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Located in the abdomen near the upper intestinal area, the pancreas is responsible for the production of multiple hormones that regulate digestion and the production of insulin. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose to the tissues of the body providing energy. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can affect both dogs and cats and is classified as acute, recurrent, or chronic. Pancreatitis may range in severity from mild and self-limiting to very severe and life-threatening, often affecting other organs of the body. When the pancreas becomes inflamed enough to cause acute or chronic symptoms, your Austin veterinarian recommends bringing your pet to our Northwest Austin Emergency Animal Hospital.
Signs of pancreatitis are often variable and non-specific in nature, especially in cats, and may be moderate and ongoing or suddenly appear as severe symptoms. Decreased appetite, vomiting, stomach pain, weakness and lethargy are classic symptoms of dogs with pancreatitis. Common symptoms in cats with pancreatitis are depression, lethargy, anorexia, dehydration, and hypothermia. Vomiting and abdominal pain are not as common in cats with pancreatitis. When chronic pancreatitis is not properly diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, your pet may develop diabetes as a result of fluctuating insulin levels.
A veterinarian suspecting a pet is suffering pancreatitis may want to do a medical workup that includes blood tests, abdominal x-rays or ultrasounds and urine analysis. More sensitive testing in dogs with pancreatitis symptoms may include a canine-specific lipase assessment which can be performed and evaluated at a vet's office. A feline PLI test may be done however may take a few days to be completed.
Factors contributing to pancreatitis include:
Pancreatitis may also affect cats and dogs spontaneously without the presence of any of these factors.
Pets requiring emergency treatment are typically placed on an IV drip to prevent dehydration due to vomiting. Pets are also administered anti-emetics to help control the vomiting and pain medication. Antibiotics may also be given if indicated for possible infection. Other medications and procedures may be required depending on the severity of the pancreatitis. Within three to five days, most pets recover completely following administration of veterinary treatments.
If you think your pet is suffering pancreatitis, bring him to our North or South Hospital for emergency vet treatment or call 512-331-6121 or 512-899-0955.