The pancreas, which is located on the right side of the abdomen, has two vital functions: to produce hormones such as insulin and to produce enzymes that digest food.
What is pancreatitis in pets?
In pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes inflamed, thereby allowing digestive enzymes to spill into the abdominal cavity and damage nearby organs (eg, spleen, liver, or intestines).
How is pancreatitis diagnosed in pets?
The diagnosis of pancreatitis is difficult and often involves laboratory tests and medical imaging. The presence of high levels of pancreatic enzymes in the blood is probably the most helpful diagnostic clue, but is not conclusive.
How is this condition treated?
Primary treatment involves several days of intravenous fluids without oral food or water, so as to “rest” the pancreas. Pets that are in shock from a severe attack need emergency treatment with intravenous fluids, antibiotics, corticosteroids, and other drugs.
Can I expect a complete recovery?
Pets that recover from sudden episodes can have repeated recurrences. Severe or repeated attacks can lead to long-term problems, such as a lack of digestive enzymes (which must be replaced by daily supplements) or diabetes.