“J” writes about her pet, Tucker: After a brief escape under the fence recently, one of my dogs woke the next morning obviously in distress and with diarrhea that was pure blood. Based on lab tests, he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and hospitalized for 24 hours on fluids and IV medications. It was a very scary experience, but in spite of the dramatic symptoms, he made a quick recovery. His veterinarian recommended a life-long low-fat diet for him and he’s doing well. After reading your article and following your link on HGE, though, I’m curious. Bloody stools aren’t typically listed as a symptom of pancreatitis. Can they be or could he have had HGE, too?J, my recollection of the percentage of cases of canine pancreatitis that report diarrhea is somewhere around 15-20%. It is certainly not a consistent finding. However, little about pancreatitis in dogs is “consistent.” As I said in the original piece, canine pancreatitis is a great imitator.
We have a lot of confidence in the organ-specific blood test, PLI, Pancreatic Lipase Immunoassay, mentioned in the article. Even though the “stated” accuracy of the test is about 80%, when a positive result is returned, we strongly believe our patient has pancreatitis.
Could HGE and pancreatitis coexist? I’m confident that they can. Take Tucker’s story “…after a brief escape under the fence…” If he got into someone’s garbage can or food discarded over the back fence, and that food was high in fat, and spoiled, there is a very strong likelihood that the intestinal tract will be inflamed along with the angry pancreas.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.