Skip to content

Healthy Pets

Font Size

Pancreatitis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

When your family dog doesn't want to eat and is throwing up, you hope it's a passing thing.

Many times, it is -- but it could be a condition called pancreatitis. If so, he'll need treatment.

The condition happens when the pancreas becomes inflamed. That's an organ near the stomach that helps digest food and control blood sugar.

Pancreatitis can come on all at once and then pass, or it can stay for longer periods.


Often, a dog:

  • Lossesappetite
  • Vomits
  • Has belly pain

Other symptoms are:

  • A fever or low body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • No energy
  • A hard time breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heartbeat

If your dog has some of these problems for more than a day, or if these symptoms keep coming back, take him to the vet. It could be pancreatitis, or it could be something else. Either way, you should get it checked out.

Your vet might make a diagnosis based on symptoms alone. Usually, though, she'll need to do blood tests or an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make an image of what's going on inside the body.


Experts aren't sure what causes the pancreas irritation, but some breeds, especially schnauzers, are more prone to it. Older dogs and ones who are overweight are also more likely to get it.

Sometimes, the condition comes on as a side effect to a drug, or after surgery. Often, a fatty meal, like bacon grease or table scraps, triggers it.

Dogs usually recover from mild cases, but if it's severe, it can sometimes lead to death. If your dog is overweight or has diabetes or epilepsy, he may have a harder time getting over an attack.


If your vet can figure out what caused the pancreatitis, he'll try to deal with that first. For instance, if it was a reaction to a drug, he may take him off it. If it's related to diet, he may put him on prescription food.

Sometimes it's hard to tell what causes it, and there's no clear treatment to fight it. The focus instead becomes keeping the dog as comfortable as possible until the attack passes.

Today on WebMD

Puppy digging hole
Are you putting your pet at risk?
Cat looking at fish
Things we can learn from our pets.
dog and kitten
27 ways pets help your health.
Get the facts about prevention.
Woman holding puppy
Sad dog and guacamole
Siamese cat eating from bowl
cat on couch
Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
Kitten playing
Orange cat nuzzling woman
German shephard reading a book