Why the summer period can be a pain in the...pancreas!

Escha is a nine year old dog who normally loves her food. The day she stopped eating her owner knew something was wrong. When she came in to see us at Pascoe Vale Vet Hospital she had also developed a sore tummy, and kept on vomiting when she tried to drink water.

As she couldn't hold down water, Escha was quite dehydrated, and was admitted to hospital for rehydration therapy. She was placed on an IV drip and had a comprehensive blood screen taken. The blood results demonstrated that she was suffering from a condition known as 'pancreatitis', which causes extreme abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The pancreas is an organ that secretes digestive enzymes. Thus it was necessary to 'rest' her digestive system by not giving any food or water by mouth, which would stimulate the release of digestive enzymes and irritate her pancreas further. Escha had her fluids and nutrients delivered intravenously via a drip, and was also placed on a very effective cocktail of pain relief.

As the days progressed, Escha began to feel better, and even started eating small amounts of bland food without vomiting. A repeat blood screen showed that her pancreatitis was improving, but she needed to stay in hospital until we were satisfied she would be able to eat and drink at home without any problems. After five days of hospitalisation, Escha went home feeling much better!

There is often no known cause of pancreatitis, however, middle age females are more likely to suffer from it. Another known cause is when a dog eats a fatty meal (usually when they're not supposed to!). A summer BBQ is a favourite among many people, however, we must be very careful that our canine friends don't get into our left over sausages or other fatty meats.