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Experiences with pancreatitis in dogs? Other possible causes?

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  • Experiences with pancreatitis in dogs? Other possible causes?

    It's been a long, stressful day.

    The wonder dane went to the vet first thing this AM; I thought he was in the midst of a very atypical bloat episode and frankly did not expect him to come home. He did, and I'm certainly grateful, but ready to figure out what's next.

    Vet thinks possibly pancreatitis, and we are on a wait-and-see for the next 24-48 hours. Fasting until tomorrow AM and we'll see if he can keep a bland diet down. He's on anti-nausea meds and antibiotics to cover the bases. He's very obviously not feeling great but much, much better than this AM, when he went from just fine to a vomiting, drooling, hunch backed wreck in ten minutes flat.

    He's definitely not digesting food properly but stools have been pretty normal. When he threw up this AM, he had not eaten in well over 12 hours and there was still quite a bit of undigested food in the vomit. No blockage.

    I know I'm leaving out a lot of pertinent info but I was really muddled this AM at the vet. Trying to get myself set up for tomorrow's call to the doc.

    Any experience with pancreatitis in older, large breed dogs, both acute and chronic? Any other potential causes spring to mind? I have a lot of questions loaded for this call tomorrow, please feel free to add to my list. Hoping to not have to make another emergency visit but I'm not feeling optimistic looking at the old man tonight.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
    free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

  • #2
    Our old boy (Setter mix, so "large"-ish) had acute pancreatitis at aged 11-ish. To make a very long story short, it turned out he got it from eating chicken bones out of the garbage. I'm afraid I don't know all the details because I wasn't living at home at the time, but he had to go to the emergency vets for surgery & came out of it completely fine. He did loose a lot of weight as a result, but he was always hard to keep weight on. The prediction for success of his surgery must have been fairly high, because given his age otherwise there's no way my parents would have okayed it.

    Best of luck & wishing you a similar outcome. Our boy lived to the age of 14 & was as healthy as an older larger breed dog can ever be.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


    • #3
      My small dog had several bouts of pancreatitis. It was rich food in her case, and berries off of a Virginia Creeper. Until that I didn't even know Virginia Creeper had berries. Look around the yard or wherever the dog has been and see what he might have eaten. Or if someone slipped him some rich people food, or he counter-surfed something.
      You can't fix stupid-Ron White


      • Original Poster

        I've been wracking my brain all day for potential causes, but I think i'm going to have to let that mystery stand; he just isn't a counter surfer or garbage digger, and we're super proactive about keeping the garbage emptied and counters clear anyway as one of the cats IS those things. He is never outside unsupervised as the yard is not totally fenced yet and we live in an urban area. Vet & internet both say this is often idiopathic.

        Looking back, chronic pancreatitis fits. He has had a few other episodes in recent months that fit the bill; nothing nearly as severe as today and I just didn't put things together. Occasional vomiting & seemingly unrelated refusal to eat are not that out of the norm. Feeling like a lousy owner at the moment.
        bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
        free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


        • #5
          Did they run a PCL to be sure? Ultrasound?

          We see tons of pancreatitis at work, both acute and chronic. In a way it is like colic, we don't always know what causes it. I hope your boy recovers quickly!


          • #6
            Did they do a blood panel? My JRT mix last year started vomiting EVERYthing, water, food- didn't matter. He had a ton of tests,sonograms,x-rays but all we could find was liver failure. He was 10 when it happened, we still don't know why or what really. He didn't have a good ending, I hope you find out what's wrong with your guy and he gets better soon.


            • Original Poster

              We did no tests yesterday. My vet was confident with going ahead with the treatments and seeing what today brought. I have a long relationship with the man and trust him immensely. The wonder dane is tired and keeping his meds down, but has very little interest in water or food- he declined to eat the whopping cup of boiled chicken offered him today. He is still visibly uncomfortable on palpation. He's acting pretty normal other than the fatigue, but I fear we'll be heading back to the vet shortly, especially if I can't convince him to drink.
              bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
              free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


              • #8
                If you talk to a specialist PLI's arent necessarily indicative of pancreatitis. Often, skipping this blood test and looking at the pancreas through ultrasound will tell you more.

                Usually you will go on a 36-48 hour of symptomatic treatment route IF the patient is stable. If the pet is not holding its own, running bilirubin to ensure the pancreas hasnt obstructed the CBD is important. Ultrasound (by internist or radiologist) is ideal as well to look for evidence of pancreatic neoplasia (cancer) vs. regular pancreatitis.

                Newest way to treat pancreatitis (if vomiting is minimal) is to feed - through NG tube if needed. Fasting for more than 24 hours is not going to help the pancrease inflammation.

                Regular pancreatitis is very commonly recovered from. In moderate to severe cases referral care is often needed as regular vets just cant support the needs of the patient properly. It can be expensive, it can also frequently be managed at home with mild/moderate cases.

                If your funds are limited I wouldnt put off general bloodwork any longer. If you have the funds for an ultrasound, I would think that by tomorrow if your dog isnt better it may be worth asking for one. Jingles for your dog!


                • #9
                  I think another important thing to keep in mind is that pancreatitis is just assumed - be prepared to rule out other issues. Jingles for a speedy recovery.


                  • #10
                    OP you said your dog's poop was normal. When my girl had pancreatitis her poop was cream/white in color. Vet said it was classic for pancreatitis. Her's was caused because she can't digest fat, she now eats Science diet WD and is much better. Jingles!


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for all the thoughts, folks. He's acting quite a bit better but we're headed in to have blood work shortly.
                      bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                      free bar.ka and tidy rabbit