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Our Austin Emergency Vet Clinic Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Pancreatitis


If you see your dog dry heaving or your cat has inexplicably lost his desire to eat, there's a good chance that these are temporary situations -- but they may also be signs of a condition known as pancreatitis. Here are some frequently asked questions about pancreatitis as answered by our Austin emergency vet clinic.

  • What is pancreatitis? Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, a digestive organ that produces insulin (to regulate blood sugar) and key enzymes necessary for proper digestion. Pancreatitis can come and go as a chronic low-grade inflammation, or it can strike in acute bouts that require emergency treatment. Severe cases may cause life-threatening issues such as internal hemorrhage, sepsis and breathing problems. Pancreatitis can also lead to diabetes.
  • Why does pancreatitis occur? Poor diet featuring excess fats and carbohydrates may be a factor in chronic pancreatic inflammation. Pancreatitis is also associated with internal infections, reactions to some medications, abdominal injury, bile duct disorders and metabolic problems. Genetics can play an additional role in the development of pancreatitis.
  • Are some animals predisposed to pancreatitis? Certain dog breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers may be more likely to get pancreatitis. Siamese and Domestic Shorthair cats may also be more vulnerable to the condition than other felines.
  • What are symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs? Acute pancreatitis typically produces dog dry heaving, dog vomiting and dog diarrhea, although milder or "smoldering" cases may only display loss of weight and appetite or general weakness.
  • What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in cats? Feline pancreatitis can produce symptoms similar to canine pancreatitis, but there are also some notable differences. For instance, cats may be more likely to run a fever, show signs of hypothermia, become lethargic or develop an abdominal mass.
  • How does your Austin animal clinic diagnose pancreatitis? We can administer blood and urine testing to detect the telltale "signature" of pancreatitis, especially in the levels of certain enzymes. This helps us eliminate other possible causes of your pet's symptoms. If necessary, we can also perform a tissue biopsy.
  • What are the available treatments for pancreatitis? An acute bout of pancreatitis must be brought under control immediately. Our vet clinic may need to counter dehydration, give medications to stop dog vomiting or dog diarrhea or normalize a cat's electrolyte balance. We may also recommend changes in medications and/or putting your pet on a low-fat diet to relieve chronic stress on the pancreas.
  • What if my pet develops diabetes due to pancreatitis? If your pet's pancreatitis has led to diabetes, don't panic. Our veterinarian can prescribe the necessary diet, medication and other recommended measures to help him enjoy optimal health.

Get More Answers From Your Austin Veterinarian

Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin is always ready to answer your questions and help your pet. Call 512-331-6121 for a consultation with any Austin veterinarian on our team!