How to Treat Pancreatitis in Dogs

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Dogs sick on bedPancreatitis, or inflammation and swelling of the pancreas, is a painful and seldom-understood affliction that affects dogs worldwide. While spontaneous canine pancreatitis is not particularly well understood, veterinarians do have an idea of the causes that contribute to this condition, its related conditions and symptoms, and treatment methods to lessen symptoms. Navigate to the section of the article that interests you:

What Is Pancreatitis in Dogs?

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The term pancreatitis refers to the general condition of inflammation and swelling of the pancreas. There are two degrees of pancreatitis in dogs recognized by the veterinary community: mild and severe. There are also two variations of pancreatitis that describe the length of time which your dog has suffered from the condition: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is when the condition is sudden in onset, and there is no previous sign of the condition existing. Chronic pancreatitis is when pancreatitis occurs over a period of time. When the condition occurs suddenly in a dog, it takes many owners by surprise, and it can also cause a considerable amount of pain for the affected dog. The pancreas is a small organ shaped like the letter ‘V,’ sitting directly behind the stomach and the small intestine. The pancreas is responsible for producing specific enzymes that are used to promote digestion and enable the body to absorb fats in food. Without the pancreas, dogs would have no way to absorb nutrients from food.

Symptoms of Mild Pancreatitis

There are quite a few different symptoms of pancreatitis, and not all dogs show the same ones when they experience this illness. One of the most common symptoms seen in dogs is distention or pain in the abdomen. A dog with a distended abdomen will appear bloated and uncomfortable, unable to find a comfortable place to lie down. Your dog may also flinch or whine if you touch their abdomen. It is important to mention that other conditions can cause this symptom, including canine bloat, a serious condition which requires immediate medical attention. (For more information on canine bloat, and how to tell the difference between it and pancreatitis, see our Canine Bloat article)

Dogs with pancreatitis can also display the following symptoms:

  • Dehydration is often caused by a lack of appetite or thirst because eating and drinking elevates discomfort and pain.
  • Appearing hunched over when standing or walking is also commonly seen as well as bloat. Dogs walk this way because of the pain and pressure felt in their abdominal area.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea that often appears greasy and yellow in color.
  • Fever.

Symptoms of Severe Pancreatitis

Dogs that are experiencing more severe cases of pancreatitis may display the symptoms listed above; however, it’s more likely that they’ll exhibit more serious symptoms that, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can be life-threatening. Some of these more serious symptoms include:

  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a condition in which multiple hemorrhages can take place resulting in possible death.
  • Heart arrhythmia can occur in more severe cases of canine pancreatitis.
  • Sepsis is also something that can occur if a severe case goes untreated. Sepsis is a body-wide infection that occurs when toxins are released into the blood.
  • Can cause difficulty breathing.
  • In the most extreme cases, the pancreas and the organs surrounding the pancreas can be digested by pancreatic enzymes that are released from the ruptured pancreas. Once organs become partially digested, the damage that has been done is irreversible.

What to Do if you Suspect Pancreatitis in Your Dog

If you suspect pancreatitis in your dog, the first thing you should do is to ensure that your dog is in a stable condition. The next thing you want to do is to get your dog to your regular veterinarian. If your dog begins to display signs of the condition when your veterinarian is not on duty, your vet clinic may have a vet on call. Otherwise, they will refer you to an emergency vet’s office. It is crucial that you act quickly if you do suspect the condition as it can worsen and, not only cause your dog significant pain but can even kill them.

How Will my Vet Diagnose?

Another commonly asked question is: How will pancreatitis be diagnosed by the veterinarian? There are a number of important factors that play into an accurate diagnosis, including your dog’s medical history, a physical examination and laboratory testing.

Your Dog’s Medical History

Your dog’s medical history is important because dogs that have experienced a bout of pancreatitis once are far more likely to experience it again during their lifetime. If your vet has already treated your dog for this condition, then it is likely that they (and you) will be able to recognize signs right away. The age of your dog can also play a part in the risk for concern, as older dogs are more susceptible to suffering. Lastly, any current medical conditions may also play a part in your dog being diagnosed. While going over your dog’s medical history with you, your vet will also ask about current symptoms you have observed that lead you to suspect pancreatitis.

A Physical Examination

A physical examination will allow your vet to determine whether your dog is exhibiting any of the physical signs of pancreatitis. If you have already mentioned swelling in the abdomen or any of the other “tell tale” signs of this condition, your vet will confirm this with a thorough physical examination. Don’t be surprised if your veterinarian notices physical signs that you did not; you are not a trained professional and cannot be expected to notice the slight physical differences that vets are trained to look for. The physical exam will consist of visually examining your dog’s stomach area in addition to palpating it gently to check for bloating and tenderness. Your vet will also check your dog’s gums, take your dog’s temperature, listen to their heart, and look into their eyes and ears to check for any other signs of illness.

