Pancreatitis is a very common and serious life-threatening illness which is caused by inflammation of the pancreas.
Pancreas is a V-shaped vital organ located in the first section of the small intestine (duodenum) behind the stomach on the right side of the abdomen. It has two main function.
First is producing insulin to helps metabolize sugar in the body and second is producing pancreatic digestive enzymes which helps break down ingested foods into molecules so that the body can digest nutrients.
Pancreas have self-protective mechanisms which prevent enzymes from damaging other surrounding tissues or the pancreas itself. If these break down for any causes or reasons then there will be leakage of enyzmes which can permanently damage the surrounding tissues and pancreas. This breakdown is called pancreatitis.
It is believed that the pancreas can becomes inflamed by auto-digestion of the gland itself which is caused by digestive enzymes in the pancreas remains activated.
The intense inflammation then spreads from the pancreas to the stomach, small and large intestines. The by products of inflammation will get into the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body such as liver, kidneys, and lungs etc. which can result in death in severe conditions.
Eventhough the exact cause of pancreatitis is unclear but there are statistic to show that obesity in middle age or older dogs, lack of exercise and high fat diets have high risk of developing this disease which can lead further to many illness symptoms.
Canine Pancreatitis can be either acute (sudden onset) or chronic (returns repeatedly).
Miniature Schnauzers, poodles, cocker spaniels and Yorkshire Terriers are prone to develop pancreatitis more than other breeds.

Cause of Pancreatitis

  • middle-aged or older dogs
  • high fat diets
  • lack of exercise
  • certain medications
  • metabolic disorders
  • high amounts of lipid in the blood (hyperlipidemia)
  • high amounts of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • trauma
  • shock
  • infections such as parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis)

Dog Pancreatitis Symptoms

  • fever
  • loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • shock
  • collapse
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • very painful in the abdomen area
  • abdominal distention
  • diarrhea
  • yellow and greasy stool
  • depression
  • dehydration
  • discharge of red tissues in the mouth
  • eye discharge

In severe pancreatitis cases dog may develop symptoms and other disease such as irregular heartbeats (heart arrhythmias), body-wide infection (sepsis) and difficulty breathing.