Pancreatitis in Dogs : Part I - An Overview

Okay, yes, pancreatitis in dogs is serious, and it is scary. But there is something you can do about it to take control. In fact, many people have done so, and very effectively, by using preemptive strategies and being proactive! In Part I of this article, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of pancreatitis as well as differentiating between acute and chronic cases of pancreatitis in dogs. After we review these basics, you'll be better equipped to take control of the condition and lead your dog on a path of wellness.

In this article (Part I):
  • Recognize the causes
  • Recognize the symptoms
  • Know what type of pancreatitis your dog has
In Part II:
  • Know when to see a veterinarian
  • Taking control with diet, exercise, and supplementation

What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The dog's pancreas (just like the human) is very important as it produces enzymes, which digest food, and it produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. Inflammation of the pancreas causes poor function of these two areas, which has adverse health effects on your dog. Unfortunately, pancreatitis in dogs has become more and more common in recent years. The increase of pancreatitis in dogs may be due to the modern dog diet as well as genetic predisposition..


  • Modern dog diet which is lacking in natural enzymes causes the pancreas in dogs to get overworked.
  • Genetic predisposition most common in miniature Schnauzers. Other dogs that seem to be more predisposed to this condition are Yorkshire and Silky Terriers, Dachshunds, Miniature Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels.
  • Dog obesity or dogs that are overweight are more likely to develop pancreatitis.
  • Overuse of prescription drugs such as prednisone (or other corticosteroids), azathioprine (Imuran Rx), potassium bromide (used for seizure control), l-asparaginase (a chemotherapeutic agent) and zinc used as a dietary supplement have been suspected of causes pancreatitis in dogs.

Two Types of Pancreatitis in Dogs

There are two types of pancreatitis in dogs:

Acute Pancreatitis: More severe Chronic Pancreatitis: Less severe, yet happens more often

With acute pancreatitis you will likely want to see a vet immediately. In milder, chronic pancreatitis, case symptoms are less severe but, if left untreated, the damage can be irreversible.

Recognizing Pancreatitis in Dogs

Below are some of the common symptoms dogs will display when they are suffering from pancreatitis:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Pain in the abdomen (if severe case, bloating)
  • Yellow stools
  • Poor appetite
  • Fever

Other pancreatitis symptoms include:

  • Appearance of lethargy or depression
  • Changes in stool (diarrhea or yellow and greasy)
  • Dehydration
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry skin
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Redness of the gums
  • Appearance of shock

If you think your dog may be developing or have pancreatitis, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible before the situation gets worse.

Recommended Digestive & Immune Support Products

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