The pancreas is an important organ in a dog’s body. It sits near the stomach and produces a variety of digestive enzymes as well as the hormone insulin that is key in the regulation of blood sugar in animals. The pancreas can become very inflamed due to a variety of reasons and can cause a great deal of distress to the patient. Rarely, it can be fatal.

Rosie is a special patient of ours who presented to Dr. Bell after having had diarrhea for several days. Her illness progressed to the point where she was vomiting repeatedly, she had completely lost her appetite and was very dehydrated. Some blood work on Rosie revealed that her pancreas was indeed inflamed and this was most likely the cause of all her gastrointestinal distress. Rosie ended up staying with us in the hospital for a couple of days for some intravenous (IV) fluid therapy, which is key for patients with pancreatitis that are clinically ill and vomiting. Also important are medications to help settle the stomach and keep the patient comfortable as pancreatitis can be a very painful condition. As long as an animal is vomiting, oral medications will not be tolerated, making hospitalization necessary for proper treatment with injectable medications.

After a couple of days with us, Rosie began eating again and stopped vomiting. She was sent home on some oral medications and a special diet. She has done very well and has made a complete recovery.

Pancreatitis is a very common ailment, particularly in dogs, but cats can be affected as well. The most common signs in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Cats vomit less frequently with this condition but are invariably lethargic and not themselves. While a fatty meal or raiding the garbage can often lead to the condition, in many cases we cannot pinpoint a specific cause as to why it happens. Most cases of pancreatitis do very well with a few days in the hospital and some IV fluids and medications, but the condition can progress dangerously or may become chronic. For this reason, it is very important to bring your pet to the veterinarian when you notice signs of vomiting and diarrhea. The earlier the treatment the better!

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