What is it & what causes it?

The pancreas has 2 main functions. The first is to produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. The second is the production of enzymes to digest food. The term ‘pancreatitis’ refers to inflammation of the pancreas. This can cause a disruption in flow of digestive enzymes, which can then lead to further inflammation.

Pancreatitis can be due to several causes:
- high fat diet
- inflammation of the intestines e.g. inflammatory bowel disease or gastroenteritis
- some drugs or toxins
- diabetes
- trauma
- infection (extremely rare)
- secondary to other diseases

There is both acute (sudden onset) and chronic (longer course) pancreatitis.

What are the signs?


- sudden vomiting
- no appetite
- diarrhea
- abdominal pain
- lethargy


- signs are more vague
- intermittent vomiting
- reduced appetite gradual weight loss

A blood test and ultrasound may be recommended to determine the presence of pancreatitis.


What is the treatment?

Some cases can be treated at home if signs are mild. Treatment will include gut protectants, anti-nausea medication and pain relief. A low-fat diet may be recommended for dogs. In some cases, the vet may recommend that your pet may be hospitalized with fluid therapy in addition to the medications above.


What is the prognosis?

Most cases of acute pancreatitis can resolve with treatment. Some cases of pancreatitis can be very serious and so regular follow ups are essential especially if you pet is getting worse. Chronic pancreatitis can be more difficult to cure due to underlying factors, but there is lots we can do to keep your pet comfortable.