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Pancreatitis in Dogs

Author: Sally Bushwaller | Date: November 8, 2012

We are approaching that time of the year when pancreatitis becomes a problem… Thanksgiving.

There is always an increase in pancreatitis around the holidays.

Owners feed their dogs too many fatty foods, often times turkey skin, or for my breed–Weimaraners–they steal fatty foods, which leads to sickness. Pancreatitis is anecdotally more common Weimaraners, as is counter surfing!

Whenever my dogs get any highly fatty foods, I usually follow that up by giving them a digestive enzyme with Pancreatin. Pancreatin is a combination of the enzymes amylase, lipase, and protease. My first two weims got pancreatitis several times. It is VERY painful for the dog and nearly killed them. Since I began my regimen of giving digestive enzymes after consumption of fatty foods, there has been no reoccurrence of the problem.

Be aware of the symptoms and what to do about it. Following is an excerpt from an article. You can read the full article here.

“Acute pancreatitis is characterized by the abrupt onset of vomiting and severe pain in the abdomen. The dog may have a tucked-up belly and assume a prayer position. Abdominal pain is caused by the release of digestive enzymes into the pancreas and surrounding tissue. Diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, and shock may ensue.

The diagnosis can be suspected based on a physical examination. It is confirmed by blood tests showing elevated amylase and/or lipase levels, along with a new serum test called canine pancreatitis lipase immuninol reactivity and TAP (trypsinogen activation peptide). Abdominal ultrasonography may reveal an enlarged and swollen pancreas.

Mild pancreatitis produces loss of appetite, depression, intermittent vomiting, and diarrhea and weight loss.”

Having lived through this a couple times with my first two dogs, it is a sickness to be taken very seriously as it can be fatal.

Please keep an eye on your dog around the holidays and don’t leave that turkey or ham on the table unattended!


    1. Jennifer says:

      Where can you purchase the digestive enzyme? Is there a particular brand you recommend, and what is the recommended dosage depending on weight?

    2. Sally says:


      There are many products out there. Currently I have two that I keep on hand:

      1. N’zymes Bac-Pak Plus, which is a probiotic and digestive enzyme combined. My dogs are fed a raw diet and get this powder mixed into their food, according to the dosage on the container. I order this from
      2. Twinlab’s Super Enzyme Caps, Maximum Strength, which is only an enzyme. I tend to use this after they ingest a fatty item. For instance, tonight they had big bones for dinner and there was fat on the bones. So they each got two capsules. I purchase this product at Whole Foods.

      Animal Essentials makes a product called Plant Enzymes & Probiotics, which I sometimes use as well. I like to vary what I give my dogs. It’s much healthier for them to get variety than to get the same supplements for month after month.

      Using enzymes helps your dog make better use, nutritionally, of the food she eats, and will result, eventually, in smaller stools as well!


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