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory testing involves drawing blood and testing it for the presence of pancreatic enzymes. While dogs with this condition generally have increased white blood cell counts, this is not relied upon solely as a diagnostic criterion because there are many conditions that can increase white blood cells. When dogs experience pancreatitis, they usually have elevated levels of two specific pancreatic enzymes: lipase and amylase. If a blood test reveals high levels of these enzymes in the blood, then this diagnosis is usually confirmed. In addition to testing the blood for pancreatic enzymes, vets may also test for the presence of other enzymes such as those created by the liver. In cases of severe pancreas inflammation, the dog may also experience inflammation of this organ which can cause increased levels of liver enzymes in the blood as well. Veterinarians may also perform x-rays and ultrasounds to confirm a suspected diagnosis.

Pancreatitis Treatment

Treating Pain

One of the most important steps, for all concerned, in treating a dog with pancreatitis is controlling pain. For some dogs experiencing severe manifestations of this illness, the pain can be excruciating which is why vets will administer pain relievers when necessary. The type of pain reliever given may depend upon what your vet has on hand, any allergies your dog has, and any sensitivities your dog’s breed has to a specific medication.

Treating Potential Infection

Dogs that are treated for pancreatitis by vets also often receive a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics are taken as a prophylaxis to protect the dog against any infection that could result from complications associated with this illness.

Withdrawal of Food

Pancreatitis is a tricky condition in that the best medicine is resting the pancreas and controlling any complications that have arisen as a result of inflammation. Resting the pancreas, of course, means refusing food, water and any other consumable substance for 24 hours. This allows the pancreas to rest completely by removing any stimulation received by consumption. If the dog shows improvement after a resting period, they are permitted very small amounts of bland food. The type of food preferred by most veterinarians is a bland, prescription dog food designed to be easy on the stomach due to fewer ingredients and lower levels of fats. Food intake should be increased gradually rather than introducing full meals immediately because this can strain the pancreas and cause a relapse of symptoms. Depending on the individual dog, how they responded to treatment, and how severe their case is, the dog may require bland prescription food for the rest of their life or they may be able to return to their former diet.

Treating with Fluids

As with many canine conditions, it is important that a dog suffering from pancreatitis receives adequate hydration. Hydration not only means water but also a solution of balanced electrolytes. Most commonly in dogs with this condition, these electrolyte-rich fluids are given through an IV drip or subcutaneous injection. This method of hydration ensures that the animal is hydrated without taxing the pancreas more.


Very rarely is surgery suggested in cases of pancreatitis; however, there are cases when it is necessary. Most commonly, veterinarians will turn to surgery for patients that are experiencing significant intestinal complications such as bleeding. While surgery is not a preferred method of treatment, if bleeding or other intestinal complications are not addressed as soon as possible, they can result in even bigger complications such as sepsis or even death.

Avoid Do it Yourself Treatments

While many pets benefit from holistic medicine and natural treatments, some conditions should be evaluated by a professional veterinarian. If you prefer to treat illness through a holistic route, there are plenty of certified holistic vets available that can help immediately treat your dog’s pancreatitis. It is crucial that you never attempt do-it-yourself treatments such as tips read on the internet or “cures” that work for people; dogs are not built like humans, and they do not respond in the same way to certain foods and chemical substances. While you may think that you are administering a “calming herb” to your dog, you may actually be worsening their condition or even poisoning them. This is a serious condition and should always be assessed by a trained professional.

Determining the Cause of Pancreatic Symptoms

While no one knows exactly what starts pancreatic symptoms, there are some suspect elements that your vet will be familiar with. One of the common causes is medication. In this instance, your vet will be aware that the medication that they were prescribed could cause pancreatitis and they will know how to prevent future occurrences. In other instances, you may have to go through many questions and answers before you have any idea what started the pancreatic symptoms. Regardless of how you figure out what started it all, it is important to try to narrow it down so that you can reduce the risk of another episode in your dog.

When you find yourself being able to breathe again after the panic of rushing your dog to the vet, you may feel that you have more time to narrow down what could have caused your dog’s condition. You may find that the food you have chosen to feed your dog is simply too high in fat or that it was table scraps that caused the trouble or you may find that it was a medication your dog was taking for another condition. Regardless of what you find as the cause, try not to beat yourself up over it. We cannot undo the things that have already been done, but we can certainly learn from them. For example, if table scraps caused an issue, it is up to you to ensure that no one feeds your dog table scraps again. Become a responsible dog owner and take your dog’s health into your hands.

Here is a video to learn more Dr. Karen Becker, an integrative wellness veterinarian about Pancreatitis and some ways to prevent it in your pet.

