If your dog has pancreatitis, you likely have an understanding of the seriousness of this condition. As with many things in life, prevention is key. Before we explore the topic of pancreatic disease, let’s talk about how miraculous this organ truly is. Think about this. The pancreas is relatively small organ. This little but vital organ works to keep dogs alive by assisting in digestion. It also produces insulin, which transforms energy from food and delivers it to all of the cells in the body. Without the pancreas, a dog wouldn’t be able to survive. This gland forms part of the digestive system. It has a dual function of secreting enzymes and produces hormones. Happiness and enthusiasm of life can be found by pondering the miracles found in nature.
What Is Pancreatitis, Anyway?
Quite simply, it is inflammation of the pancreas. When viewed holistically, several factors may be the cause of this condition. However, research does show that pancreatitis is much more common among dogs that eat kibble. Compared to other mammals, the digestive tract of dogs is much shorter. This means that while they are able to digest meat, organs, bones and some plant material with ease, digestion of starches becomes more difficult. Experts agree that eating heavily processed grains is not what Mother Nature intended for dogs. Any type of processed food causes the pancreas to become stressed. When the pancreas becomes overwhelmed, inflammation can occur.
When the pancreas becomes inflamed, its digestive enzymes activate prematurely. This can trigger the pancreas to “digest itself”, causing it to become even more irritated. At this point, these enzymes from the pancreas may leak into the abdomen, which can cause damage in this area and cause problems to the kidney and liver. Pancreatitis is something that needs to be taken seriously, as it can threaten your dog’s life.
About Acute Pancreatitis
When pancreatitis is labeled as acute, this means it is the most serious form of the disease. It has the ability to develop very suddenly. Recognizing the symptoms of acute pancreatitis is crucial. Your dog may lose his appetite, may be vomiting, and at times diarrhea may be occurring. Lethargy and dehydration are other common symptoms. The dog’s abdomen may seem harder than normal and sensitive to the touch. This is because the pancreas can be found close to the stomach and is near the abdomen.
With chronic pancreatitis, there may not be any symptoms. On occasion you could see slight cases of vomiting or diarrhea. With this, a slightly elevated pancreatic enzyme level could be found.
A blood test is needed to confirm a diagnosis of pancreatitis. A chemistry panel as well as a CBC should be conducted, as well as the testing of lipase levels. There is a relatively new test for pancreatitis available, called a canine pancreas specific lipase test. In addition to this, X-rays or an ultrasound exam may be needed to confirm the diagnosis, as there could be other reasons why the dog could be experiencing symptoms similar to those caused by pancreatitis.
Options for Treating Pancreatitis Naturally
According to Dr. Peter Dobias, a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, here are some tips to help your dog heal from pancreatitis naturally.
- Try switching your dog to a diet that is designed for their specific species. He says that processed food doesn’t fall into this category.
- Dobias recommends putting energy into feeding your dog a wholesome, natural diet of raw food.
- Try to cleanse, nourish and detox the dog’s body with a whole food supplement, known as sea greens.
- Try giving your dog a certified organic, whole food multivitamin that is of high quality.
- Essential fatty acids may be very helpful for your dog. Look for sources that contain salmon, krill and flax seed oil. He does not recommend any of the other fish oils as they may contain dangerous mercury and strontium.
- Giving your dog probiotics may help to create a balance in their immune system, boost their intestinal flora and keep diarrhea from happening.
- He suggests adding a glandular supplement. Specifically, he recommends a product known as Standard Process Pancreatrophin PM, which is designed to nourish and protect the pancreas.
- If possible, take your dog to the chiropractor. This may help with the muscle tightness that develops when a dog has pancreatitis. A physiotherapist, osteopath or massage therapist may also be beneficial to him or her. Dr. Dobias recommends starting out going every other week, and then change to monthly when appropriate.