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Knowing and understanding what pancreatitis is and what causes it seems to circulate a lot of misconceptions about the condition.  Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can occur in two different forms.  Acute is sudden while chronic is a persistent form of pancreatic inflammation.  The pancreas is a glandular organ under the stomach and part of the small intestine.  It has two functions:  to produce enzymes needed to digest food; and to produce hormones such as insulin and amino acids (proteins).  For the most part, the cause of pancreatitis is unknown and the condition can occur in both dogs and cats although it is more common in dogs.  Female dogs seem to be more prone as well as obese, middle-aged and older canines.  Bacterial and viral infections can cause the illness as well as contaminated foods or those high in fat.  Obesity, certain drugs (antibiotics) and toxins (insecticides) are also known to be contributing factors.

Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting, not eating, fever, diarrhea and dehydration.  Dark, brown-black stool can also be an indication of a pancreas abnormality.  As these signs can be indicators of other illnesses, a physical examination along with a blood test to check digestive enzymes is needed.  If your pup is diagnosed with pancreatitis, depending upon the severity, the veterinarian may recommend that food be withheld for a few days and only fluids be given.  While the assistance of a veterinarian is vital in treating this condition, there are some herbal and homeopathic remedies that can be used as a preventative program even with conventional treatment.  Burdock Root works as a blood purifier and has antibiotic properties and Milk Thistle is a powerful antioxidant and helps remove toxins at a cellular level. 

Another protective action to take is a change in diet.  Most conventional vets will recommend a prescription kibble and although this can help, a better approach would be to prepare meals yourself and add a digestive enzyme and probiotics.  Chicken breast served with cottage cheese and long grain rice is a popular recipe for the pup placed on a low-fat, low-protein diet.  And feeding the dog in small, frequent meals (4-5x daily) has proven to be more beneficial and less stressful on the digestive tract.Dog Pancreas

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