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How Nutrition Plays a Role in Pancreatitis

When you think of nutrition, you think about what us as humans, should be more diligent of in our own lives.  But are we also considering our pets nutritional needs as well?  In this blog, I would like to educate further on how nutrition is very important when it comes to our pet’s lives, especially when it comes to Pancreatitis.

I never realized how important nutrition really was in my pet’s life until one of my fur-babies Ciara (Valley bull Mix) ended up with Pancreatitis as a result of my poor nutritional choices on her behalf.  Ciara was the type of dog to never let anything keep her down, would eat anything offered to her and wasn’t probably as exercised as she should have been (leading up to her being classified as “overweight”).  One day, I noticed Ciara was not eating her meals and was very hesitant on taking any table scraps that I was offering her and her bowl movements appeared “greasy looking”, encased in a mucus-like sleeve and very yellow.  This behaviour carried on for about a week until it came to the point Ciara was not doing much other than lying on the floor and not looking so good (pale gum appearance, lethargic).  We thought being a little older in age that she may be painful from arthritis, so we administered a dose of Metacam to help with any pain and/or inflammation in her joints.  It was at this point that Ciara began to projectile vomit and become very vocal when we would try and touch her abdomen. Knowing that this was not her typical behavior we rushed her into our veterinarian at Pet Focus, whom ran a variety of diagnostics (such as, X-ray, Blood work including Snap Test for Pancreatitis).  When the results were in, it confirmed that Ciara was suffering some a bad case of Pancreatitis.  Like most owners, I myself, would give my dogs table scraps of steak, pork chops, and other types of fattier meats, foods that were deep fried or Barbecued, toast/bagels smothered in butter, you name it my dogs probably had it.  I never took their nutrition as serious as my own until the moment I was told that Ciara was in critical condition, would have to be hospitalized on IV fluids around the clock and in this case, may cost Ciara her life.  This important lesson has made me more diligent in feeding all my pets proper nutritional and balanced diets, keeping their weights within normal requirements and paying more attention to their overall health as a whole.  Ciara was one of the lucky cases whom recovered and was able to come home, but not without stricter guidelines and some unrepairable changes to her pancreas that now make Ciara more susceptible to further Pancreatic flare-ups.

Pancreatitis can be a very serious condition with our pets, which basically is a result of the pancreas becoming inflamed.  The condition can be life threatening and requires early diagnosis for best results.  The main function of the pancreas is to produce enzymes and help to digest food along with helping to produce insulin that regulates your pet’s blood sugars.  Pancreatitis can be acute and chronic.  Both onsets can cause severe inflammation within the pancreas.  There are many causes of Pancreatitis including, but not limited to:

  • Obesity and fed a poor diet that is high in fat.
  • Diabetes
  • Hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood)
  • Kidney disease/ Liver disease
  • High Cholesterol


Diagnosis of Pancreatitis can be found with many different methods, such as, examination/ palpation around the abdomen (looking for pain and/or possible swelling), blood work (CBC, Snap test, etc.), ultrasounds, etc. A list of symptoms you may see in a pet with Pancreatitis is some or all of the following:

  • Painful abdomen
  • Fever
  • Reduced or loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargic
  • Vomiting
  • Stool may appear yellow and even greasy
  • Dehydrated
  • Hunching their body


When treating pancreatitis, the key things that your veterinarian staff will do is start IV Fluids to help rehydrate your pet, if your pet seems painful in their abdomen pain medication can be added on along with some anti-nausea medication and lastly there would be a diet change recommendation made to assist with decreasing anymore flare-ups.  Your pet’s nutritional intake should consist of foods that are low in fat & carbohydrates, foods that can be easily digested and eliminating the amounts of table scraps your pet is receiving.


In conclusion, I learned that most “human foods”, especially those higher in fat & cholesterol could not only affect our health as humans but more importantly our fur-babies health.  Educating yourself and taking advantage of booking a Nutritional Consultation with your veterinarian staff, will not only help you choose a proper balance diet for your pets but also it will go a long way in ensuring the best overall health for fur-babies!!!



Please call us today at Harbour Cities Vet Hospital to book your Nutritional Consultation to find out how you can play a better role in your pets overall Nutritional health & Longevity!!!

Written by: The Harbour Cities Veterinary Hospital Team


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