Canine pancreatitis is more prevalent in dogs age seven or older, and small breed dogs. The disease occurs when juices in the the pancreas start attacking the organ, resulting in inflammation. Since poor diets are associated with pancreatitis, feed high quality food with low carbohydrates and high amounts of protein. While treatable, pancreatitis is very serious and not all dogs recover. Many symptoms indicate other diseases, so consult the veterinarian for a definite diagnosis.
In some dogs with pancreatitis, abdominal pain is obvious and the dog's abdomen may be distended. In other dogs the symptoms are more subtle. Watch for appetite loss, frequent changing of position or not laying down completely. The dog may appear to be "hunched," or laying with chest down and hindquarters up. A dog exhibiting such symptoms should be brought to the vet immediately.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Both vomiting and diarrhea may be symptomatic of pancreatitis, especially if the feces appear yellowish or greasy. Fever may also be present. Make sure the dog did not get into the garbage or consume any toxins, as this can cause both the symptoms and pancreatitis. If vomiting and diarrhea persist for more than a short period, take the dog to the vet for evaluation and diagnosis.
Severe Disease Symptoms
Pancreatitis in dogs ranges from mild to severe. The most serious symptoms include sepsis, an infection ranging throughout the body. Other red-alert symptoms include breathing difficulties, heart arrhythmias and hemorrhaging. The dog may lose consciousness. Bring the dog to an emergency veterinary hospital at once. Treatment includes IV therapy, antibiotics and pain medication and, in worst-case scenarios, surgery. Dogs with diabetes, hypothyroidism and various gastrointestinal diseases are at higher risk of developing severe pancreatitis.