Pancreatitis in dogs and cats treatment options, recommended remedies and helpful information has been provided by certified Master Herbalist Philip Reich and certified Canine Nutritionist Maria Reich. Philip and Maria specialize in medical herbalism and nutrition for animals with conditions like pancreatitis. They approach this situation in a holistic manner with the main priority being the health and safety of your animal.
Pancreatitis is quite simply inflammation of the pancreas. This condition is most commonly seen in middle aged to older dogs that have been fed a kibble pet food that is hard on the pancreas for a number of different reasons. These dogs typically become over-weight from this processed food diet and the added treats and lack of proper exercise that are to common in our domesticated animals.
Onset of pancreatitis can progress over time (chronic) or occur quickly (acute) which can be quite serious. Any symptoms displayed after meals, such as abdominal discomfort or restlessness, that may be displayed by the dog standing in a “prayer position” by stretching the body out to decrease pressure on the abdomen or similar action, should be paid close attention to and not ignored. These initial warning signs can progress to fever, loss of appetite, severe vomiting and diarrhea that may be yellow and "greasy" which can indicate a serious phase of the condition and should be treated quickly by your veterinarian.
Symptoms of pancreatitis often display after the ingestion of a high-fat meal. However, it is not the high-fat meal that caused the pancreatitis, but the extra digestive load placed on a sick organ. So when we discuss what caused your animal's pancreatitis, what we should really be looking at is what caused the damage to the pancreas in the first place.
The pancreas is an easily damaged, delicate organ that is slow to heal. It can be injured by a poor diet, excessive weight, and the over-use of drugs like corticosteroids, antibiotics and diuretics. In addition, underlying conditions that involve the liver, gallbladder, kidneys or cardiovascular system can place stress on this organ that lead to its decline over time. This is why you will see the support of the aforementioned organs as part of our holistic protocol.
Your veterinarian will most likely conduct a physical exam and then do blood tests to check pancreatic enzyme levels. They may also choose to perform x-rays or ultrasound tests to see if there is any noticeable inflammation of the pancreas. Initial treatment focuses on managing/relieving pain, controlling nausea and establishing proper fluid and electrolyte balances. This course of action will require an assortment of pharmaceutical drugs with a variety of side-effects to worry about. In the case of a life-threatening, acute occurrence medications may be necessary in the short-term. Sometimes, pancreatitis may be misdiagnosed as just stomach upset and a medication to manage this may be recommended. Once pancreatic inflammation has calmed down, a low-fat, low-protein prescription diet is usually recommended by the veterinarian.
The goal of our Natural Pancreatitis Protocol is to support the pancreas by providing digestive enzymes to enhance proper digestion while increasing the proper secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder to efficiently begin the breakdown of fats.* Organic, whole-food supplementation will also provide nutrients to support the healing of the pancreas itself.*
Initially, meals should consist of smaller portions and spread out to three or four times per day to ease the burden on the stressed pancreas. Excessive fat and other foods that are noticed to contribute to digestive upset should be eliminated. The diet should be whole food and easily digestible which would point to home-preparing as the best choice to make sure that the pet parent has control over added ingredients.
Core Recommendations Suggested products are included in the Core Pancreatitis Package found below.
Our "Core Recommendations" form the backbone of our Natural Pancreatitis Protocol. They consist of supplement recommendations that we feel are the most important to provide to your animal companion for this condition. They are displayed as a package and individually at the bottom of this page along with other helpful products from which you may make additional selections. Pet foods can be purchased at your finer, local pet stores. If you desire more individualized attention please feel free to use our Consultation Form to provide detailed information about your dog or cat so we can better help you.
Core Recommendation #1 - Daily Multi Plus
Our Daily Multi Plus is formulated with organic, whole foods that are extremely important to an animal's nutritional needs but are often missing from the majority of canine and feline diets. This special formula provides the enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, glandulars, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are so beneficial to the body's daily maintenance and repair needs for healthy aging. In this formula you will find the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and especially enzymes and probiotics recommended by the veterinarian community for this condition - only in an organic, whole food form!
Core Recommendation #2 - Liver Tonic
Our Liver Tonic will help to gently detoxify and improve the function of the liver and gallbladder. This will help to reduce stress on the pancreas by improving bile production and secretion. Bile begins the process of breaking down fats (emulsify) and is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. If these organs are not functioning properly, perhaps being damaged by drug therapies, the pancreas will suffer as a result.
Core Recommendation #3 - Pancreas Glandular
Research shows that nutrients from glandular tissue travels to the corresponding glands in the body. This means that when you provide a pancreas glandular supplement, pancreas specific nutrients travel to your dog or cat's pancreas to support this particular organ. This is a very simple yet effective way to strengthen a weak pancreas.
Whole Food Nutrition
With a condition like Pancreatitis we highly recommend a home-prepared, whole food diet that can be either cooked or raw. Feeding your dog or cat in this manner will allow you to control what is included in the diet. As mentioned earlier, at least initially meals should consist of smaller portions and spread out to three or four times per day to ease the burden on the stressed pancreas. Excessive fat and other foods that are noticed to contribute to digestive upset should be eliminated.
There are now many quality premixes to choose from to which you can add your own raw or cooked meat that make home-preparing easier. If you decide to make a homemade diet please research the proper way to do this and make sure to add a calcium source like our Seaweed Calcium. For a quick and easy way to add high-quality protein to your dog's diet take a look at our Whey Protein Isolate. A high-quality, meat based canned food can also be a good option, especially for cats, because of canned foods' high moisture content (be careful to choose canned foods with little to no fish content for too many reasons to list here). For more information read our articles How to Feed Your Dog or How to Feed Your Cat that can be found in our Education section.
This is a very effective formula that helps to firm stool and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. What further separates this supplement from others is the probiotic organism it contains that has been shown in studies to replenish beneficial organisms and alleviate diarrhea more quickly.
Many animals we see are having problems with hypochloridia, or low stomach acid output. Feeding a kibble diet raises the alkalinity of your pet's stomach resulting in incomplete digestion, but dogs and cats can have problems properly digesting other foods as well. This contributes to many imbalances in the body like pancreatitis. Our Herbal Digestive Tonic is formulated with herbal bitters that stimulate digestive secretions to super-charge digestion and lowering the workload on the pancreas.
Our clients love this formula. It works wonders to help animals with everything from stomach upset to lack of appetite. The organic herbs used are unique in their ability to eliminate gas and reduce nausea and stomach inflammation quickly.
A very highly researched blend of two green and two red algae chosen from thousands of species because of their synergistic effects when taken together. This microalage formulation contains thousands of highly bioavailable nutrients that are able to cross the digestive tract and enter the blood stream without any burden on the digestive system. This is very beneficial especially for animals with a stressed pancreas! Because they are microlagae they enter cells providing powerful cellular nutrition that can have amazing health benefits for your dog or cat including, but certainly not limited to, enhancing all nutrient absorption, supporting the body's ability to repair itself, aiding cellular detoxification, balancing the endocrine (hormone) system, crossing the blood brain and blood retinal barriers to nurture the hypothalamus (brain) and eyes.