What Is Fatal Pancreatitis?

The term “fatal pancreatitis” is used to refer to when the condition causes fatal complications to develop that eventually take the life of the dog. If pancreatitis becomes extremely severe or if a dog suffers repeated occurrences they can develop a number of other conditions that can lead to death including maldigestion syndrome and diabetes mellitus. Both of these conditions are treatable; however, when left untreated they will almost certainly lead to a fatal outcome.


There are a number of things that the veterinary community believes contribute to the development of this condition.

  • Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from this illness, in addition to other serious health conditions.
  • Dogs with hypothyroidism.
  • Female dogs more commonly experience it than males.
  • Ingestion of a single, high-fat meal can also cause the onset of acute pancreatitis.
  • Dogs with diabetes mellitus.
  • Certain bacterial or viral infections have also been known to predispose a dog to this condition.
  • Dogs with hyperandrenocorticism also known as Cushing’s disease.
  • Dogs with epilepsy.
  • Dogs with gastrointestinal tract disease.
  • Dogs with idiopathic hyperlipemia.


Pancreatitis is like that relative that just won’t leave: Even when they are gone, the thought of their return hovers in the back of your mind. If your dog has ever suffered from a bout of it, there is an extreme likelihood that they will experience a recurrence. Recurring episodes can be mild or severe in nature regardless of the severity of the original occurrence.

Preventing the Recurrence of Pancreatitis

As a responsible pet owner who cares about their dog, there are a number of things that you can do to help reduce the chance that your dog will experience a repeat episode of pancreatitis. Some of the tips that veterinarians offer to help reduce the chance of recurrence include:

  • Reducing food intake and increasing the exercise level of an overweight dog. Make sure not to underfeed or over-exert your dog during this type of approach, though. Weight loss should be slow and steady.
  • If your dog experienced a severe episode that left their pancreas damaged, provide any necessary medications to supplement pancreatic function.
  • Avoid feeding any human foods to dogs. Many human foods, particularly table scraps, are high in fat content which can prompt an episode this condition.
  • Feed multiple, small meals during the day rather than feeding one large meal at a time. This not only reduces the strain put on the pancreas during digestion, but it also lessens the likelihood for certain breeds to develop canine bloat.
  • If your veterinarian suggests keeping your dog on a low-fat diet, ensure that you comply to maintain healthy lipid levels in your dog’s body. High lipid levels can result in aggravation of the pancreas.

Vigilance is the Key in Catching Pancreatitis

Whether your dog has already suffered from a bout of pancreatitis or whether your dog has never experienced this painful illness, vigilance is the best way to guard against this unwelcome visitor. Aside from understanding what caused any previous attacks, being vigilant in helping your dog live a healthy lifestyle is the best thing that you can do, not only to ward against illness but to also extend the life of your furry companion. Read more about other illnesses in dogs and how you can treat t=.

Have you ever treated a dog for Pancreatitis?

Sara is a writer for Canine Journal. She adores dogs and recently adopted a rescue pup named Beamer. Whole she may be adjusting to life with another being to care for, she needed no time to adjust to all the extra love.

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Hi, my 10 yr old Chihuahua was diagnosed with pancreatitis last year while doing a routine bloodwork for dental cleaning. He levels are very high- Her belly is so hard and round , Lately she has been crawling up into my neck I can tell she is hurting she has tears in her eyes she doesn’t even look like my dog anymore. I have her on prescription dog food low in fat I feed her plain chicken in the morning for breakfast , she eats her dog food at night during the day she’ll go all day without drinking any water I sometimes use a syringe and force water down her. She doesn’t have diarrhea or vomiting. Because I’ve had spinal surgeries I’m laid up in bed and cannot walk her so she doesn’t get any exercise except playing with the stuffed animal once in a while. I’m taking her back to the vet next week I just feel so awful we live in the mountains i’ve tried to get a Pet Walker there is no one up here . I do have her on a anti-inflammatory medication the doctor gave me to keep at home. I also have noticed over the past year she does not like her back and touched at all even when they try to take her temperature she will try and fight the vet she used to never be like that .
Hi. Just wondering if anyone has a dog with cushings disease who has had a random severe pancreatitis attack?

Now that I know a little about cushings I think my girls had it for years.

She’s a 12 yr old Jack Russell. She’s had a hard last 6 months and I’m really worried I’m going to lose her.

I lost my 14yr old 6 months ago and chick (my jack) has just gone downhill since.

