Can you tell me how to treat a 6 month old puppy that has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis ? What diet can help and can it be prevented to have another attack?
Wow, a six month old pup with pancreatitis is pretty unusual. In fact, in almost thirty years of practice, I can’t think of any confirmed cases that I have seen. Plenty of other causes of vomiting and lack of appetite though.
Depending on the severity and duration of the problem, you may want to confirm the diagnosis with a specific test for pancreatic inflammation. These tests include the cPLI (canine pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity) blood test and/or ultrasonography of the pancreas. I would pursue definitive diagnosis in such a young dog as this will help guide medical management for the rest of his life.
Regardless of definitive diagnosis, management is similar. Unremitting episodes of vomiting or prolonged periods of anorexia (lack of appetite), especially in pups and senior dogs, warrant a trip to your local vet. S/he will advise rest for the pancreas. This is accomplished by offering nothing by mouth. No food. No water. Intravenous fluids may also be needed to correct dehydration and electrolyte disturbances. The evidence is scanty that any other drug is useful in treatment and in fact steroids and other drugs have been associated with episodes of pancreatitis.
Episodes can be initiated by high fat foods and dietary “indiscretions”. Although ideally it is best to avoid the problem in the first place, dogs will be dogs and get into garbage, sticks of butter, fatty cheeses, etc. In these situations often a 24 hour fast is sufficient to put out the fire of pancreatic inflammation. In acute pancreatitis flare-ups, emergency homeopathic care can be invaluable. Especially in cases where your regular veterinarian is not available and when immediately going to the ER is not possible.
Homeopathic medicines to consider when you know that fatty foods are the cause of the acute situation include Pulsatilla, Arsenicum album, Veratrum album, and Nux vomica,. As always in homeopathy, the indicated remedy will depend on the pet’s specific response to the triggering cause. Many dogs are well able to withstand major errors in diet. If however your pup’s acute response includes excessive clinginess, vomiting of undigested food hours after eating, whining, looking for cooler spots in the house or trying to get and stay outside, Pulsatilla may help. 1 pellet of a 30C potency can be dissolved in 1 cup of bottled or filtered water. From this cup, dribble ~½ tsp. on your pet’s gums. It’s best not to give your vomiting pet more than a bit of liquid on his gums to avoid further vomiting.
If one dose does not fully stop the vomiting and restore your dog’s mood, energy, appetite, etc., then a redose and trip to the ER is indicated. The more acute the symptoms, the faster the need to redose: First Aid Remedies Always succuss the solution before subsequent doses. Doing so helps the dosing work better. Succussion is the process of agitating the solution, e.g by banging the bottom of a bottle against your hand, or vigorous shaking.
If Pulsatilla does not seem indicated for your pet, and if s/he is very agitated, has repeated episodes of vomiting fluid, especially if it is foul-smelling, appears anxious and jumpy, is seeking warmer parts of the house, has diarrhea along with the vomiting, and just can’t settle down, then Arsenicum album may save the day. A very similar, but even more severe situation may indicate Veratrum album. Especially if there is also violent diarrhea and extreme weakness. I can not overemphasize however, how serious this may be, often requiring an immediate trip to the vet.
Pancreatitis from dietary indiscretion can frequently be quelled with one or a few doses of Nux vomica. Historically Nux is among the most commonly used homeopathic medicines. These patients often go off to be alone to vomit, don’t want to be bothered, may have loud, violent retching and visible abdominal spasms. Spasmodic diarrhea and straining may also be prominent. These pets often have sensitive and easily disturbed stomachs. Sometimes just from a slight change of diet. These are the dogs who “need” to eat the same processed dry food day in and out to avoid stomach and pancreatic upsets. In nature, and in my experience, dogs with well-balanced gastrointestinal tracts are able to eat varying foods at every meal without upset. Although a varied diet may be initially contraindicated for dogs prone to pancreatitis, variety in diet can often be achieved. Especially in young pets.
I find that the best way to avoid recurrence of pancreatitis episodes is to address the underlying cause. Incorrect diet is only a trigger. Even breeds and individuals that are predisposed to recurrent pancreatitis episodes like miniature schnauzers, can live pancreatitis-free lives. However, sometimes longer-term homeopathic prescribing and management by a veterinary homeopath is not feasible. If this is your pup’s situation, then feeding of a lower fat diet that doesn’t vary much may be indicated. One can be formulated based on various lean meats. Ideally you will work with a nutritionally trained holistic vet. Diets that are not varied need to be balanced to avoid deficiency.
Good luck with your pup. I hope you have many healthy years together.