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Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed. This is a common problem in dogs. Pancreatitis occurs in dogs most commonly when they ingest food high in fat content (roast beef, bacon grease, butter, etc), but can also occur spontaneously. Pancreatitis can range from being mild to severe and even life-threatening. 

The symptoms of pancreatitis include loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, and sometimes fever. If your dog develops these symptoms, he should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will recommend diagnostic testing including bloodwork and abdominal ultrasound. 

Occasionally, if pancreatitis is mild, it may be treated on an out-patient basis. However, pancreatitis usually requires hospitalized care with IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, pain medication, and sometimes temporary feeding tubes. With adequate treatment, pancreatitis is often able to be successfully treated. In more severe situations, such as necrotizing pancreatitis (death of pancreatic tissue) or pancreatic abscess (severe bacterial infection of the pancreas), surgery may be required and prognosis can be guarded. 

If you suspect your dog may have pancreatitis, or is experiencing persistent vomiting, he should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.