Pancreatic Conditions

Learn about diseases of the pancreas, such as pancreatic cancer and diabetes in dogs and cats.

Select a Topic

  1. What are Pancreatic Conditions?
  2. What Causes Pancreatic Conditions?
  3. Diagnosing Pancreatic Conditions
  4. Help for Pancreatic Conditions
  5. More Information on Pancreatic Conditions

What are Pancreatic Conditions?

The pancreas is an important organ in your pet’s body which plays two significant roles. It produces the enzymes needed for the digestion of certain foods, and it produces the hormones such as insulin which are required for the metabolism of sugar and amino acids. When these functions are compromised a number of health complications can arise.

Pancreatic conditions are often serious and can include disorders such as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and diabetes. While symptoms will vary depending on the type of pancreatic condition, they may include a number of fairly broad symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, excessive thirst or general lethargy. If you suspect that your pet may have a pancreatic condition, then a tip to the vet is essential. 

What Causes Pancreatic Conditions?

The cause of pancreatic conditions is not always known, however, there do seem to be a number of common risk factors that increase the chances of your pet developing a pancreatic condition. These include genetic factors, diet, obesity, high-fat meals; build up of toxins in the body and trauma to the pancreas itself.

Diagnosing Pancreatic Conditions

When at the vet, make sure you provide your veterinarian with your pet’s medical history and a detailed description of symptoms. After a thorough physical examination, your vet will probably run some blood tests where hormone levels will be checked and signs of enzymes in the blood picked up. Additional testing and scans may be necessary if pancreatic cancer is suspected.

Help for Pancreatic Conditions

Treatment of pancreatic conditions will depend entirely on what condition is diagnosed. However, any pancreatic condition is generally considered to be serious and in many cases intensive veterinary treatment is necessary. This may include intravenous nutrition, surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy as well as life long medication such as insulin. Lifestyle changes including adjusting your pet’s diet and reducing fat intake are often advised.  

More Information on Pancreatic Conditions

Tips for pancreatic conditions
  • The treatment and prevention of pancreatic conditions often involves a change in diet. A diet low in fat and high in fiber is often recommended. Fatty meals, treats and table scraps should be avoided as fatty foods can trigger certain pancreatic problems such as pancreatitis.
  • Obesity is a growing concern in veterinary clinics as it predisposes pets to many health risks including illnesses such as pancreatitis and diabetes. Pet owners should aim at keeping their pets at their ideal weight and weigh their pets regularly to pick up on subtle weight gain. A healthy low-fat diet and adequate exercise is usually enough to avoid obesity.
  • Toxic build up in your pet’s system can cause weakened immune system and certain pancreatic conditions. Pesticides, conventional medications, house-hold clearers and low-quality diets can all contribute to toxic build up in the liver and should therefore be avoided as much as possible. Supplements are also available to help your pet detox.
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