Do you like to give your pet treats and left overs from the dinner table? If so, you may be putting them at risk of developing pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is the term used when there is inflammation of the pancreas, which is a small organ with many functions. The pancreas produces things like insulin which is required to maintain a stable blood glucose level, and it also produces enzymes that are used to break down fats and nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. One of the most common triggers for pancreatitis is fatty foods, such as bacon, ham, sausages or rissoles. Other risk factors include obesity, certain medications such as steroids and obstruction of the pancreatic duct.
Acute bouts of pancreatitis are reversible once the trigger, such as fatty foods, is removed. Chronic pancreatitis may occur with long-standing inflammation, leading to fibrosis and shrinking of the pancreas.
During pancreatitis, a degree of autodigestion occurs in the pancreas; normally, digestive enzymes are produced and stored in the pancreas in an inactive form. When pancreatitis occurs, these digestive enzymes are activated prematurely, causing damage to the pancreas. Clinical signs associated with pancreatitis include inappetance, vomiting, weakness, abdominal pain and lethargy.
If you suspect your pet may be sick and suffering from pancreatitis, it is important you bring them in to be checked by one of our veterinarians. Severe pancreatitis, if left untreated, can be fatal, and it is also extremely painful for the animal suffering from this condition.