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Let’s Beat Pancreatitis!

By Stephanie Minturn

We have all heard of pancreatitis and most of us are well aware that it can become a problem in pets just as easily as in humans. What most people don’t know, however, are some of the details of this issue and how a natural, raw diet, like the Barf diet, can help to eliminate the incidence of this disease.

First, let’s talk definitions. Simply put, pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas (an organ located in the abdomen) becomes irritated and inflamed. Though small, the pancreas is very important, as it is responsible for producing hormones such as insulin and glucagon to control metabolism and glucose levels as well as other enzymes which are critical for digestion. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, digestive enzymes which are normally inactive until reaching the small intestine, become active in the pancreas instead. This causes a plethora of symptoms and can cause serious damage to the organ if the condition becomes chronic.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pancreatitis but it has been found that it can be attributed to certain factors including a high fat, low protein diet, trauma, predisposing conditions such as Diabetes or Cushing’s Syndrome or certain medications and toxins.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Sleepiness or depression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain as evident by unusual posture or guarding of the abdominal area
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Jaundice

If you notice these symptoms in your pet, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Diagnosis is usually determined by blood tests which analyze enzyme levels. Elevations suggest pancreatitis but do not provide a definitive diagnosis as other health issues may also reflect elevated levels. Abdominal X-rays and Ultrasound may be performed as well as a needle aspiration biopsy to help identify whether or not your pet is experiencing true pancreatitis.

So how is it treated? Unfortunately, it’s not easy. There is no magic medication that will simply take this away. The treatment can be a lengthy process and is circumstantial to each pet. The plan of care often includes pancreatic rest, reducing the inflammation and pain and preventing further complications such as dehydration as well as keeping the dog free from infection. Usually, with acute pancreatitis, the dog is hospitalized and restricted from consuming any food or fluid by mouth for 3 to 5 days. This allows the digestive system to rest without the stress of creating enzymes. Once enzyme levels are within normal limits, small amounts of a low fat diet may begin. Antibiotics, pain medication and anti-emetics are often administered to minimize complications.

I know what you’re thinking, what an awful thing for our pets to endure! The good new is, pancreatitis can be prevented! And even if your dog has already been plagued with a pancreatic attack or even suffering from chronic pancreatitis, it’s not too late for help!

There articles out there that will tell you that it’s time to start practicing “tough love” on your pet and forcing them to abide by a low fat diet which you know they will hate.

So, is a diet that helps keep a lean body mass really that important? It absolutely is! But what if I told you that there is a diet that can not only help lower body fat but can also provide the living enzymes which are so crucial for digestion? A diet that gives your pet’s pancreas a break, so it doesn’t have to work so hard? Does this really exist? The answer is YES, it certainly does! The BARF World diet does just that and more! Except, you certainly won’t be practicing “tough love!” While providing low fat, high protein content, your pet’s risk of pancreatitis is significantly lower and your dog is sure to love his natural, raw meat diet meaning that you can have a healthy AND happy pet! How can you go wrong? To learn more about pancreatitis and how The BARF diet can help, visit our website at www.barfworld.com or call us at 1-866-282- 2273 (BARF)!

Mueller, Robert. “My Dog Has Pancreatitis. Can a Raw Dog Food Diet Help?” 11 June 2014. Blog.barfworld.com

Simpson, Mary. “Let’s Talk About Pancreatitis in Dogs.” 3 March 2015.

“Pancreatitis and Diabetes.” August 2001. www.caninediabetes.org.

Saxon, Bill. “Acute Pancreatitis in Dogs.” May 2014. www.pethealthnetwork.com.

Stephanie, is a Registered Nurse and proud mother, of 4 whom has always loved animals and the purity and beauty they bring into the world. She enjoys researching current trends and evidence based practice in the pet industry and relating it to the healthcare industry for humans. She has passion in discovering new found knowledge with other pet owners like herself.

 
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