Management of acute pancreatitis in dogs: a critical appraisal with focus on feeding and analgesia

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Knowledge about acute pancreatitis has increased recently in both the medical and veterinary fields. Despite this expansion of knowledge, there are very few studies on treatment interventions in naturally occurring disease in dogs. As a result, treatment recommendations are largely extrapolated from experimental rodent models or general critical care principles. General treatment principles involve replacing fluid losses, maintaining hydrostatic pressure, controlling nausea and providing pain relief. Specific interventions recently advocated in human medicine include the use of neurokinin-1 antagonists for analgesia and early interventional feeding. The premise for early feeding is to improve the health of the intestinal tract, as unhealthy enterocytes are thought to perpetuate systemic inflammation. The evidence for early interventional feeding is not supported by robust clinical trials to date, but in humans there is evidence that it reduces hospitalisation time and in dogs it is well tolerated. This article summarises the major areas of management of acute pancreatitis in dogs and examines the level of evidence for each recommendation.

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