Pancreatitis in Pets


As most things around here are, the Fourth of July was full of adventure and pet health. Lizzi, unfortunately was feeling under the weather all day. She was lethargic, wouldn’t eat, dehydrated, had a very bloated tummy, and just felt down. We hoped it was nothing major, but when she felt bad this morning, I knew it was time for the vet.

After lots of blood work, x rays, and other tests, it looks like Lizzi likely has pancreatitis – an inflammation and swelling of the pancreas.

The exact cause is unknown, but in dogs, obese middle age to older animals have a higher incidence, as do females. Even though exact causes are not known, there are identifiable risk factors. Here are some potential risk factors:

  • Hyperlipidemia (high fat content in blood)
  • High fat meal (trigger for hyperlipidemia)
  • Obesity
  • Concurrent disease – i.e. Cushing’s, Diabetes Mellitus
  • Contaminated food or water
  • Certain drugs and toxins – i.e. some types of diuretics, antibiotics, and organophosphate insecticide
  • Bacterial or viral infection

What are the signs of pancreatitis?
The signs can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death. Most animals present with common gastrointestinal signs of upset, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Painful abdomen, hunched appearance (more common in dogs
  • Fever or below-normal body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Dehydration, evaluated by noting sunken eyes, dry mouth, and increased skin turgor (skin tents when pinched)

If you suspect something is going on with your pet, get them checked out. Lizzi will be in the hospital on IVs and antibiotics all weekend to get her back in shape. We hope you never have to experience, but if you do, hopefully these warning signs will help you out!




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