This Monday is 2 weeks since she ruptured her cruciate ligament. … A cpl of days after that she was diagnosed with cushings (the pituitary) them meds should arrive early next week. And on Monday she was really sick. (Vomiting)
Ive taken her to the vets straight away. Pancreatitis. Not a lot of information was given by the vet (which I’m fuming about) lots of money happily taken. She stayed overnight on an iv drip. Tuesday, she’s made a massive improvement (they fed her a little bit of chicken) and they were semi happy for me to take her home. So I thought she’d be good to go home (in 12 years she’s never not eaten but back to eating, again I thought she was fine). Nope. Not fine. She was so weak when we got home I just let her sleep. She’d been pumped full of medication, spent a night away from me (which she’s not used to at all) anyway I almost took her back in but I thought she’ll be ok. She’ll eat a little bit later. Nope. (I must add, before I left the vets they gave her an anti nausea injection – and something to increase her appetite) but she wasn’t interested in food. No food. Had a few sips of water when I’d put the bowl up to her but nope.

Wed morning, we go back in. She’s back on the drip. She stayed wed night and Thursday night (I’ve visited her twice each day – morning and night) she’s looked better and then she’s looked bad. It’s really messing with her and I can tell because I’m her mother and she’s showing me.
I’m about to go in soon to see her. I spoke with one of the vet nurses this morning and today she looks great and is “comfortable” but she’s not interested in food so they were going to give her some different meds to see if she’ll eat. So pretty much – they want her to stay in again overnight if she hasn’t eaten by this afternoon.

It’s cost me 500 per night, plus ultrasounds and X-rays and every consultation fee and meds left right and centre and I’m starting to go broke. I’m so upset and pissed off with all the mucking around. I just want my girl healthy and home. This Monday will be 2 weeks since she did her knee and I’m worried sick about her recovery from surgery once she can have surgery (God knows when now because of everything else)

She’s 12kgs and a Jack Russell. I’m not a bad mother. She’s just seem to have had every symptom possible of cushings.

I’m devastated. Can anyone shed some light on me?

I’m not giving up on her. She’s my world. I am starting to become broke and I don’t have pet insurance (I tried a few hrs ago but was declined because of age)

Can someone/anyone give me any advice please

Please know your dog loves you. I know because you said your her mom and she is showing you her pain. My ten your old miniture eskimo dog Princess died of Pancreatitus. Mine too showed me her pain but her love for me never died not even at her sickest. Just do your best.
My Corgi just got diagnosed with pancreatitis. How do you know if your when is in pain?
They will show symptoms such as: shaking, twitching, stiffness when walking, laying down often, whimpering, drooping their head, being too weak to go outside to potty, loss of appetite.
These were most of the symptoms my dog who was diagnosed yesterday had. Mainly the shaking means pain.
Jilda Loomis
I wanted to tell our story because in many cases there can be great quality of life for your dog even with pancreatitis. My little chihuahua/terrier is 18 and has had pancreatitis for over10 years, diagnosed about 6 years ago. It is chronic pancreatitis and thankfully I have been able to control most of the symptoms with an extremely low fat, homemade diet. She is so afraid of vets that I rarely take her in anymore. She knows to not eat for a day when she is having an acute episode, she rests her pancreas, and then resumes eating small amounts when she is feeling better. Due to her age, she sleeps a lot anyway, but oddly, when her pancreas hurts, she walks around the house until she can finally lie down in a strange position with her head down and her back end elevated, trying to stay off of her abdomen. I facilitate her with this by propping her up with pillows and blankets. After a good long sleep she is usually ready for some nourishment again. I feed her mostly chicken or turkey breast, a bit of rice and ground up vegetables. Making a very lean, virtually no fat, stew or soup, cooking the chicken bones for hours for the broth before removing them, (also use rabbit occasionally, which she loves) is a great way to get them to drink lots of fluids and get great nutrition. It has meant everything to my dog. Fortunately, she has never been over weight, so I haven’t had that to contend with. Sushi is still a happy dog even with cataracts, deafness, some arthritis, and pancreatitis. She still runs and jumps through the house in anticipation of her meals and loves her comforts.
Jen Schilling
My dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis a couple weeks ago and, after a week of being in and out of the vet (IV Fluids, injections, x-rays, and a 3 day stay) the doctor sent us home with Famotidine, clavamox, endosorb, and Advita powder. My little guy was doing ok, after his back and forth vet visits his vomitting and constipation slightly subsided. However, now that his medication is finished, he has gone right back to being very lethargic and literally, cannot keep ANY food or water now. My dog is a 60lb Pitbull and he is now down to 50lbs since he’s been sick. I’m at my wits end and am TERRIFIED to lose him. He just turned 1 year old and is my everything since I have no children. My vet won’t give us more medication, and I can’t afford to do the week long vet visits for another vet. PLEASE HELP!
Kimberly Alt
I’m so sorry your dog is sick Jen. My only recommendation can be to visit another vet. I look at my dogs as my children, if one of them is sick, I take them to the vet. I know it can be expensive and I’m so sorry it is a bill that is difficult for you to afford at this time. If there’s any way you can see another vet and set up a payment plan with them that would be great. Your dog needs veterinary care, this is a life threatening situation for him. Again, I am so sorry you and your dog are facing this and I hope he gets the care he needs soon.
Jen Schilling
Thank you. I made an appointment with another vet after posting this and we go in this morning. Thankfully, my little guy is acting happier, today, and is holding food AND water down and we haven’t even gone yet! Wish us luck!
Kimberly Alt
That’s so great to hear, Jen! Keep us updated on how everything goes, best of luck!
Hello, my female pit has just gotten diagnosed with pancreatitis As well. She is only two, and when I noticed she was not acting herself I brought her into the vet right away. They gave her fluids and took her blood. She is now on 4 different medications for 5 days. It has been one day since she has been medicated and she seems to be feeling much better. She is eating and drinking but I’m still worried she will have another attack. I really spent all my money on her first visit to the vet, I’m worried she might get sicker. Is there anything that you did for your dog to relieve the pain and help him get back to normal. I love her and will do anything for her I just want her to feel better.

