What increases the risk of Pancreatitis?

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Albany Veterinary Hospital
312 Albany Highway
WA 6331

08 9841 1788
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Pancreatitis is a very debilitating and serious disease of dogs and cats and is commonly associated with the feeding of a meal high in fat such as the barbeque leftovers or the skin and bones off the ham at Christmas time.  There are usually some other contributing factors which are present prior to the initial episode and we can often reduce these.

Pancreatitis will affect both cats and dogs although it is relatively rare for us to diagnose the problem in cats. 

Breeds that are of increased risk of pancreatitis are Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Siamese Cats.  Pancreatitis can affect all breeds but if you have pets from the above breeds you need to have a careful eye out to ensure that you reduce other contributing factors where possible.

Pets who are middle aged or older, more than 7 years, are at increased risk of suffering an episode of pancreatitis and predominantly female pets are affected.

Like so many other diseases the risk of pancreatitis is increased with increasing weight and as a general rule most pancreatitis cases also suffer from some degree of obesity.  Elevated levels of fat in the blood are often found in patients suffering from pancreatitis although the reason why this contributes to pancreatitis is unknown.  Miniature Schnauzers often have a condition called hyperlipaemia and this is a possible contributing factor to their pancreatitis risk.

There are a number of medications which have been associated with pancreatitis but a direct cause and effect relationship has not been proven for many of these.  Prednisolone and Diuretics are drugs that fall into this category and are medications that are in relatively common use in Veterinary Medicine.

Pancreatitis risk increases with the presence of other diseases.  These diseases include; diabetes, Cushings disease, and renal disease.

I think the take home message from all of this is that if you own a middle aged or older female pet, especially if they are one of the breeds mentioned above, you need to try and reduce the pancreatitis risk where possible.  Ensure your pet is in a healthy weight range for its breed.  Feed a sensible and repeatable, preferably low fat, diet where possible.  If your pet requires long term medication with diuretics or corticosteroids aim to keep the doses at the lowest effective dose where possible.  If your pet has other medical conditions aim to keep these as well managed as possible.

 If you are concerned your pet may be suffering an episode of pancreatitis or wish to talk about reducing your potential pancreatitis risk please give Albany Veterinary Hospital a call and have a chat to one of our Veterinarians about it.

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