dog pancreatitis in boston, ma

What to Know About Dog Pancreatitis and How Acupuncture Can Help

Dogs are prone to pancreatitis, which is a condition that affects the pancreas. However, just because this is a common diagnosis for many dogs, that doesn’t mean it is widely understood by pet parents. It’s crucial for you to learn everything you can about what pancreatitis is, what its symptoms are, and how it can be treated. Since acupuncture is an up-and-coming treatment option for dogs with pancreatitis, it’s also important for you to consider this possibility for your pet, too.

In the article below, we’ll help you understand all this and more about dog pancreatitis in Boston, MA.

What is Canine Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of a dog’s pancreas and is usually caused by consuming too much fatty food. It may also be caused by eating human food or non-food items, and it can be caused by injury, medication, and genetics as well.

The pancreas helps dogs digest food, just like it does for humans. It releases important enzymes to help process food in the small intestine. If a dog is experiencing pancreatitis, those enzymes become active too soon, which results in damage to the pancreas and can even cause the organ itself to become digested by the same enzymes.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs

There are many different symptoms a dog could show if they have pancreatitis. If your dog is showing these symptoms is best to talk with your veterinarian.

Excessive Vomiting

One of the first and most recognizable signs of pancreatitis in dogs is excessive vomiting. Dogs who are suffering a pancreatitis attack will vomit uncontrollably, usually for several hours without much rest. This is very dangerous and quickly leads to dehydration, which can result in death.


Diarrhea may or may not accompany vomiting and other symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs. However, when coupled with other items on this list, there is a good sign diarrhea is associated with pancreatitis, too.

Abdominal Pain and Hunched Back

A hunched back is a sign that a dog is in pain. If your dog is also protective of their abdomen, you can assume they have stomach or abdominal pain, which is commonly associated with pancreatitis as well.

Weakness and Lethargy

Although weakness and lethargy are both symptoms of a wide range of health problems in dogs, they can signify pancreatitis when found with the other items on this list.

How Acupuncture Can Treat this Condition

Acupuncture helps the body heal by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation, and providing pain relief.

Improving Blood Circulation

Needles are inserted to help improve the circulation of blood. These needles are placed at locations in the body where nerves are prevalent, which allows them to stimulate the flow of blood more significantly throughout the body. Although this part of the treatment may look painful, it can be very relaxing for your dog.

Reduces Inflammation

The increased blood circulation helps to reduce inflammation. As the blood vessels begin to carry more blood throughout the body, this response in turn reduces inflammation. Acupuncture can be used to concentrate on one specific part of the body, or it can be used all over the dog’s body instead. Either way, the dog will feel less pain from the condition as the inflammation eases up following treatment.

Pain Relief

One of the most important benefits of acupuncture for dogs with pancreatitis is a reduction of pain. Pancreatitis is a very painful condition that can be difficult for dogs to recover from fully. With the help of a pain-relieving acupuncture treatment, your dog may feel better within a few hours.

Increased Appetite and Decreased Nausea

Along with a reduction of pain, dogs may experience appetite improvement and a reduction of nausea with acupuncture treatments, too. Both benefits can help your dog recover fully from the flare-up as quickly as possible by encouraging better eating and drinking of much-needed fluids.

How Effective is Acupuncture at Treating Dog Pancreatitis?

When performed by a trained and certified professional veterinary acupuncturist at Boston Veterinary Clinic, this treatment can be helpful for dogs. Dogs who have mild to moderate pancreatitis will receive more relief from acupuncture than those with severe cases of pancreatitis.

Other forms of medicine should be exhausted as treatment options before relying on acupuncture for your pet. Keep in mind that acupuncture treatments will relieve the symptoms of pancreatitis most of the time, but likely won’t treat the underlying condition. You may need to use this treatment along with medication, depending on your vet’s recommendations.

Book an Appointment at Boston Veterinary Clinic

As you can see, acupuncture is a reasonable option for treating a dog who has pancreatitis, especially if they cannot receive other types of treatment for the condition. It is often effective, and it has very limited risks for dogs who undergo this procedure.

Book an appointment online to talk with your Boston Veterinary Clinic vet to find out whether your dog may be a good candidate for this type of pancreatitis treatment.