How is your dog doing? Did anything work for him that I might be able to do for my dog.

Did your baby heal up? I rescued an abused and neglected female pittie who also has pancreatitis. Probably from severe blow at young age. I almost lost her twice and she’s been doing so good but just before I left for work she ate 2 sticks of butter and a chocolate pudding. I freaked out. Couldn’t go to work. Tried peroxide but she knows what it is and fought me til it was too late to give it. Now I’m just waiting.
I’m so sorry to hear about these poor pups. Hope they are doing better. I also have a pittie/boxer who was just diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. It’s strange – I’ve always connected pancreatitis to little dogs who eat a lot of people food. Her problem is compounded by her paralysis (hit by a car when she was about 4) she is partially incontinent anyway and the constant diarrhea is really wearing me down. We have been to two vets and neither suggested hospitalizing her (probably because she is so difficult to care for!!!) I do feel that beyond the basic meds that have been prescribed (antacid, pred (tapering off that – doesn’t seem to do anything anyway), clavamox, and pain pills(Gabapentin which she takes anyway as needed for her arthritis and paralysis issues) the crucial element is diet. The diet foods that vets provide just don’t inspire a lot of confidence and my dogs won’t eat them. Every day I’m feeding the raccoons with the uneaten dog food. So why is it so hard to find a good scientifically sound home-cooked diet recipe? That is my job today. I want my strong-hearted little girl to reach her 13th birthday.
Eve bayford
Hi can anyone help me
My boy Leo who is a King Charles cavalier who will be ten next march
He has chronic pancreaitas he is under a vets
He is on gastrointestinal low fat dry food
His problem is he has constantly got runny poos
I have been back to the vets so many times the last time his poo was really loose watery he was given steroids and metrobactin within three days his poo was worse I phoned vets and was told to stop melds
I feed him three times a day so it’s not so hard for him to digest
It’s getting to the point I can’t take him out because of his runny poo it goes all down his legs
Apart from all the above he is healthy do gets excited when I give him his food
He does not have anything else
I am at my wits end now have made another appt for sat to see vets
Any advice would be appreciated
Have you tried pumpkin? NOT WHAT WE USE FOR PIES, there is products for dogs available. I was told it’d be fine for my dog with some of these issues
My dog was just diagnosed with pancreatitis. He has chronic diarrhea for a long time. I give him 3 tablespoons of pure pumpkin 2x day with his fixed his diarrhea and anal gland pain.he is 15lb dog. He is on low fat prescription diet ma 7%fat. No treats except has helped a lot. Good luck.
Saturday everything was completely normal but Sunday (yesterday) my wiener/beagle mix, Dunkin started acting lethargic. At first I thought he was just tired, but immediately knew something was wrong when he vomited. Since I had to work early this morning, my boyfriend took him to the vet as soon as they opened and I just received a message that he’s been diagnosed with pancreatitis and is currently on an IV and catheter.

The vet also told my boyfriend that he expects it to be a very long surgery. Just curious as to how many others have had to go down the surgery road? It was my understanding that surgery, while a possibility, is actually somewhat rare for treatment. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on and waiting for a call back from the vet. Any tips will be greatly appreciated!!

