Your dog is much more than just a pet. It is very much a member of your family, as anyone who has ever owned a dog would attest.
Naturally, one of your main concerns is to make sure that your dog enjoys a long and healthy life and that it is able to do the things that it enjoys, from playing in the backyard to learning a new trick.
The euthanization of a dog is quite a sensitive topic and it is really the last resort for you when it comes to your dog.
One of the conditions that might cause you to consider euthanization is pancreatitis.
You should take the following information into account if your dog has pancreatitis.
Learn More About Canine Pancreatitis
It is a good idea to start off by going over exactly what pancreatitis is and how it can affect your dog.
Simply put, pancreatitis is a health condition that occurs when the pancreas gets inflamed.
The pancreas is located next to your dog’s liver and close to your dog’s stomach.
The pancreas is critical for the proper digestion of food.
Additionally, the pancreas assists your dog’s body in controlling blood sugar.
The pancreas also has an important role in creating various different hormones.
Insulin is one of these hormones and insulin plays a crucial role in decreasing blood sugar.
Insulin also makes sure that fat is stored as efficiently as possible.
There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic.
Acute pancreatitis is the more serious type and may even cause death if it is not identified and treated quickly enough.
Chronic pancreatitis is a much less serious condition that can flare up occasionally.
These flare-ups are certainly rather nasty, but they do not threaten your dog’s life in any way whatsoever.
If your dog has chronic pancreatitis, euthanization is not something that you should really consider all that much, since your dog will still enjoy a good quality of life despite the condition.
What Causes Canine Pancreatitis?
Canine pancreatitis can have quite a few different causes.
A fatty diet is a common cause of acute pancreatitis.
Your dog might have the right diet when it comes to its dog food, but if you give your dog table scraps, it is quite possible that there is too much fat in your dog’s diet.
Dogs that get food by scavenging for it often suffer from acute pancreatitis.
Dogs that are constantly rummaging through your trash for leftovers are a simple and relatable example of scavenger dogs.
Other causes can lead to your dog developing acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis.
Some kinds of autoimmune disease, infection, exposure to pesticides and insecticides, and some medications are all things that can lead to canine pancreatitis.
If your dog’s pancreas is injured or suffers trauma, this can cause canine pancreatitis.
Some drugs that vets use following surgery can even cause canine pancreatitis.
Also, overweight dogs are also more likely to develop pancreatitis.
It is totally normal if your vet has trouble figuring out the exact cause of canine pancreatitis.
Do Some Dog Breeds Develop Pancreatitis More than Others?
Canine health can certainly vary depending on the dog breed.
You have probably heard that mixed-breed dogs are generally healthier than purebred dogs and this is true.
When it comes to canine pancreatitis, some dog breeds do seem to develop it more often than others.
More specifically, Yorkshire terriers as well as Miniature Schnauzers are the most likely dog breeds to develop acute pancreatitis.
On the other hand, collies, cocker spaniels, and boxers are more prone to chronic pancreatitis when compared to other dog breeds.
What Are Some Symptoms of Canine Pancreatitis?
The symptoms are somewhat different for acute pancreatitis compared to chronic pancreatitis.
Some symptoms of acute pancreatitis are bloody feces, listlessness, excessive yawning, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Appetite loss is another symptom of acute pancreatitis in dogs, too.
In the event that your dog experiences any of these symptoms, you should bring your dog to the vet as quickly as possible.
Severe pancreatitis may cause septic shock, organ failure, and possibly even death.
Colitis, occasional vomiting and diarrhea, and no desire to eat during flare-ups are the symptoms of chronic canine pancreatitis.
The flare-ups of chronic pancreatitis are infrequent and the symptoms are less serious compared to acute pancreatitis.
Your dog will become discomforted during these flare-ups, though.
It is important to get your dog some sort of treatment for chronic pancreatitis.
Otherwise, your dog may even develop diabetes.
How Does Your Vet Diagnose Canine Pancreatitis?
Your vet will likely have a tough time diagnosing canine pancreatitis simply based solely on the symptoms.
Your vet will run different tests in order to confirm the diagnosis of pancreatitis.
A spec-cPL test, an ultrasound, and blood tests are some of the tests that your vet may run.
The results of these tests should help your vet figure out exactly what is happening so they will know how to help your dog.
How Is Pancreatitis in Dogs Treated?
There are quite a few steps you have to take to treat a dog who has pancreatitis.
The first thing that you should do is make sure that you are extremely careful about what you are feeding your dog.
Your vet might take this a step further and put your dog on a diet, typically a diet that is low-fat and specially made for your dog.
It is possible that your dog will have to be hospitalized due to pancreatitis, though this is dependent on how serious the pancreatitis is.
This makes your vet’s job a bit easier.
One reason this is the case is that your vet can carefully observe your dog if it is hospitalized and take care of any dangerous situations.
Organ failure is one such example of a dangerous situation that a vet can handle quickly if your dog is hospitalized.
Your vet may hydrate your dog via an IV in the event that your dog is suffering from dehydration.
A vet can also respond more quickly to pancreatitis flare-ups in a hospital setting.
Anti-nausea medication in addition to painkillers can make it easier for your dog to get through any such flare-ups.
Encouraging your dog to eat some food is always recommended, even if your dog doesn’t have too much of an appetite.
You could experiment with different types of dog food such as wet food to entice your dog to eat.
This kind of treatment is helpful no matter what, but it is especially effective if your vet diagnoses your dog with a chronic form of pancreatitis.
When Should You Strongly Consider Euthanizing a Dog With Pancreatitis?
No dog owner ever wants to think about putting their dog down, but it is an unfortunate reality for many dog owners.
You should always discuss all the relevant factors that go into making this difficult decision with your vet and thoroughly discuss them so you have a complete understanding of the situation.
Some factors include your dog suffering from acute pancreatitis and going through either organ failure or septic shock and your dog experiencing frequent flare-ups that cause a loss of appetite, constant pain, and persistent lethargy.
Your dog’s age is one more factor, as is its ability to deal with any complications that pancreatitis can cause.
Dogs that have only mild or infrequent pancreatitis can enjoy a good quality of life for many years.
It really comes down to the vet’s diagnosis and the dog’s quality of life.
Pancreatitis is often treatable, so it is best to follow your vet’s recommendations for your dog’s specific situation.