Dear Daisy Dog
Ilsa, our miniature schnauzer, has had three episodes of pancreatitis. How can we prevent another recurrence?
Pancreatitis, a painful and life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas, has many causes. Some you can control, but others you can’t.
I learned the hard way that what my mom calls “dietary indiscretion” can give me pancreatitis. I raided the garbage one night to devour some table scraps -– and I developed symptoms typical of pancreatitis: appetite loss, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Research shows that dogs who eat unfamiliar foods are 4.3 times more likely to develop pancreatitis than dogs who stick with a consistent dog food diet. Foods high in fat most often trigger the condition. So ask your veterinarian to recommend a diet for Ilsa, and stay with it.
If Ilsa is overweight, help her lose weight. Overweight dogs are twice as likely to develop pancreatitis as normal or underweight dogs.
Diabetic dogs are 3.6 times more likely to suffer a bout of pancreatitis than non-diabetic dogs. If Ilsa has diabetes, keep her blood sugar in check.
Unfortunately, you can’t control all risk factors for pancreatitis. Some breeds, notably miniature schnauzers, terriers (especially Yorkshire terriers) and miniature poodles, develop pancreatitis more often than other breeds.