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Common Health Problems in West Highland White Terriers and Schnauzers

Canine Pancreas - What is it and what does it do?

 

The pancreas is a organ that is tucked underneath the stomach and is protected by the rib cage.

During a veterinary examination it is very hard to feel, as is  the liver, because they are not in an area where the vet can palpitate.

It has a couple of functions. One is to produce insulin and other hormone. Insulin is very important as it processes sugar and amino  acids. The other is to produce the enzymes needed to digest food.

What is Pancreatitis?

The Pancreas becomes inflamed and leaks digestive enzymes.  This causes damage to the Pancreas and this is always a very serious  illness. Never take it lightly.

If left untreated could cause diabetes, liver failure, and at its worse, death.

If you see any of these signs in your dog then take your dog to the vet because these things are not normal.

  • Vomiting Bile in the morning (yellow liquid)
  • Vomiting feedings a few hours after feeding.
  • Upset Stomach
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • Here are some of the things that can cause  Pancreatitis:
  • high fat content in blood)
  • Obesity
  • Cushing's, Diabetes
  • Contaminated food or water
  • Certain drugs and toxins including some diuretics, antibiotics, and  insecticides
  • Bacterial or viral infection

What is the future of a dog with Pancreatitis?

You can do things to prevent another bout of Pancreatitis.

First put your dog on a low fat diet. High fat causes many cases of Pancreatitis every year.

So that means:

  • No cookies or dog cookies with sugar
  • No fruit it is full of sugar)
  • No Pasta - grain, grain turns into sugar in a fat dog)
  • No butter, fatty sauces (a little fish oil is OK)

 

 You might be wondering why I'm telling you no sugar or foods that have  no fat in them. All the foods above if not processed by the body will  turn into sugar and excess sugar is turned into fat. And fat is the  enemy.

Second, Get a dog food with lots of fiber. If you can't get  enough fiber, add wheat bran. My dog is 18 pounds and he gets 1/3 cup  wheat bran every day.  BTW, he hates it.  It tastes like wood chips.   You will have to be creative in how to serve the dread wheat bran.  I  found that buying organic cooked pumpkin in a can (not for making pies)  and mixing it with the pumpkin works pretty good.

BTW, pumpkin is full of fiber. So there is another benefit.

Lastly this is a problem I've had with my Terriers and  every one of them has had Pancreatitis.  They may be a breed that is  predisposed to this condition.

I suggest you join a support group to keep learning about this mystifying illness.

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Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health, and fitness conditions of Westies and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing dog allergies - you should always consult your own veterinarian.