20 Sep. 17

What causes Pancreatitis?

What causes Pancreatitis?

There are many factors that may predispose your pet to pancreatitis; these include obesity, high-fat diet; concurrent disease, such as diabetes or Cushing’s Syndrome; certain medications or toxins; and infection.
Dietary indiscretion (e.g., eating inappropriate materials, garbage, or table food) is a leading cause of pancreatitis in dogs– and those dogs that have experienced dietary indiscretion are known to be up to 10 times more likely to develop pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis in cats is often secondary or accompanied by other disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, or liver disease. Other causes in cats include infection; injury; and certain medications, toxins, and insecticides.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis can differ among dogs and cats:

Dogs with Pancreatitis will often stop eating and drinking because of the pain associated with this disease.
Canine Symptoms:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Abnormal posture; arching of the back
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Gagging

Cats are instinctively wired to hide signs of sickness, and cats with pancreatitis are no exception. Typically, they have vague signs, especially as compared to dogs, so it isn’t often obvious to their owners that they are sick.
Feline Symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

Your veterinarian will take a complete history and preform a thorough physical exam of your pet. Additionally diagnostic tests will be required to determine if your pet has pancreatitis. These may include:

  • Chemistry tests – to evaluate Kidney, Liver, and pancreatic disease or dysfunction, as well as sugar levels
  • A complete blood count (CBC)– to screen for infection, inflammation, or anemia and other blood-related conditions.
  • Electrolyte Tests – to ensure your pet isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance.
  • Pancreas-Specific tests– to help diagnose or rule out the disease.


Your Veterinarian will suggest a treatment plan that is specific to your pet. The treatment depends on the severity of the disease and may include:

  • Hospitalization at the clinic
  • Fluid therapy and electrolytes
  • Pain medication
  • Antivomiting medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Nutritional support
  • Treatment of other concurrent diseases
  • Other Medications, depending on your pets symptoms

How do I work to prevent Pancreatitis:

  • DON’T let your dog become overweight – weight management is just as important for our four-legged friends as it is for us!
  • AVOID High-fat diets
  • AVOID giving your dog table scraps, especially if she isn’t accustomed to eating people food – We understand it is difficult but it is not healthy for your pet. Watch this brief video of Household Foods and Hazards to avoid.
  • MAKE sure you talk with your veterinarian about all of your pets medications
  • DON’T let your dog get into the trash!

If you are worried that your dog may be showing signs or symptoms of pancreatitis, Please see your veterinarian immediately.

*All Information received from IDEXX Laboratories Pamphlet on Pancreatitis – “The Facts about Pancreatitis and your Pet”