Hi Sherri,
I’m not sure if my last comment posted or not. How is your dog? Surgery is very rare. But if your dog had any intestinal bleeding they may have needed to do surgery to stop the bleeding . In some instances it can cause sepsis. Did they mention anything to you about that? I think that would be the only reason surgery would be necessary. My dog also has pancreatitis. It is so horrible to see them hurting. She had it really bad three months ago, and now again but levels are not as high as they were. I hope your dog is feeling better. You too!!
Shona Allan
Hi Sherri I’m currently going through the same thing with my little dog at the moment she’s still not drinking water and she wasn’t eating for days she’s managing to eat white fish and rice at the moment been at the vets from Saturday and she had been getting fluids twice and she’s been getting injections for pain relief and the vets sent me home with some medication Nutramed they’re called.
Tracy Yeary
my pomerian develop pancreatitis then one day no energy lifeless took him to the emergency room ivs for a couple days he still not eat visited him encourge him to eat he would refuse. with the ivs he got some strength back. brought him home he still refuse to eat took some water at times. he just laid in bed. with no strength to move he manage to raise up and growl when someone came into the bedroom. he was going to guard our space. had to put him down he was in pain. has been a couple of months now and constantly think of him. he was a great companion. always wanted to go for a ride and be by my side. when didnt take him he was joyful to see me and wanted to be pet and run to my arms to be held he was nine i miss him so much
Kimberly Alt
I’m so sorry for your loss Tracy. I recommend you read this thread for help on moving forward after the loss of a pet. My thoughts are with you, thank you for sharing your story with us.
Hi. My dog, a 7.4 pound Pekingese, was recently on an antibiotic prescription for a tooth/gum infection. She is otherwise healthy and lean. She stopped eating on Friday. When she continued to not eat on Saturday I then, that evening bought her her favorite food, McDonald’s hamburger. She ate half of it (meat only) but then stopped and threw up. At 7 a.m on Sunday I was at the Vet. He attributed her not eating to her mouth/gum infection. He gave her some new antibiotics. She still would not eat. Monday morning at 7 a.m. I was at my regular Vet. He diagnosed her with pancreatitis and started an IV for fluids. He said she needed nutritional support and referred me to a 24 hour specialty center here in LA. It’s now Wed and I just got off the phone with the Vet. My dog now weighs under 5.4 pounds! I asked what they were doing for her nutritional support, assuming she had been given enteral or parenteral nutritional support. She says “we’ve been trying to feed her chicken.” My dog, since she was a puppy had a heart murmur. Now I’m really concerned that her anorexic condition could kill her by adversely impacting her heart. Shouldn’t she be getting nutritional support other than just trying to feed her chicken?
Hi, we had our 6month old basset spayed last Monday, (she was also xrayed whilst under anaesthetic and found to have hip dysplasia) came home that afternoon quite bright. Started vomiting Thursday, Friday morning taken back to vet, was admitted, bloods done, slight temperature. Initially they thought she had a gut reaction to the meloxicam, so have her on Iv fluids. No improvement yesterday, however this morning (Sunday) I was told she was suffering from pancreatitis. She had improved a little when I visited today. After researching I feel this has to of been caused by the surgery, what are your thoughts and do you think she could have ongoing pancreas issues?
thanks you for the information. I found it very helpful.
Kimberly Alt
Happy to hear it helped you!
My Sheltie, has pancreatits. She is not eating. The also said, that her liver did not look good, she has fluid around her heart and in her lungs. I have her home now and am giving her meds. How do you know if your dog is in pain? She seems like she isn’t, but I don’t want her suffering. I am heartbroken.
My 12 yr old Cocker spaniel is at the vets he been there 2 days he has pancreatiits is he gonna be OK he on drip and pain killers he not eating
Hi I’m Caroline and I have a dog with pancreatitis. I am struggling to contain his condition and again I’m back to the vets because of diarrhea. He’s on Royal Canin Gastro low fat complete and now up to 4 sprinkles of enzymes per day. We have recently had several weeks where he has gained some of his weight loss and gone without diarrhea but now it’s back again. Luckily he seems fine in himself, he’s not eating anything other than the above I promise you. What (other than the vets) can I do.
Vickie Richards
I normally do not offer advice as I am not a vet but my toy sized baby has chronic pancreatitis. He currently sick. He is almost 17. Over the years one of his vets allowed me to experiment with milk thistle. I gave it to him at the onset each time. To research it just Google it but it is found in several places. I order it from Amazon and it is not expensive. Other than this the diet is key. NO guy got this bout from stress. Yes, even stress that upsets his body (travel). Anyway, along with hydration this herb seems to be a gods send for him. I hope you find this helpful.
My shit-zu/maltese mix “Hedgie” [18 lbs]went to a veterinary hospital for a TOTAL WORK UP for seizures and was put on phenobarbital…within 2 weeks he was back in the hospital with acute pancreatitis and within 24 hours died…we are devastated. Why was the pancreatitis not discovered in the many many many many tests he had prior to putting him on phenobarbital? Has anyone else experienced this?
Yes I have a Tibetan spaniel who is on phenobarbital and has had multiple bouts of pancreatitis. He has been hospitalized several times only for IV fluid. He has had 3 bouts in the past two weeks. Other than keeping him hydrated not much else vet says can be done. He does take 1/2 of Pepcid 10 mg per day when he is ill. I would like any further information available.
