Benji Ben's case of pancreatitis

Benji Ben is a very loveable and gentle older labrador. As a senior pet, we have been seeing Benji Ben for a while due to his problems with arthritis. However, recently his owners noticed he seemed to be acting a bit differently. He had collapsed on his back legs, had vomited and, most alarming for his owners, was that Benji Ben was off his food (as he was NEVER off his food).

On examination it was noted that Benji Ben had an extremely painful stomach, which was very alarming. A quick x-ray of his belly indicated an abnormal shadow in the front part of his belly. Blood tests were done, which indicated that he had a very serious disease called pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is caused by the inflammation of the pancreas, most commonly thought to occur after a dog has eaten a fatty meal (though this may not always be the case). Benji Ben was admitted to hospital, started on intravenous fluids, pain relief and antibiotics. He stayed with us and at the animal emergency clinic at Essendon airport for a few days and to this point has made a good recovery.

He will need to stay on a special low fat diet for life and will always need to be watched when there are food scraps around or his owners are having a barbecue, as he is predisposed to a recurrence of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis can express itself in different ways. Commonly we see abdominal (belly) pain, a high body temperature, vomiting and diarrhoea. There are many other conditions which can have the same symptoms so blood tests, x-rays, and sometimes ultrasound are needed to determine the exact condition. Pancreatitis can also be variable in it's seriousness, however all but the very mildest cases will need intensive in hospital treatment. If not, pancreatitis can be potentially life threatening.