Pancreatitis may seem like a condition suffered only by humans but what you probably don’t know is that it is also quite common in small animals, especially cats and dogs.
While most cases of pancreatitis in dogs are of unknown origin, scientific studies have shown that some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to the disease such as poodles, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, and Yorkshire terriers among many others.
Furthermore, dogs that have milder cases of pancreatitis may exhibit vague signs of the disease.
However, severe cases have been found to exhibit anorexia, vomiting, weakness, and abdominal pain as the most common signs, with the first being the most prevalent with an incident rate of 91%.
Other common clinical signs include dehydration and diarrhea. If you think your dog is suffering from pancreatitis, know that it can become quite expensive depending on the case.
Treatment Cost Breakdown
This article will discuss the numbers and figures associated with the treatment of dog pancreatitis. The overall costs of the treatment would be broken down into various sections specifically: physical examinations, laboratory tests, medication, diet, and the worst case scenario, surgery.
Remember that pancreatitis treatments in dogs may vary from case to case. This means that the cost of the treatment may also vary depending on the veterinarian and the type of treatment he/she prescribes.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, animal owners spend at least $227 on medical expenses on a single dog per annum. Will the statistics prove true for dogs suffering from pancreatitis?
The Costs of Treating Dog Pancreatitis
- Veterinary Physical Examination
The first thing that a vet would do is to conduct a physical examination on your dog in order to determine whether it has visible signs of pancreatitis. If you notice a swelling in the abdomen, your vet could determine this through a physical exam.
Usually, the cost of a physical exam depends on the veterinarian as well as your geographical location but prepare to spend about $45 to $63.
- Laboratory Testing
While white blood cell count tends to increase when a dog has pancreatitis, it isn’t necessarily an obvious indication. However, a veterinarian could check the blood of the dog in order to find out if there is an increase in the pancreatic enzymes lipase and amylase.
Conducting this kind of test can cost somewhere around $24.50 or more.
- Intravenous Fluids
Your vet might administer intravenous fluids in order to raise your dog’s electrolyte level and for acid-base balance. A liter of IV bag may cost around $10.00. But when administered by a vet, it may increase up to $30.
- Antiemetic Drugs
When your dog is profusely vomiting, a vet may prescribe antiemetic drugs to help stop the symptom and this may cost around $16 to $27.
Pancreatitis is also characterized by excessive stomach acid and in order to curb this, the vet might prescribe famotidine, a drug commonly used to treat pancreatitis especially in dogs.
Famotidine may cost around $4 to $25 depending on the brand.
- Pain Relief
With abdominal pain a common sign of pancreatitis, veterinarians would recommend and implement the use of pain-relieving drugs such as firocoxib or in severe cases, prednisone, or prednisolone. Pain relievers may cost around $0.69 and $69.99.
Naturally, vets would recommend your dog to cut off on food and use IV fluids instead. But when your dog is ready to take food once again, it will only be allowed to eat low-fat food so as not to over-stimulate the pancreas.
You can find thousands of high-quality low-fat dog food in the market today which may cost around $18 to $69.99. Some vets would recommend these commercial foods to supplement actual dog food for a small period of time or for the rest of the dog’s life, depending on the case.
Meanwhile, you can also choose to feed your dog actual low-fat food such as skinless white chicken meat, low-fat ground beef, barley, cottage cheese, or boiled hamburger (boiling takes most of the fat away).
White rice added with water, a low-fat protein source, would definitely be the best way to start. However, you would have to add more to your grocery expenses when you go for this option.
When your pet dog is hospitalized due to a severe case of pancreatitis, then you might spend quite a few thousand dollars on the medical fees. In fact, hospital fees may start at $1,200 for every 24 hours.
This may include all the other necessary fees for the treatment and tests done on the dog.
When surgery is involved, which honestly is quite a rare occurrence especially when the intestines are bleeding, it may cost you about $2,800 to over $5,000.
Find a Veterinarian
When it comes to your dog’s health, it is necessary that the people treating your dog are qualified professionals.
There are lots of veterinary services out there that specialize or treat dog pancreatitis such as Wiseman Animal Hospitalin Tucson, AZ; Nashville Veterinary Specialists in Nashville, TN; and the Emergency Animal Hospital in Austin, TX. These vet clinics offer a wide range of services including animal internal medicine, preventive medical care, dental care, and surgery among many others.
If you’re looking for a vet clinic near you, the best place to ask would have to be the internet. However, you should also make sure that the vet clinics you choose consist of a passionate team led by bona fide veterinarians.
A vet clinic certified by accredited veterinary organizations would be an even better choice.
While dog pancreatitis treatment can cost quite a lot of burden on your budget, know that no amount is ever too big for your furry family member. Furthermore, early detection and a healthy diet can help prevent the occurrence of pancreatitis in dogs.
It wouldn’t hurt if you would start saving money so that when emergencies arise in the future for your dog, you wouldn’t be burdened too much by the medical costs.
If you want to avoid such costs, the best way is to have your dog live a healthy lifestyle from now on.
Lastly, at the first sign that something is wrong with your beloved pet, take it immediately to a veterinarian and never try to self-medicate at home.