Deb Alexander
My min pin had been in vet hosp last Monday to yesterday with pancreatic is. I brought him home but has been throwing up water & grass since yesterday. Is that normal?. (That’s all he has eaten) He had been on IV’s for 7 days. My vet said he should not be throwing up now so I wonder if the grass is making him vomit. Should I take him back to the vet?
Kimberly Alt
Here’s an article about why dogs eat grass. I suggest you call your vet and ask if you should make an appointment for him to be seen. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your vet, so I’m sure the vet will be honest with you about your dog’s condition. Please let us know how it goes. Your dog is in our thoughts.
My dogs threw up after eating grass , every time
Update on my 10 yr old pug. Took him to the vets got blood work done the whole nine yards he has pancreatitis put him on a bland diet,pepcid ac and a pain pill. Should start feeling better if not call and he will have to go into the hospital and get an iv to flush his pancreas out. Will keep you updated on his progress. So glad we didn’t wait that long to help the little guy.
Kimberly Alt
I’m so glad you got him into the vet when you did. Thank you for keeping us updated. Our readers truly benefit from reading pet parent’s firsthand stories. It helps them know what they should do if they are faced with the same scenario. Hoping for a speedy recovery for you doggie!
My 7 month maltipoo has pancreatis after eating a few pieces of chicken skin. After a while, he was backt to normal but I noticed that he was licking his butthole a lot and it was red with white. He wasn’t able to poop even after long periods. My parents don’t want to take him to the vet because of the costs, but I am very worried. Please Help!!
Kimberly Alt
Try showing your parents articles online about the severity of pancreatitis. Hopefully this will convince them that your dog needs to see a vet immediately.
KM Snow
My 60 lb. 5 year old boxer was diagnosed with pancreatitis about a year ago. I first noticed that she would stop eating and run outside to vomit. Then she would come back in and finish, then vomit again. She didn’t play much and just seemed like she couldn’t get comfortable. The vet gave me a prescription for Hills Low Fat but she could not tolerate that either. No dry (even soaked) or canned food was working. After some reading on the web, I tried Honest Kitchen dehydrated food. I bought the Preference Base Mix (low fat). You need to reconstitute by adding hot water and for this mix, you add your own protein. It smells kind of “green” but oh my she loves it and she has not vomited at all on this food. It is not cheap and not sold in many stores, but I get it online through Chewy. My recipe for one week worth of food is: 5 lbs of boiled 90/10 hamburger, 5 large chicken breasts, 2 boxes of brown rice and 6 2/3 cups Preference. I boil the hamburger in 12+ cups of water and the chicken in enough water to cover. After draining the water off the beef, I put it in the fridge to let the fat harden. Then I remove the fat and use the beefy water to cook the rice and hydrate the Preference. I shred the chicken and mix all meat, base and rice together. I use containers that hold just enough for one day. I keep one in the fridge ready to eat, one frozen in the fridge thawing and the rest in the freezer. Its easiest for me to boil the meat at night and let the fat harden overnight in the fridge. Then its pretty quick to make the next day. It is a lot of work and cost quite a bit but she seems to be doing so much better. I feed her about every 4 hours. She looks a little thinner than she was originally but not as thin as she was when she was vomiting all the time. Occasionally I will add scrambled eggs or fat free cottage cheese just to surprise her. When my daughter’s dogs come to visit, they get so excited if I give them a little scoop too. I know this was a lot to read but I just hope it might help someone. It is so scary to hear that your dog has something that can be fatal. Its especially hard when dogs get so much enjoyment out of eating but now they can’t without pain. Having boxers my whole life, disease and illness is way to common unfortunately. Best wishes for all!
Kimberly Alt
Thank you so much for this detailed comment. I’m sure our readers will find it extremely helpful. It’s great to hear that your dog is doing better!
Kristin Tagen
hi, I’m currently helping care for my grandmothers dog shuz/palm mix who was diagnosed with this condition. I have previously cared for my own dog (Rottweiler) and now 4 years later is alive and doing very well. my concern with my grandmothers dog is that the vet has told us to do everything different then what was asked of me by my vet, and her dog is currently upon death, as her vet told her to feed small amounts of digestive care, upon bringing her home, as well as some iv fluids, penicillin, nausea meds, and pain meds (at which time I was confident that she would recover as it was caught early enough). at the 2nd visit two days later there improvement her blood sugar level went from 600 plus down to 300. while there they added 125mg Metronidazole every 12 hours, after which her condition has worsened and was returned to the vet for the 3rd time at which time they sent home Zeniquin 25 mg. her dog has gone from bad to almost death. there is what we believe to be blood in her urine, she can barely breathe and is at the vets now (we are waiting to hear results) she is not even retaining water at this point. is there anything we can do to safe her? please help my grandmothers dog as she is 80 years old and not doing very well. I feel that this will cause her to make a turn for the worst.
Kimberly Alt
I’m so sorry Kristin. The best advice I can give you is to consult a third vet’s opinion. He/she is more knowledgeable in this disease and will be able to provide further help. Please keep us posted and best of luck.
Just want to share – if there’s anything we should be doing comments are welcome.

