easier it is for the body to recover and the sooner your pet will have survived the pancreatitis without permanent damage. For this reason, in addition to choosing the right food, it is important that you do something to strengthen your dog's defences.

With Bellfor Shiimun Immune we have developed a very special food supplement based on shiitake, known as the king of medicinal mushrooms, for this purpose. Shiitake has long been used in traditional Asian natural medicine to strengthen the immune system.

In Bellfor's Shiimun Immune, it unfolds its effect in combination with other selected ingredients, such as brewer's yeast, and can thus make an important contribution to supporting the immune system in dogs with pancreatitis.

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