The pancreas is a small organ with a dual purpose. It releases digestive enzymes to aid with digestion, but is also responsible for the production of several important hormones, such as insulin, that help control glucose in the bloodstream. All vertebrate animals, from birds, to canines, to humans, have some form of pancreatic tissue aiding with digestion. Problems concerning the pancreas may not always be serious, but have the potential to be deadly.
In canines, inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, is a common problem. It is often difficult to pin-point the original cause of pancreatitis as it can be brought on by physical trauma to the abdomen, bacterial and viral infection, or even by the ingestion of excess fatty foods. Inflammation occurs when a problem in the pancreas causes the digestive enzymes to activate while still inside the organ, which results in the slow digestion of pancreatic tissue. Pancreatitis can be diagnosed as either acute or chronic. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden occurrence and should not return once treated. Chronic pancreatitis is diagnosed when the problem persists or returns frequently, and could signal a more serious metabolic problem.
Symptoms of pancreatitis are often noticeable. They include, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration and tenderness or pain in the abdomen. However, all of these symptoms may be caused by other diseases. If you suspect that your dog may be ill, it is imperative that you bring them to the veterinarian immediately. Once your canine has been diagnosed, treatment is usually simple. In order to allow the pancreas to heal and resume normal functioning, you must refrain from feeding your dog. Any amount of food, water, or even medicine entering the mouth will cause digestive enzymes to be released, and should be avoided during treatment. In order to avoid dehydration, fluids may be given intravenously. Solid food should then be reintroduced gradually, and should consist of food that is easily digestible with low fat content.
Obesity and high fat content in the blood are common causes of pancreatitis. Ensure that your dog is receiving a good diet. Table-scraps may be delicious, but human food can often be extremely high in fat. Never give your dog left-over bacon. The sudden spike of fat content in the blood could be enough to cause acute pancreatitis. Cat food is also very high in fat content, so if you own a cat, make sure your dog is eating out of the right bowl. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds are energetic dogs and love exercise. Setting aside time to give your protection dog the exercise it requires will not only keep your dog happy, but will also keep it healthy and fit so that it can continue to protect you and your family with peak efficiency. Pancreatitis may also be caused by infection. Often, the infection comes from other dogs, but bacteria in spoiled meat may also cause problems in the pancreas.
Keeping your protection dog, guard dog or security dog healthy is not difficult. Good exercise and good diet are important to the health of any mammal. However, some infections may simple be unavoidable. Knowing what symptoms to look for and how to respond is key to keeping your dog in good health.