Saturday our Boston woke and vomited frequently and we took him to ER vet. Blood work and snap test given likely pancreatitis diagnosis. Given fluids under the skin, cerenia, and sent home with antibiotic, pain meds, probiotic and cerenia. Ate small meal with probiotic and rice on Sunday morning. Was drinking still on his own. Vomited once very late Sunday night/Monday morning. Took back to vet Monday afternoon and given fluids under the skin again today. Stopped drinking on his own around 10 Monday morning. Hasn’t eaten anything since that mean on Sunday. He is back at the vet today for additional blood work, xrays and fluids….this seems to be getting worse. What can we do to help? So distraught.

Susan Gross
About four weeks ago our vet put our Westie on a low fat prescription food. We took her in today to be rechecked. Her lipa (I think that stands for lipase) test showed an increase! Now she has an antibiotic to take. It seems strange that she is not responding positively to the food change. She also went from 14 to 14.5 pounds. So, now we’ll give it another four weeks to see if she improves.
Wendy kirke
Our pup was called Tilly and she was the best most gentle pup you would find.
Kimberly Alt
Tilly is such a beautiful name. We extend our most sincere condolences to you.
Wendy kirke
My 2 year old pup died Thursday night after being diagnosed with pancreatitis. Took her to the vet, they gave her 3 injections and a course of antibiotics and said take her back if she’s no better in 24 hrs. We gave her a tablet Thursday night she looked very uncomfortable but didn’t make a sound, we took her to bed. She had passed away in her bed when we woke in the morning. We are devastated, our vet should have done more in my eyes, taken blood and put her on a drip. It’s eating me alive, I feel we let our pup down, did she suffer in the night? I was taking her back to the vet in the morning, I feel so awful, she was our baby, feel so angry I will be ringing my vet tomorrow for answers as they didn’t seem at all concerned that a young healthy pup’s life was taken in the space of 15 hrs of seeing the vet, our lives will never be the same again.
Kimberly Alt
I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is never easy. Know that our thoughts are with you. It sounds like you had a very close bond with your dog. I’m sure she loved you very much and knew that she was cared for greatly. This article may be helpful for you and please, feel free to share anything about your dog with us. Sometimes it helps to talk about your favorite memories with you dog. We are hear for you during this difficult time.
Hi my toy poodle Jase became ill a day after we had him groomed, he had a fever of 105 when we took him to our veterinarian. Two dr’s have examined him done tests and diagnosed Jase with pancreatitis. They hospitalized him giving him IV fluids, IV antibiotics, pain meds, etc. Last Monday through Thursday night, he became depressed Dr said we could take him home his temp was 102. I had to take him back to vet for IV fluids Fri and Sat. Sun I took him to vet and ask dr if I can give IV flux at home, she taught me how and I have been doing this twice a day since Sunday. She said Jase needs a sonagram. Because he is not getting any better, they had done an X-ray and it showed inflamed pancreas. But dr said sonagram will show more. Monday this week Jase had sonagram at another vet off our dr’s and these dr’s are in touch with each other. Sonagram showed pancreatitis nothing else. This morning I took his temp it was 104.2, last night it was 102.3 then went up to 103.6 at 9pm. I have taken him back to vet his temp is 103.6 now they are doing chest X-ray now to see if he has pneumonia, and urinalysis and urine culture next. His fever won’t go away. Today it’s 1 1/2 weeks of him feeling horrible in pain on 2 antibiotics every 12 hrs .50 tramadol every 8 hrs. He won’t eat or drink and has become anorexic.
Kimberly Alt
I’m so sorry this is happening to your pup Kristi. Perhaps you’d like to seek another vet’s opinion to see if they can diagnose anything different or anything else that can help him? We will be thinking of you an please keep us posted on his recovery.
Mary Ann Gaida
I had my 5 lbs dog on tramadol every 8-12 hours. She did terrible and finally I stopped after the second day and she was much better! They diagnosed her with pancreatitis also! Some dog can get bad stomach problems from that and it doesn’t agree with them. Since stopping that drug she is doing much better, go on the internet and see what people are saying about it! I still have her on amoxicillin now! Try a different pain med as soon as possible! Not all dogs can tolerate tramadol.
You do realize 102.5 temperature is normal for dog, right?
Ari Passy
Kristi how is your dog? My maltipoo is showing similar symptoms.