What is pancreatitis?
The pancreas is an important organ that lies on the right-hand side of the abdomen adjacent to the stomach. The pancreas produces enzymes to help in food absorption and releases hormones such as insulin, which adjusts blood sugar or glucose metabolism.
When there is swelling or inflammation in the pancreas, the state is referred to as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is common condition in the dogs. There is no age, sex, or breed predisposition.
“Severe pancreatitis may either take a mild, edematous shape or a more severe, hemorrhagic shape.”
Severe pancreatitis may either take a mild, edematous shape or a more severe, hemorrhagic shape. The associated swelling allows the digestive enzymes from the pancreas to reverse their direction and enter into the abdominal cavity ending up in secondary destruction to the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder, and intestines. A few dogs that recuperate from a severe event of pancreatitis may continue to have repetitive episodes of the disorder, which is then referred to as chronic or relapsing pancreatitis.
What is the reason behind pancreatitis?
Normally, pancreatic enzymes are produced in an inactive condition and pass through the pancreatic duct to the duodenum, part of the small intestine. Once they reach the small intestine, they are activated to start digestion. With pancreatitis, these enzymes are activated prematurely in the pancreas instead of later in the small intestine. Think of this as a time-release capsule that abruptly bursts before it reaches its projected aim; in this case, the pancreatic enzymes begin to absorb before they should. This ends up in absorbing of the pancreas itself. The medical symptoms of pancreatitis are usually variable, and the intensity of the disorder will be based on the volume of enzymes that will be prematurely in active mode.
Although, the exact reason of pancreatitis is unknown, it may occur due to a fatty meal or corticosteroid administration. Yet, in most cases, it looks like its occurrence is sudden.
What are the medical symptoms of pancreatitis?
The most common medical symptoms consist of nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea and reduced appetite. At the time of the episode, dogs may take a “praying position”, with their back end up in the air while their front legs and head are lowered onto the floor. If the condition is critical, severe depression, and even death may take place.
How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
Laboratory examinations often detect an increased white blood cell count; yet, an increased white blood cell count may also be due to many other disorders besides pancreatitis. The rise of pancreatic enzymes in the blood is the most helpful test in diagnosing in pancreatic disorder, but some dogs with pancreatitis might have normal enzyme levels. In recent years, a new pancreatic test has become available that can appropriately detect pancreatitis, even if pancreatic enzymes are normal. Radiographs may display changes in pancreas associated with inflammation, especially in the acute hemorrhagic shape. Ultrasound research usually provide diagnosis of pancreatic inflammation or local peritonitis caused by this state. Unfortunately, some dogs with pancreatitis, especially chronic pancreatitis, will elude revelation with many of these examinations.
As a result, the diagnosis of pancreatitis may be tentative or presumptive in some cases and depends all on medical symptoms and clinical record.
How is pancreatitis treated?
The successful management of pancreatitis will depend on former diagnosis and clinical surgery or therapy. With mild, edematous pancreatitis, the treatment is aided by “resting” the pancreas and allowing the body to get better itself. The only way to “turn off” the pancreas is to suppress all oral fluids and food so that the pancreas does not secrete any digestive enzymes that may inadvertently damage the pancreas or the surrounding organs.
Analgesics will be given to control the intense pain and intravenous fluids will be given to maintain the normal fluid and electrolyte balance. Most cases will also need anti-inflammatory drugs to control vomiting or diarrhea. Antibiotics will be helpful if the simultaneous condition is questionable. Most dogs with pancreatitis are hospitalized for two to four days while intravenous fluids and medications are given and food is slowly restarted. With serious hemorrhagic pancreatitis, or if the dog is showing signs of systemic disease, extreme care using major quantities of intravenous fluids and medications should be provided to counteract shock.
What is the prognosis of pancreatitis?
The prognosis is based on the seriousness of the disorder when diagnosed and the reaction to initial treatment. Dogs that are seen with shock and depression have very hidden prognosis. Most of the mild pancreatitis has a good prognosis with an intense treatment. Dogs that are not treated may develop the hemorrhagic shape and suffer acute outcomes, consisting of sudden death.
Will there be any long-term complications?
Many dogs recover in absence of any bad chronic outcomes. Yet, with serious or repeated incidents of pancreatitis, one or more of the following complications may grow.
If a considerable number of cells that produce digestive enzymes are damaged, a lack of actual food absorption occurs. This is called as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and can be treated with a daily intake of an enzyme replacement powder.
If a considerable number of cells that grow insulin are damaged, diabetes mellitus can be an outcome.
In rare cases, painful growths between the abdominal organs may develop as an outcome of pancreatitis.