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Pancreatitis and Liver Function

On Christmas day, my Miniature Schnauzer found a ziplock containing 4-5 slices of summer sausage.  She tore through the bag and quickly ate the contents.  For the next few days, we noticed that she was eating less and less until she would simply walk away from her food at mealtime.  We noted that this was highly unusual.  Friday, in an effort to get her to eat, I poured some water on her dry food.  This worked and she ate it all.  About midnight Friday night, she started throwing up.  A lot.  Saturday morning I called the vet and they wanted to see her right away for fear of pancreatitis.  They drew some blood, gave her some IV antibiotics, and some fluids, though she was not dehydrated.  They also gave me some prescription pills to give her at home along with some prescription dog food that we are to feed her a teaspoonfull at a time, a couple times per day.  
A few hours later, the vet calls back to tell us that the blood work indicated that Piper's liver was not functioning, or barely functioning.  Basically we are to give her the prescription for pancreatitis, give her as much water as she wants and only feed her a tiny bit when she takes another pill (Diawin, for nausea/diarrhea) every four to six hours.
Piper has not vomited at all since Friday night and she is keeping down the food at water we are giving her.  She acts like she is starving, but I don't want to risk harming her further by giving her more food.
I would like to know if anyone has had a similar experience or has any suggestions.  I just really want to know what I can expect out of this.
She seems to be getting better, but I remain cautiously optimistic at this point.
I would just like to know if anyone else has had a simi
8 Responses
82861 tn?1333457511
I only had experience with losing a dog to an acute attack of pancreatitis.  He was very old, and just couldn't recover.  

Did the vet say if the pancreas is involved as well as the liver?  In my dog, the pancreas was so swollen that it blocked the flow of bile from liver; consequently his liver went into failure as well.  I understand that mini Schnauzers are very prone to pancreatitis.  My aunt had one who had chronic pancreatitis for the last half of her 18-year life, so it can obviously be managed to a certain extent. Hopefully, that will be the case with your dog.

Does your vet have any idea at all of what caused the liver failure?  That would certainly give you both a better idea of what to expect.
Avatar universal
I know both Piper's pancreatic enzymes and liver enzymes counts were high, but we haven't had an ultrasound yet to know about swelling.
The vet told us to keep checking her gums and the whites of her eyes for jaundice.  Everything appears normal, including her happy attitude.  I will say, it is difficult to check for yellowing of her gums as they are mostly black.
It seems that the liver failure was caused by acute pancreatitis, which was in turn caused by the fatty summer sausages she got into.
Piper is never allowed "people food" or table scraps, so maybe she just couldn't handle the greasy, fatty food.
Avatar universal
Piper vomited again this morning.
The vet is telling us that we can feed her one tablespoon of bland food every hour, up to half a can(Hill's Prescription Diet i/d).  From reading in these threads, I am afraid she should be off food completely.  I just don't know what to do.
82861 tn?1333457511
Oh boy, you're in for a possible roller coaster ride.  There isn't a "magic bullet" treatment for pancreatitis and the associated liver issues.  The treatment is actually "starvation" for up to 3 or 4 weeks if necessary to allow the pancreas to rest and reduce the swelling.  (Same is true for humans with this condition.)  It is usually a pretty painful condition as well, so it's good your pup is still fairly active.  If it gets to the point she can't tolerate any food or can't keep water down, you'll have to get her in an inpatient facility that can provide IV fluid, nutrition (TPN) and pain management.  Get ready to beat up your credit card too if that happens.

At this point you don't need an ultrasound to tell you what you already know: the pancreas is swollen and blocking off bile flow from the liver.  The only reason for an US now is if she doesn't improve in a week or so to see how much swelling exists and that will give you an idea of whether or not it even has a chance of coming down enough for the bile duct to open up.

Try to offer an electrolyte preparation like pedialyte once in a while.  If she's not eating and drinking properly, that can become an issue down the line, so you might as well try to tackle it now.  Maybe even try some low fat Swanson's chicken broth just for a bit of nutrition - but check with your vet first.

Since your dog has dark gums, you'll have to estimate jaundice by checking the whites of her eyes, and her urine color.  The urine will become much darker than normal due to the increased bilirubin levels.  Also, bile is what gives feces its brown color, so if bile isn't making through the digestive tract, her stools will be very light colored.

Animals, like people, can develop chronic pancreatitis after only one acute attack of pancreatitis.  My aunt was able to keep her dog's case managed for many years, with only a couple more hospitalizations.  I just want you to be prepared for what you might be up against.  So far, Piper's case could be a whole lot worse, so hopefully she'll keep improving and that will be the last time you ever have to deal with this.
Avatar universal
She really is eating fine.  Albeit extremely small amounts.  When she gets food, she eats it ravenously, as though she is starving to death.  And this morning was the first time she has vomited since Friday night.  I can't help but think this is an improvement.  She continues to act as though nothing is wrong and is just as playful and loveable as ever.
Thank you, JayBay for your continued help.
I did read about everything that happened with your dog and I am sincerely sorry for your loss.
I just do not know what I would do in that situation.  I certainly hope it will not come to that.
Our pets become so important to us.  We have Piper as well as a Great Dane, and I dread the day that something happens to either of them.
82861 tn?1333457511
Thanks for the kind words.  I know this is just part of having a pet, but it doesn't make it any easier, does it?  :-)

Sounds like Piper is coming along well.  Great news!  Any apetite at all is a good sign, and it sounds like she's doing much better.  Maybe you just dodged that bullet after all!
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