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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16309
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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We have two labs, 6 & 10 years old. Our six year old has had

Customer Question

We have two labs, 6 & 10 years old. Our six year old has had two episodes of pancreatitis in the last 8 months. They both eat the same dogfood and the older one does not have any problems. What causes this? She will start panting and acting hyper and usually vomits up dogfood and LOTS of weeds and grass from the yard and after a couple of times doing this we find blood. It costs us upwards of $200. for treatment and we live on a budget. Is there something we are not noticing in her eating habits, is it the dogfood and is there anything else we can do for her?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Amber has had repeated episodes of pancreatitis. I understand that you are confused because your older dog eats the same food and is fine. That is not an uncommon scenario as pancreatitis, and the predisposition to develop it, is an individual problem. Some dogs simply have a pancreas that is more sensitive and easily irritated. Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas such that it is spilling out large quantities of digestive enzymes which leads to abdominal pain, vomiting and possibly peritonitis if not controlled, has a few different causes. And sometimes we never figure out what the inciting factors were.Possible causes are eating a high fat or rich food diet, and particular drugs, (such as steroids), can trigger a bout. We also know that overweight female dogs are more likely to have pancreatitis as are dogs with underlying disease conditions such as diabetes, Cushing's Disease (over producing adrenal gland), hypothyroid dogs and dogs with primary problems metabolizing fats (hyperlipidemia).In your girl's case I would focus on controlling fats in her diet and making sure that her thyroid function is as it should be. That can be checked via a blood test called a thyroid panel. A T-4 alone is NOT sufficient.She should be eating a low fat diet but sometimes we need to try a few to find the one that works best for her. Increasing fiber helps in some dogs. Purina OM is one such low fat and higher fiber food. Another is Hills g/d. Royal Canin also makes a low fat food called Gastrointestinal Low Fat LF.If she has any symptoms of hyperadrenocorticism (weight gain, increased drinking and appetite, poor musculature and panting) I would make sure that disease process isn't a problem by requesting that your veterinarian check an ACTH response test. Dogs with hyperadrenocorticism can have issues with fat metabolism and suffer from pancreatitis.If you want to read more on pancreatitis please see this link: of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.