Severe Acute Pancreatitis in a Dog: Bandit’s Last Treat

The pancreas fulfills two essential functions. It produces digestive enzymes to help break down food and it makes insulin, which controls storage and delivery of insulin.

Severe inflammation of the pancreas is not only extremely painful but it can be fatal. If enough of the pancreas is destroyed, it can compromise both of its functions. That can lead to malnutrition, diabetes, and other complications.

Severe Acute Pancreatitis in a Dog: Bandit's Last Treat

Bandit’s story

Thank you, Nancy Sweyer, for sharing Bandit’s story.

We found Bandit at animal welfare and fell in love with him. What a sweet little boy he was! I took him home at six weeks old.

An Australian Shepard that would become a part of our lives.

We went to obedience classes. He was the best student. Always watching me and such a good boy. He earned three diplomas! Even though I didn’t practice as much as we were supposed to. We always were the star pupils because of him. He was so smart.  I think he taught me!

Then my mother got sick and moved in with us. She too loved Bandit. He would sit on the bed with her and she would pet him and talk to him.

Bandit the good dog

One early Saturday morning Bandit tried to wake me up. 

I kept saying.  “Bandit go back to sleep. It’s Saturday!”  He was trying to tell me my mother had passed away. He wanted me to get up and I didn’t listen.

Well, then we were alone.

We went through two tornados together. Bandit was a big chicken. Didn’t like storms and the two of us would hide under the blanket and he would shake. He must have sensed how scared I was,  I never would have made it without him.

Then I got married and my husband moved in with his dog.

Bandit was happy not to be the only dog. Bandit and Kelly made great buddies. Then we adopted Smokey, a little mixed breed, who turned out to be Bandit’s very best friend in the whole world. Smokey and the Bandit. As they were known in the park. Every kid in the park would love to come and pet the pretty colored dog.

Bandit loved children and other dogs. 

I would trust him with anything. He never growled a day in his life. Except at the bad squirrel outside!

Life was grand for a long time. Then Bandit started getting older and slowing down. He still loved chasing leaves blowing in the wind and he loved the snow. If only we all could find the joy he had in simple things.

Bandit’s injury

One day I took him to be groomed and he fell or slipped in the tub and broke his hip. 

Bandit went through surgery and rehab. He loved going on the treadmill in the water; he couldn’t wait to get to the vet and see his friends. His recovery went really well. Bandit was walking on his bad leg. He was starting to chase leaves and play fight with Smokey again. All was well. We were looking forward to spring to start walking in the park and give his leg some exercise.

Bandit loved laying in the yard and looking out into the park. Spring was so close.

And then it happened.

Bandit gets ill

It was an ordinary Sunday. I went for breakfast with my brother. We ordered bacon eggs hash browns and we decided to bring home the leftovers.

My brother, wanting to treat the dogs, dished out some eggs, bacon and hash browns into the dog bowls.  They ate very happily. For dinner, we had pork chops.

I gave the left-overs, including the fat to my dogs.

Later that night, Bandit started vomiting yellow. He was not himself. Hiding and lethargic. The next day he didn’t get much better. He stopped eating. That’s when decided he had to go to the vet.

At the veterinarian

The vet took one look at him and said. That dog doesn’t feel good.

He just laid on the floor with his head between his legs.

She took blood. Bandit’s blood levels were off.  The vet made him spend the night and he was put on IV fluids. The next day he seemed a little better. I thought he will be ok. He had to eat bland food. Boiled chicken and rice.

He ate it up. Like, “Wow, I am getting chicken!”


That was Monday. On Tuesday he was vomiting again. This time it was white, watery. I took him to the vet first thing in the morning. My husband scooped him up and he was in the hospital again.

Bandit gets worse

They took those blood levels again and this time they were off the charts. 

I don’t remember what they were called or the numbers. But the vet said his pancreas was going or shutting down. She said we need to get there.

Bandit wasn’t gonna make it.

I met with my husband at the vet and we held Bandit in our lap. Cradling Bandit’s head in my hand I hugged him and kissed him and told him what a good boy he was.  I told him to go see mom. She was waiting for him.

The vet asked if we were ready. Which we never could have been. My beautiful boy looked at me as he took his last breath.

This is so hard to write. I can’t believe all this happened because I gave him those eggs & bacon and fat & pork chop. My beautiful boy. My Bandito, my best friend, my protector.

Smokey’s buddy was gone.

I left out so much that he did to make our lives happy. He loved to play dead and roll-over for a little liver treat and he could guess what hand you had your treat in.

I miss that baby every day. I wish I had known about pancreatitis.  Smokey now gets no scraps Ever!

Related articles:
The Perplexities of Pancreatitis 

Further reading:
Pancreatitis in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsPancreatitisReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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