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Simply Schnauzers

A one-stop resource for reliable Mini Schnauzer information!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011



Pancreatitis is one of the most feared, and most over-used terms among veterinarians who examine ill Miniature Schnauzers that present with gastro-intestinal issues – especially bloody diarrhea and vomiting associated with fever and loss of appetite.  There are a number of other gastro-intestinal problems that may cause similar symptoms, so unless a vet performs some specific tests, the diagnosis of actual pancreatitis is unreliable.

Pancreatitis is a serious and painful condition for a dog.  It should never be underestimated as it can lead to death if not treated promptly by a competent vet.

There are both chronic and acute forms of pancreatitis, and there are several reasons why a dog may succumb to this illness.  In Mini Schnauzers, high fat levels in the diet may lead to many gastro-intestinal issues – pancreatitis being only one of them.  We always recommend that a Mini Schnauzer be fed a very low-fat diet (personal recommendation of this author is to keep kibble under 12% fat) in order to avoid the majority of these problems.

What causes pancreatitis? In many cases we will never know why an individual dog develops the illness.  However, there are a few examples:

  • Imbalance of certain hormones and altered fat metabolism (hyperlipidemia)
  • Tumor in the pancreas
  • Exposure to organophosphate insecticides
  • Certain drugs such as sulfa drugs with antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and anti-seizure medications
  • body trauma as a result of a car accident which injures the pancreas
  • surgical disruption or manipulation of the organs may lead to inflammation
  • reflux (described as common in humans but rare in the canine)

Two relatively new tests are available to veterinarians:  “Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity” (PLI), and “Specific Canine Pancreatic Lipase” (SPEC cPL).  Vets may also use ultrasound or x-ray technology to help firm the diagnosis.

For more specific details on pancreatitis, please visit these links:




The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial, educational and informational purposes only. Information found in these pages and links is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement with respect to any company, product, treatment or procedure. The information contained herein is provided as a public service with the understanding that the owner, Tania Kidd, makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information.


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