The symptoms of pancreatitis can be similar to lots of other conditions
They include vomiting, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite
Your vet will want to do more tests, such as blood tests, ultrasound scans, and xrays
Pancreatitis also causes pain, which may lead to your dog adopting some odd positions!
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that is heavily involved in the process of digesting food. The symptoms of pancreatitis are associated with the digestive system and include:
Reluctance or refusal to eat
In the first article we mentioned that in pancreatitis the digestive enzymes are activated early and start to get to work on the pancreas. This causes one more important symptom; pain. Often when dogs have a stomach ache they will start to do doggy yoga - they’ll do a praying posture where they stretch out their front legs and lower their chest to the floor while sticking their bottom in the air. It pretty much looks like a dog that is stretching and holding the stretch for an unusual amount of time. They are stretching and holding like this to try to relieve the discomfort in the front of their belly (abdomen).
Pancreatitis can range from mild to severe and some poor dogs can have a pancreas that grumbles on in a state of inflammation in the background with occasional, more serious, flare ups. This chronic or long-term pancreatitis is unfortunately quite common in Miniature Schnauzers.
How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
If your dog is unfortunate enough to have pancreatitis you will no doubt end up at the vet clinic as they do tend to look particularly miserable.
If your vet suspects pancreatitis based on the symptoms you have described and their examination of your dog they may suggest further investigations.
Blood work is important as it will help to determine whether the suspected diagnosis of pancreatitis is accurate or whether the symptoms are due to something else (vomiting and diarrhoea can be a symptom of several other conditions). Based on routine blood work your vet may then go on to test more specifically for pancreatitis. There are some patient-side tests for pancreatitis that will give a yes or no answer but often sending bloods to a laboratory is helpful as it will help gauge the severity.
An ultrasound scan or x-ray can also be helpful. Sometimes blood work can be just as vague as the symptoms and imaging can help your vet have a look at the pancreas and/or the surrounding organs to check how angry it is and to rule out other painful abdominal conditions that cause vomiting and diarrhoea!
If your dog has had a diagnosis of pancreatitis and you’d like further advice or support, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of the MyDogDoc vets.