The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal

Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Combination of symptoms that sent us to the vet, yet again.

I had dogs vomit before. Throwing up once and feeling better afterward doesn’t worry me too much. Diarrhea depends on how bad it is and how long it lasts. Lethargy is another story. That by itself would be enough to worry.

The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal
Today Cookie is feeling quite a bit better

Combination of all three? Definitely worried.

Cookie spent the weekend at the horse farm, as she loves doing. Had a great time running in the snow and playing with JD. Both days she came home happy and bouncy, had her Kong and went to rest.

Sunday evening she really looked zonked.

Yes, she did a little more running around in the snow but to be THIS tired? Tired enough not to want to move and not want her dinner? It was suspicious.

As time went on, she looked even more tired. When invited to go potty she got up and stood there for a while in a way I didn’t like. She went out but it didn’t make sense to me that’s she’d be that exhausted.

At night she just slept, didn’t bother me for play at all.

Normally I’d be thankful to get some work done but not when something about all this felt wrong. I offered some food again and she ate some. Maybe she really was just tired?

If I knew what was really brewing I wouldn’t have enticed her to eat. But I didn’t know.

Early in the morning, I woke up to the sounds of vomiting.

Cookie threw up some bile. There was nothing suspicious in it, just yellow slime. Perhaps her belly was upset from something she munched on at the farm. She got it out of her system and should start feeling better. That’s what I expected to happen.

I checked her belly, it wasn’t hard or distended but it seemed to me she was arching away even from my gentle touch.

And her face, her face definitely looked wrong.

I know I’m very paranoid and I try my best not to make a mountain out of a molehill. But I was concerned enough to discuss with hubby what his schedule was and ask him to keep his cell on.

Cookie went back to sleep but even the way she was sleeping looked wrong. Typically she’s sprawled comfortably.

She slept until noon and got up only to throw up again. Now I really wasn’t happy and got on the phone with our vet. Cookies gums didn’t look great to me either. He agreed that Cookie should be seen. After I hung up the phone Cookie went potty. At first, to my relief, the poop was coming out good … just to be followed by diarrhea.

That was the last straw.

Hey, mom, I’m better, see?

I did my best to collect some of the poop and tried to see what’s in it. But the liquid mostly just colored the snow it hit. What I could pick up I put in a jar and in the fridge and got on the phone with hubby.

Half an hour later Cookie was on her way to the vet.

Even though she remained social, the vet could immediately see how lethargic she was. A bit change from the typical fireball she is.

They checked the stool and found bits of grains and corn. The assumption was that Cookie got into the horse feed. Her abdomen was painful on palpation. Both large bowel and small bowel diarrhea with foreign material present. She was showing signs of mild dehydration.

Originally the vet thought we’d do x-rays but after he examined Cookie, and with all the latest information, he felt it was not as much likely and it was decided to pass on imaging for the moment.

Cookie got a shot of antibiotics and antiemetics and some more to take home with her.

It was also decided to run a full blood panel, including PLI test for pancreatitis.

Cookie was to fast for 24 hours but was encouraged to drink. She had no interest in that at all, though, so we ended up having to syringe an electrolyte solution into her.

She didn’t mind she wasn’t allowed to eat, she had no interest in food at all.

We were watching, hoping for improvement and waiting for the lab results. She looked a little better by the end of the day but still bad enough, even though she did show some interest in playing later on.

Whatever this was, she looked very sick.

The next morning the results came back and, indeed, Cookie has “mild” pancreatitis. Mild and already looking so badly? Scary stuff.


Because of the diagnosis, Cookie was put on Hill’s i/d can diet. We did try using it for Jasmine back in the day and Jasmine hated it. I was happy to open the can and find out that it is quite different today than it was then. Much more palatable and Cookie agrees, at least for now.

She was quite happy to accept it as her Kong filling in order to get multiple tiny meals into her on the first day.

So far she held it down and continues to improve.

Pancreatitis isn’t something to mess with.

Categories: ConditionsDiarrheaLethargyPancreatitisSymptomsVomiting

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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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