Friday, March 28, 2008

Pancreatitis: More Than Just a Tummy Ache

On Wednesday night, little Max had a tummy ache. At first, we just thought he had eaten a little grass or something that caused him to have diarrhea, but when it continued every few hours until morning, we knew it was something more severe.

We rushed Max to the hospital and he endured a series of tests to determine the cause. The doctor's findings... Pancreatitis. Alarmed and worried, I had to fully research pancreatitis as we nearly dismissed the ailment as a tummy ache. I thought I would pass my research on to you, as it can affect all dogs and is quite severe.

What does the Pancreas do?
The pancreas is a glandular organ that is located under the stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) in the dog and cat. The functions of the pancreas are 1) exocrine, which produces the enzymes needed to digest food, and 2) endocrine, which produces hormones, including the hormone insulin, which facilitates the uptake and storage of glucose (sugar) and amino acids (proteins).


What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, causing leakage of the digestive enzymes whereby the pancreas literally starts to "digest itself."

What Causes Pancreatitis?
The cause of pancreatitis in dogs is not well understood at this point. There are a few things that predispose dogs to the development of pancreatitis, including: high fat content in blood (hyperlipidemia), high fat diet, obesity, certain medicines, underlying diseases, bacterial or viral infection, and trauma; however, there is also some research that indicates there are genetic factors at play as well.

What are the signs of Pancreatitis?
The problem with Pancreatitis is that it often just shows itself by diarrhea or vomiting, which taken by itself may not initially cause worry. Additionally, dogs with pancreatitis may be depressed, lose their appetite, and may also exhibit pain in the abdomen (restlessness, panting or unwillingness to lie down).

Maxy's arm, all wrapped up for another day of IV treatment

How do you Treat Pancreatitis?
Treatment generally involves the withdrawal of food and water for at least 48 hours. This allows the gastrointestinal system to rest, which makes the swelling of the pancreas go down. Depending on the severity of each case, and the dog may have to be on intravenous fluids and other support to heal the pancreas while off of oral food and water.

Maxy, sad that he is immobilized, which kept him from chasing squirrels

Max's Prognosis:
Max's pancreatitis apparently came from a protozoa he had, likely due to eating something he found outside that was infected. He spent all day Thursday in the hospital on an IV with fluids and antibiotics. He got to spend the night at home on Thursday night, but had to leave his catheter in tact for his subsequent IV treatments.

A little rest and relaxation for Max

He is back in the hospital today with another full day of IV fluids and antibiotics. The doctor says he should be fine and is glad we came in when we did. Left untreated even for a few days, this could have caused Max's organs to stop functioning.


Max is now on a low fat diet and will start eating Royal Canin upon his return from the hospital. Absolutely no more "people food" for Max and even his doggie treats must be carefully monitored.

Max's buddies came to visit him

27 comments:

Cubby said...

It's good that your vet told you the new food restrictions. My mom had a dog who had pancreatitis, and he got it again a few months later.

Clover said...

Aw! Max! He looks so cute, and I am sorry he was sick. I hope everything returns to normal quickly and that he stays healthy!
Love Clover xo

Asta said...

Max
I am so sowwy to wead about youw owdeal..that's tewwible, thank dogness youw hooman was so quick to wespond and get you tweatment..I hope you make a full wecovewy!!!
I think youw bandage looks kind of cool..like a big bwacelet.
Get well my little fwiend!
I'm going away on monday night fow nine days, so don't fowget me..I won't have a pootew, I won't be able to wite.
I love you and send you healing smoochie kisses
Asta

Putz said...

oh MY gosh, MAX, we had no idea, that iv thingy really has got us SCAREDED please get well and ashley tell us as soon as you know stuff, so when we hear stuff it won't be such a surpise. has this cut down on any of your traveling...????

serendipity said...

Oh poor Max. He didn't look very happy there. Hope he's better soon.

Thanks for sharing about pancreatitis here.

"ME N MY MILLION DOLLAR" said...

we wish u well Maxs, u look real good although u ar not feeling well.

Simba said...

Oh poor Max. I hope you feeling better now. I bet you had your humans really worried about you. Love the yellow bandage though.

Simba x

Asta said...

Max
I hope by the time I get home you'll be all well..I'll be thinking of you
smoochie kisses youw fwiend
Asta

Peanut said...

Oh poor max he looks so cute though

Amber-Mae said...

Poor poor Max...The tummy ache he had must have been very uncomfortable. He needs alot of salt water after having diarrhea sooo many times. I hope he gets better soon.

Love licks,
Slid Gold Dancer

Maya and Kena said...

Hi Max,
Oh no... we hope you are under no pain!! We're sorry to hear about this, we pray everything will be back to normal soon though!
Thanks fur sharing all that info!
Wags and licks,
Maya and Kena

Snowball said...

Poor Max. Get well soon. We are sending you all our good thoughts.

Luv
Snowball

Anonymous said...

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Balboa & Mommy said...

OH NO MAX,

YOu poor thing, I hope you are feeling better. I think you should milk this for as long as you can, treats, cheese, peanut butter, and lots of belly rubs are the only things that will make you feel better. wink wink

Frenchie Snorts
Balboa

Sparky said...

Aww, Max! I hope you start feeling better really soon!

Sparky

Butchy & Snickers said...

Hey Max,
How are you doing?? So sorry you got pancreatitis. Our Papa got it years ago & had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. But the good thing is he has never had another attack since. So hopefully by watching your diet you won't have attacks either. Hope you are feeling better.
Luv & Wirey Hugs!
Butchy & Snickers

CaliChi said...

Max looks smashing with his yellow bandage. Thank goodness you got him to the vet and all sorted out.

Crikit, Sparky & Ginger said...

OMDoggie Max we sure hope you are better now. We sniffed over to say thanks fur visiting and we're so sorry to read about your poor health. When mommy saw your pic she said 'oooh too adorable! I wanna cuddle Max!' So now you and Happy and MM are stealing some of our attention but that's ok cos we think your purdy cute and ya got a pawsome bloggie. We'll sniff back by soon

Love Licks & waggin TX tails not barking loud right now since your still gettin well k?

William Clay Marshall said...

Hope max feels better soon, I saw alot of squirrels out today.

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