Too much consumption of fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in German Shepherds. The term pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas. When the pancreas is functioning normally, it produces enzymes that turn active only after they reach the small intestine. However, in a German Shepherd with pancreatitis, these enzymes become active inside the pancreas. This leads to inflammation and damage to the pancreas, surrounding tissues, and other nearby organs – disrupting the flow of enzymes into your pet’s digestive tract.
What is pancreatitis in German Shepherds?
The pancreas is a part of the endocrine and digestive system. The organ plays a vital role in converting the food your German Shepherd consumed into fuel. It has two main functions — exocrine that helps in your pet’s digestion and endocrine that regulates his blood sugar.
Pancreatitis occurs when enzymes produced by the pancreas stays inside and causes inflammation. It may also force the enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area. As a result, the digestive enzymes start breaking down fat and proteins in the pancreas and other organs and your German Shepherd’s body begins to eating out itself. Organs, such as the kidney and the liver, may also suffer from damages because of their proximity to the pancreas.
Pancreatitis in German Shepherds often progresses rapidly. If there is bleeding in the pancreas, your pet can go into shock and die. If not treated immediately, your German Shepherd’s enzymes may start damaging his own organs.
What causes pancreatitis in German Shepherds?
- Consumption of high-fat foods
- Abdominal trauma
- Diabetes mellitus
- Dietary indiscretion
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in German Shepherds?
If detected early, pancreatitis can be treated without causing any damage to the pancreas or surrounding organs. Dogs with pancreatitis often show the following symptoms.
- Distended abdomen or enlarged belly
- Loss of appetite
- Hunched back
- Fever or low body temperature
- Labored breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
If your German Shepherd suddenly shows more than one of these signs, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
How is pancreatitis treated?
Treatment of pancreatitis in German Shepherds may not succeed dealing with its root cause. For example, if certain medications are responsible for triggering pancreatitis, the vet recommends discontinue them with immediate effect. If the reason behind your German Shepherd’s pancreatitis is diet-related, the veterinarian may put him on prescription food.
Veterinarians often recommend avoiding any food or medications for the first 24 hours to let the pancreas rest. Administration of intravenous fluids is necessary depending on the severity of your German Shepherd’s condition.
After the first 24 hours of fasting, make sure to keep your German Shepherd hydrated. Give him lots of water. Veterinarians may also prescribe pain-killers. If your pet is having nausea or vomiting, the veterinarian may also prescribe drugs to control those symptoms. Dogs with pancreatitis may need to be put on a low-fat diet for life.
How to prevent pancreatitis in German Shepherds?
Here are some tips to prevent pancreatitis in your German Shepherd.
- Do not feed your dog bacon, fat trimmings, or any fatty food. Strictly avoid them.
- Keep garbage away from your German Shepherd’s reach.
- If you live in an area where wildlife roams free, fence your yard or simply do not let your pet get near any carcasses that he may devour.
- Check the nutritional contents of your German Shepherd’s food. Choose the one with specific levels of protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins, depending on your dog’s age. You may also consult your vet and ask for recommendations from other owners.
- Feed your German Shepherd smaller, more frequent meals instead of one large meal.