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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My 11 yr. old Beagle has been diagnosed with pancreatitis.

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My 11 yr. old Beagle has been diagnosed with pancreatitis. We did NPO and IV therapy for 48 hrs. and she stopped vomiting, is now drinking lots of water with normal urination. Has not eaten in over 4 days and refuses everything we offer her. Her amylase is 2400 and her albumin is quite low. She has been very painful/stressed so the emergency vet gave me injectable Buprenex to administer to her every 8 hrs. to relieve the pain. She is also on injectable Naxcel for any secondary bacterial infection. She appears weak, lethargic, and depressed, but is ambulatory. What would you recommend to help this dog start eating again? She shows interest, licks her mouth, but turns away as if she is afraid to eat. I am considering euthanasia because I do not want to watch her slowly starve to death. Any advice appreciated.
Hello, I'm sorry to hear about your dog.

Pancreatitis can take a while to resolve. Often they are in the hospital for 2-3 days but I have treated some up to 5-7 days. They can go a long time without eating, so I would not consider euthanasia yet. The problem is that any sight, smell or taste of food will cause some pancreatic enzyme secretion which can make the pain worse and nausea return.

We have a couple options:
1. Go back to hospital and put on TPN (total parenteral nutrition). This is where carbohydrates and fats are put into an IV fluid and administered through the vein. This allows nutrients to be given while skipping the GI tract.

2. Go back to hospital and place a nasogastric tube. This is a tube that goes from the nasal cavity down near the stomach. You can trickle feed nutrition this way and do it slowly so that the pancreas gets used to food being administered. After 1-2 days of trickle feeding, most dogs will start eating normally again.

3. Keep waiting at home and keep giving pain meds and add anti-nausea meds. I would go with a combination of Cerenia +/- Anzemet to combat the multiple nausea receptors. Again, after another 24-48 hours I would guess she'll start eating. It sounds like she wants to but the nausea and pain are keeping her from it.

Be patient, pancreatitis can be a very bad and difficult disease. It can also be completely curable so try not to get too discouraged.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

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