Facts About the Canine Pancreas and How Pancreatitis Affects Your Dog
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Facts About the Canine Pancreas and How Pancreatitis Affects Your Dog

The pancreas is a vital part of the dog's intestinal tract. Many medical conditions can affect your dog's pancreas functionality such as diabetes mellitus, pancreatic cysts or abscesses, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic carcinoma and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and can be life-threatening. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of pancreatitis, how to care for your dog with the disease and what you need to do to avoid the onset of pancreatitis in your dog.

The anatomy of the dog is very complex and each component serves as a vital part in proper health. A crucial element of the stomach and digestive system is the pancreas. The pancreas is located in the stomach cavity, near the liver and small bowel. A healthy pancreas serves a very important part of the body in digestion and the function of certain hormones. Digestive enzymes and fluids are stored within the pancreas and excreted into the intestinal tract when the dog eats. These pancreatic juices are necessary to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Aside from aiding in the digestion of food, the pancreas produces and secretes hormones vital in regulating blood sugar, such as glucagon.  The pancreas contains beta cells that form keys to the Langerhans which produces insulin.  Many of the cells within the body rely on insulin in controlling and normalizing glucose levels in the body.

There are several common diseases that can affect the pancreas such as diabetes mellitus, pancreatic cysts or abscesses, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic carcinoma and pancreatitis. One of the more threatening pancreatic diseases that can affect your dog is pancreatitis or an inflammation of the pancreas. This very common disease occurs when a dog consumes too much high-fat content foods. The pancreas has difficulty breaking down fat. Acute pancreatitis may result in the pancreas beginning to digest itself. Acute pancreatitis can range from mild to severe with various symptoms. Although any dog can be affected, overweight canines and the miniature schnauzer seemed to be predisposed to pancreatitis.

Some of the more universal symptoms to note in a dog suffering from pancreatitis are vomiting and diarrhea, weakness and lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, fever and visible abdominal pain.  Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is exhibiting any of these signs and symptoms. Testing for any indications of pancreatitis may include a complete medical examination as well as blood count, serum biochemical test, abdominal x-rays and ultrasound. Once a diagnosis is made, your veterinarian will advise on the proper treatment for your dog.

Pancreatitis can be a life-threatening disease and treatment options depend upon its severity. Hospitalization may be required in order to treat shock while rehydrating your dog through subcutaneous or intravenous fluid supplementation. Antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent the onset of any secondary infections as well as medications to control your dog’s pain. Severe cases may require surgery. The pancreas needs to rest during the treatment process which is accomplished by withholding any food or water by mouth from your dog for several days.

When returning home with your pet, it is important to follow through with treatment as prescribed by your doctor. You will be advised as to the proper diet to feed your dog.  Your dog will probably be prescribed a bland diet after 24 – 72 hours of hospitalization and treatment.  Monitor your dog regularly to be sure none of the symptoms of pancreatitis return. You’ll be required to follow up with your vet to be sure your dog is now healthy.

To prevent a further incidence with pancreatitis, do not provide your dog with any table scraps or fatty foods. Maintain a healthy weight for your dog as well. In order to ward off a recurring attack of pancreatitis, be mindful of proper nutritional care for your dog to ensure a healthy pancreas and a happy, loving and attentive canine family member.                                              http://www.petplace.com/dogs/acute-pancreatitis-in-dogs/page1.aspx                                    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/structure-and-function-of-the-pancreas-in-dogs/page1.aspx http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-pancreatitis-symptoms-and-treatment

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