Pancreatitis occurs as the result of inflammation in the pancreas. A diet high in fats and some medications cause the inflammation. A dog suffering from pancreatitits will exhibit symptoms such as a abdominal distension, dehydration, depression, diarrhea, loss of appetite and vomiting. Pancreatitis is painful and can turn into a serious health crisis if the dog does not receive treatment from a veterinarian. While there is no specific drug to give a dog for pancreatitis, veterinarians often prescribe a combination of medications to treat the symptoms.
Pain control is a vital part of treating pancreatitis in dogs. The most commonly prescribed drugs to give a dog for pancreatitis are opiate narcotics to control pain. A veterinarian may prescribe drugs such as meperidine (Demerol), fentanyl patches (Duragesic or Sublamize), butorphanol tatrate (Torbugesi, Torbutrol or Stadol), tramadol (Ultram) or morphine. Side effects of these medications include upset stomach, difficulty breathing and sleepiness. Discuss the side effects of the specific medications used to treat the dog for pancreatitis with the veterinarian. Monitor the dog for side effects and immediately notify a veterinarian if they become severe.
These drugs are government regulated narcotics. Keep them out of reach of children and the dog. Place fentanyl patches where the dog will not chew on them; ingested patches can kill a dog. Dogs that are in severe pain, or admitted into an emergency veterinary hospital, may receive lidocaine through an intravenous (IV) drip or a localized injection.
Vomiting and Dehydration
Dogs suffering from pancreatitis often experience vomiting and diarrhea, can quickly become dehydrated and can experience potassium levels that are either too high or too low. Fluid therapies are frequently administered to keep the dog's electrolytes balanced. Potassium chloride is often prescribed for dogs with low potassium levels.
Veterinarians treat dogs suffering from severe pancreatitis (necrotizing pancreatitis) with plasma to prevent the dog from going into shock. Necrotizing pancreatitis can be fatal. A veterinarian may prescribe anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medications such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and metoclopramide (Reglan) for vomiting. The veterinarian may also prescribe the anti-ulcer drug ranitidine (Tagamet) to control vomiting.
Discuss side effects of the specific medications with the veterinarian. Monitor the dog for side effects, and immediately notify a veterinarian if they become severe. Keep them out of reach of children and the dog.
Pancreatitis is not typically treated with antibiotics. However, if the dog's white blood cell count is very low, very high or if the dog has a fever, this indicates a secondary infection. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics such as amoxicillin (Amoxxi tabs), cephalexin (Keflex), enrofloxacin (Baytril) and metronidazole (Flagyl). Keep medications out of reach of children and the dog.
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