Pancreatitis in the smooth collie

Pancreatitis in the smooth collie

Health & Safety

The smooth collie is a medium-sized dog breed from the Kennel Club’s pastoral group, and which like many of the other collie breeds, was originally used for a large number of working roles before they really began to develop a lot of popularity as pets.

Smooth collies share all of the core collie traits of very high intelligence and a great capacity to learn and execute commands, and they are also lively and energetic dogs that like to keep active although they are not quite as challenging in the exercise stakes as some of the other collie breeds.

Smooth collies tend to be good all-round family pets that get on well with children, are social with other dogs and that have the skills and amenability to training to be able to take part in both working roles and canine sport. However, they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time and are happiest when outside with their favourite people, which makes them a good fit for active families with children that love to play with the dog.

In terms of the breed’s health, smooth collies tend to be fairly long lived although there is a reasonable amount of variance in terms of the breed norms, with the average smooth collie lifespan ranging between 9-15 years. The smooth collie dog breed has a relatively long list of health conditions that tend to appear in dogs of the breed more commonly than most others, and one of these health conditions is pancreatitis, which is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas and that can make your dog quite ill.

If you own a smooth collie or are considering buying one, it is important to learn the basics of the various canine health conditions that can affect dogs of the breed. In this article we will look at pancreatitis in the smooth collie in more detail, covering its causes, symptoms and prognosis. Read on to learn more.

What is pancreatitis?

In order to provide a basic outline of what pancreatitis is, it is first necessary to explain what the pancreas itself is.

The pancreas is an internal organ that forms part of both the digestive and endocrine systems, and that helps the body to digest the food it eats by producing insulin and digestive enzymes to break the food down for digestion.

Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas that upsets the normal flow of enzymes from the pancreas through the digestive tract, and which leads to these digestive enzymes being pushed out into the abdomen.

When this has occurred, the digestive enzymes in question attack the natural proteins and fats present in other organs, ultimately causing the dog’s body to begin to digest its own organs. This often affects the liver and kidney as these organs are close to the pancreas itself, and this can also lead to inflammation of the abdomen, an elevated risk of infection, and pancreatic bleeding.

Pancreatitis is a serious and usually acute canine health condition that can be fatal for dogs if left untreated.

Pancreatitis is usually fast in onset and acute in presentation, but in some cases, it can develop more slowly and so, be harder to spot and treat.

What causes pancreatitis in the smooth collie?

Pancreatitis in dogs can be caused by a number of different things, including a diet that is high in fat, a poor quality diet, endocrine disorders and other health conditions.

However, dogs can also inherit a hereditary predisposition to pancreatitis that makes them more prone to developing it, even if they are cared for impeccably well and eat a healthy balanced diet. The smooth collie breed in particular has an elevated occurrence rate of pancreatitis, and this is thought to be hereditary and is more common in dogs whose parents or other close relatives have also suffered from the condition.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs?

Because pancreatitis is an internal disorder, it can be challenging to trace the symptoms it can cause in dogs back to the correct problem. The symptoms that any given dog displays can also be quite variable in terms of their presentation and severity, but symptoms will tend to appear in clusters, which can help to narrow down the cause.

Some of the main symptoms of pancreatitis in the smooth collie include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of weight.
  • An elevated temperature and potentially, fever.
  • Vomiting or retching.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • A painful abdominal area.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Dehydration.
  • Exercise intolerance or a lack of interest in play and exercise.
  • Breathing difficulties.

If you spot symptoms like the above in your smooth collie, contact your vet straight away so that they can perform an examination and make a formal diagnosis.

Can pancreatitis be treated or managed?

When your vet has diagnosed a case of pancreatitis in your smooth collie, the approach that they take to treating it will depend on its severity and how well your dog is coping.

IV fluid therapy, colloids and electrolyte supplements may be recommended, and your dog may not be able to eat for a few days to allow the pancreas time to heal and rest.

If your dog is in a lot of pain or suffering from problems like persistent vomiting, medications may be required for these things too. Antibiotics might be required if your dog ha also developed an infection.

A dog that has undergone a bout of pancreatitis (particularly from breeds prone to it like the smooth collie) needs to be monitored after recovery, as the condition might arise again in the future. Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about pancreatitis and your smooth collie, and if you are considering buying a dog of the breed, ask the breeder if there is any history of pancreatitis in their breed lines.

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