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Chronic Pancreatitis | German Shepherd

The pancreas is one of the most important organs in a dog's – or a human's – body. The pancreas produces a number of vital enzymes that aid in the digestive process, helping your German Shepherd dog's body to break down the food he or she consumes into digestible particles, allowing your dog to absorb the nutrients from the food. However, when the pancreas is compromised, the enzymes “leak” out of their protected areas, and can damage other organs. German shepherd dogs who are obese, have high blood pressure, or a low-activity lifestyle are particularly susceptible to chronic pancreatitis.

Many of the warning signs of chronic pancreatitis in your German Shepherd dog are behavioral and not apparently obvious – you may realize that “something” is wrong without getting a good handle on what that “something” is. Nevertheless, if your German Shepherd dog is eating only rarely or seems to exhibit signs of stomach pain or injury upon eating, or if he or she exhibits an extreme, pained response to being touched in the abdominal area, have your dog checked out for chronic pancreatitis. While there is no guaranteed “test” for the disease, dogs suffering from chronic pancreatitis do show higher levels of liver and kidney function.

The severity of pancreatitis ranges from a slow series of uncomfortable attacks to a rapid degeneration in health leading to death. If you suspect your dog is suffering from chronic pancreatitis, take him or her to a veterinarian immediately. Do not feed your dog during the period of pain – this will only make the problem worse. Generally, pancreatitis is not fatal, so concentrate on managing your dog's pain and changing your dog's diet and exercise plan to avoid repeated escalations of the attacks. Some veterinarians prescribe corticosteroids or antibiotics in severe cases.

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