Tis the season for Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing hormones (i.e. insulin) and enzymes which aid in the digestion of food.

Causes of pancreatitis

The exact cause of pancreatitis is usually not known, however there are a number of known contributing factors which increase a dog’s risk of pancreatitis. One of the major triggering factors is the consumption of a high fat meal, particularly in dogs who are not used to eating high levels of fat. As vets we often see a spike in pancreatitis around Christmas time when pets have had access to offcuts of rich, fatty meals such as pork, bacon, ham and lamb. These food groups and other fatty meals should be avoided to reduce the risk of your pet developing a painful bout of pancreatitis. Other contributing factors may include obesity, some medications, concurrent medical conditions and gastrointestinal trauma.

Clinical signs of pancreatitis in dogs

Dogs who fall ill with pancreatitis are often nauseas and develop vomiting, abdominal pain, fevers and occasionally diarrhoea. Some dogs with severe pancreatitis may even develop acute shock, where death may occur.


Successful management of pancreatitis heavily relies on early diagnosis and prompt medical treatment with your local veterinarian. The prognosis for pancreatitis depends on the extent of the disease and response to initial therapy.