7 Things to Know About Pet Pancreatitis

person feeding a small white dog a bite of croissant at the dining table

Pancreatitis in cats and dogs can sneak up on you and your pet. This condition can range from mild to severe. Here are 7 things you need to know about pancreatitis in pets.

The pancreas helps your pet digest food

You can find the pancreas to the right of your pet’s abdomen, next to their stomach. This organ is a gland that helps digest food and controls blood sugar levels. The pancreas will release enzymes to help your pet digest food. Normally, these enzymes activate in the small intestine.

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed

One possible cause of pancreatitis is the early activation of enzymes released by the pancreas. If they activate as soon as they are released, then this can lead to inflammation and damage to the pancreas. In some cases, the pancreas might begin to digest itself, causing pain for your pet. This is when acute pancreatitis may develop.

Symptoms can vary

If your pet has pancreatitis, they may show these signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat

Be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet may have pancreatitis.

The cause of pancreatitis is unknown

We might not know what causes pancreatitis, but these factors may trigger it:

  • High-fat diets
  • Infections from parasites
  • Hereditary influences
  • Ingesting poisons
  • Trauma to the pancreas

You can take care to prevent it

In both cats and dogs, fatty meals can lead to issues with the pancreas. More pancreatitis cases are reported during the holiday season, when pet owners are eating more fatty foods and sharing holiday treats with their pets. It is best to resist your pet’s adorable looks and avoid giving them table scraps.

Pancreatitis can be treated

The sooner pancreatitis can be diagnosed, the more successful treatment may be. Reach out to your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your pet has pancreatitis. Your veterinarian will try to address the cause if possible. Since it can be tough to determine the cause, treatment focuses on supportive care. Luckily, you can still work with your veterinarian to keep your pet comfortable, hydrated, and on a healthy diet.

Most pets will recover without long-term consequences

Your veterinarian can help make sure your pet recovers without any lasting problems. With most mild cases of pancreatitis, proper treatment will lead to complete recovery. It is extremely important to follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan for your pet. More severe cases could lead to hospitalization, recurring episodes and problems, issues with food digestion, or diabetes. Whether your pet has a mild or severe case of pancreatitis, your veterinarian is there to help.