Managing Pancreatitis In Dogs

 

Angel_Managing-Panc

Angel Lived An Active Life For 8 1/2 Years With Pancreatitis!
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–  Angel’s first round of Acute Pancreatitis (10/2007) cost us $2200 and required 2 overnight hospital stays.

–  With more knowledge her second attack only cost us about $550 and required one night in the hospital.

–  After switching vets we learned new techniques that brought the cost down to $55 per month.  

However, a supplement breakthrough (called GastroElm Plus) allowed us to manage her symptoms for only about $2 per month.

Watch the video below and you will see she that she absolutely thrived on it!

 

 

The Traditional Protocol For Dealing With Pancreatitis Is Expensive!

When you look at the traditional protocol for treating pancreatitis in dogs, they always talk about fasting as being a top priority.  Conventional medicine says that withholding food and water for an extended period is crucial to allow the pancreas to rest.    The following protocol for treatment is taken from Web MD:

Treatment: Dogs with acute pancreatitis require hospitalization to treat shock and dehydration. The most important step in treating pancreatitis is to rest the gland completely. This is accomplished by giving the dog nothing by mouth for several days and maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance with intravenous saline solutions.  Antibiotics are used to prevent secondary bacterial infections. Pain is controlled with narcotics. Cardiac arrhythmias, if present, are treated with anti-arrhythmic drugs.  Dogs who do not respond to medical treatment may require surgery to drain an infected pancreas. 

The problem for many pet owners is that this course of treatment can cost as much as $5000 depending on how long the pet has to remain hospitalized.  As long as the pet is not taking anything orally, it will most likely need to remain on IVs which means hospitalization.  Additionally, most vets will not even give the animal sucralfate or other stomach coating agents such as Gastrofate or GastroElm Plus (the only one that’s Non-Prescription) while fasting the animal.  In our case, this resulted in extensive, ongoing blood loss in our toy poodle Angel.  This blood loss led to the need for a blood transfusion in order to stabilize her after 24 hours of acute pancreatitis.  Talking to others who have had sick animals, I have heard many similar stories.

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Money Saving Tip #1 – Coat The Digestive Tract ASAP

During Angel’s first attack, I learned about Carafate Suspension (liquid version of sucralfate).  It was used to coat her stomach, but not until after the mandatory fasting period was over (which I thought was crazy).   When Angel had her second attack a year later, I immediately got out the bottle of Carafate and gave her a dose before even going to the vet.  It made a dramatic difference.  Coating her digestive tract appeared to be very beneficial, which seems as if it would be common sense.  During this second acute attack they put her on IV’s to keep her hydrated, but due to the Carafate, there was limited blood loss and she only spent one night in the hospital.  We were able to get her back home for just over $550 instead of the $2200 we had spent the first time.

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Money Saving Tip #2 –  Don’t Fast Small Dogs

After we switched to a new vet, he taught us that we should feed-through a pancreatitis attack since Angel was only 6 lbs.  By dividing a normal meal into 2 or 3 small meals and feeding every 3-4 hours the pancreas still has a chance to rest.  Hydration is important as well, so never withhold water even if you are using a traditional fast in the case of a larger dog.  When feeding, use something that is virtually fat free.  We used chicken breast with all visible fat removed and rice.  We gave Angel Gastrafate (now we would use GastroElm Plus) about 15 minutes before giving her a small meal.

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Money Saving Tip #3 –  No More Acute Attacks

Sucralfate (Carafate Suspension) has an aluminum based compound as the active ingredient, so vets don’t like to keep animals on it for long periods of time.  Angel, however, developed chronic pancreatitis after the first couple attacks, so our new vet found a more natural solution called Gastrafate which she could take on an ongoing basis.  I would give her a few milliliters in the morning and again at night.  She absolutely hated the taste (smells like petroleum) but it helped to protect her stomach.  This combined with a VERY low fat diet kept her symptoms at bay for the most part, but I still had to get up with her in the middle of the night 2-3 times per week.  The other downside was that this regimen cost us about $55 per month, but we felt it was worth it because she didn’t have any more acute attacks.  We were willing to spend $660 per year in order to keep her well.

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Finally, We Found The Ultimate Solution!

 

By the spring of 2013 Angel’s health was in sharp decline. She was 12 1/2 years old and we assumed that five and a half years of pancreatitis had taken it’s toll on her body.  At the same time there was a shortage of Gastrafate, so we were forced to do a ton of research to find a temporary substitute.  This lead us to a combination of herbs that included Slippery Elm Bark, Milk Thistle Seed, Marshmallow Root and Dandelion Root that would not only coat her digestive tract, but also strengthen her vital organs.  To our amazement, Angel had an immediate positive response (literally over night) to the new supplement!  She was feeling better than she had in years and best of all the new supplement was only about $2 per month since she only weighed about seven pounds.  Even an 80 pound dog can be treated for less than $14 per month.

The video above was taken a month or so after starting on what became GastroElm Plus.  As you can see in that video, she was thriving!

Angel had three more good years making it to 15 1/2 years old and died from Liver failure caused by malignant tumors.  She was an intact female who developed uterine cysts in her advanced age and they had become malignant.  At the time of her death we had her blood tested to confirm the liver issues and it showed that her pancreatic enzymes were right in the center of the normal range.

Here is her final blood test:  Notice the Liver Enzymes are out of whack but the Lipase and Amylase were perfectly normal.  

Angel-Last-Bloodtest

 

This wasn’t her first normal test. Her first one was in October 2013 after being on GastroElm Plus for about five months.  That was the first test in 6 years that had normal lipase and amylase levels.  Our vet had never seen this happen before in a dog with chronic pancreatitis.  As long as we gave her 3-4ml of prepared gel in the morning and again at night, she had very few stomach issues.  In addition to taking GastroElm Plus, she also remained on a low fat diet.  It’s a combination that seems to work very well for managing symptoms over the long term.  By the way, since being on this regimen she almost always slept through the night without any issues.

Mixing And Using GastroElm Plus:

I used to mix it in a Magic Bullet, but now I’ve found a better solution, these little four ounce Rubbermaid snack containers.   These will stand up best for reuse and washing in the dishwasher.  The one shown below is also an option, I found a 6 pack of them at Target for $2.29.  The one nice thing about the cheap ones is that they have a 3 ounce marker on them.

1. Fill with 3 ounces of water

2.  Add 1 tablespoon (or slightly less) of GastroElm Plus powder.

3.  Shake for ten seconds and allow to sit for a few minutes.  It will turn into a smooth gel.  Use an oral syringe to measure the correct dose for small animals.

* If you find it’s too thick, simply add a little more water or use a little less powder.

 

Dosages:

Use 1ml of prepared gel for each pound of body weight per day. Angel was 7 pounds so I gave her 7ml per day, 3 1/2 in the morning before breakfast and 3 1/2 at night. Large dogs (100 lbs +) can simply take an entire tablespoon of GastroElm Plus powder combined with 4 oz water each day. It works best to give half in the morning and half at night.

Gastro Elm Plus is now available directly from the manufacturer at the Lowest Price & includes Free Shipping:

Click here for more info