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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30288
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Could you tell me what the signs and symptoms of

Customer Question

could you tell me what the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the dog?
Customer: she started a cough about a year ago and brings up white frothy phlegm (the sputum is slimy). She has also been on weight reducing dog food the past three months and has lost only 1-2 pounds. She is a daschund. She has been on steroids which didn't help her weight and is on a different type of allergy med but she is still coughing and bringing up white sputum.
JA: Coughing can be worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Bailey. She is an almost three year old female who has been spade.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Bailey?
Customer: No. just the inability to lose weight .... she weighs 24 pounds and should be around 13. She started coughing after she was spade. Thought it might have been kennel cough but it wasn't. She is also stuffed up in the morning (nose seems congested).
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

Chief complaints when pancreatitis exists include a history of dietary indiscretion (often high-fat foods), anorexia and vomiting are most common in dogs with severe pancreatitis, weakess, abdominal pain is reported in ~50% of dogs with severe pancreatitis, and diarrhea is reported in ~33% of dogs with severe pancreatitis; dehydration, fever, and possible icterus (jaundice) are also seen.

Coughing is not a feature of pancreatitis. A cough of Bailey's duration begs having her thorax (chest) carefully asucultated and X-rayed. Both upper and lower respiratory disorders as well as cardiovascular disorders needs to be considered in such a patient. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
the last time we had to sputum checked the vet said it was stomach content. any suggestions as to what i should do the next time we take her to the vet? We've tried three different vets with no improvement.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

Coughing needs to be differentiated from regurgitating which would bring up stomach/esophageal contents. To confound the problem coughing can induce regurgitation - a "terminal gag". In either event, X-rays are essential for the reasons I posted above as well as for evaluating Bailey's esophagus which might be dilated (megaesophagus). A barium swallow might be necessary for outlining the esophagus.

If you're having trouble finding a vet who knows how to "work up" such a patient, please consider a specialist veterinary internist whom you can find here: Please continue our conversation if you wish.