Understanding Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

By Jeffrey Cheek
February 6, 2023

a goldendoodle laying on the carpet with a hurting tummy

Goldendoodles, as with any breed, they can have certain health issues that require special care. One such condition is pancreatitis in Goldendoodles – a potentially serious illness that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications.

In this article we will discuss the symptoms of pancreatitis in Goldendoodles, causes for it to develop and what treatments may be available for your furry friend if he or she is diagnosed with this condition. 

Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles is an inflammatory process that occurs when the pancreas (a gland located near the stomach and located behind the liver) becomes inflamed.

When the pancreas becomes inflamed, these enzymes and hormones are released into the bloodstream, causing inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can be acute (very sudden) or chronic (happening over time). 

The most common reason why your Goldendoodle might get pancreatitis is because of a high-fat diet or if you let it eat anything.

The disease may cause a wide range of symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain and a lack of appetite. 

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles?

If your Goldendoodle is suffering from pancreatitis, they may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain - your pup may appear uncomfortable or be reluctant to move around much
  • Vomiting - if your pup is frequently bringing up food or fluid, it could be a sign of pancreatitis
  • Dehydration – increased thirst and lethargy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

It is important to note that some dogs may not show any outward signs when they have pancreatitis but instead can have more subtle indications such as abdominal swelling.

Additionally, some dogs with mild cases of pancreatitis may simply have intermittent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea until their condition worsens.

If your Goldendoodle experiences any of the above symptoms, you should take them to the vet for an examination as soon as possible.

If left untreated, pancreatitis can be life threatening and will require hospitalization with intravenous fluids and medications to reduce inflammation and allow the pancreas time to heal itself.

Causes and Risk Factors of Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles

Pancreatitis is a common condition in Goldendoodles that can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common risk factors for pancreatitis in Goldendoodles include:

  • Obesity: Overweight Goldendoodles are more likely to suffer from pancreatitis due to the extra strain on their pancreas.
  • Certain Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids can increase the risk of pancreatitis in Goldendoodles.
  • Poor Diet (Especially High Fat Diet): Feeding your Goldendoodle an unbalanced diet or one that is high in fat or sugar can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Genetics: Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, are more prone to developing pancreatitis than others.
  • Surgery: Any abdominal surgery can increase the risk of pancreatitis.
  • Toxins: Exposure to certain toxins, such as chocolate, can increase the risk of pancreatitis in Goldendoodles.
  • Obstruction: Anything that blocks the pancreatic outflow tracts leading from the pancreas can increase the risk of pancreatitis.

Contributing Factors

In addition to the above risk factors, there are also other contributing factors that can increase the chances of your Goldendoodle developing pancreatitis. These include:

  • Stress: Stressful situations, such as changes in environment or routine, can trigger an episode of pancreatitis in your Goldendoodle.
  • Age: Older dogs are more likely to develop pancreatitis than younger ones.
  • Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections such as E. coli and salmonella can cause inflammation of the pancreas and lead to pancreatitis.
  • Trauma or Injury: Traumatic injuries or surgery can also increase the risk of pancreatitis in your Goldendoodle.

How is Pancreatitis Diagnosed in Goldendoodles?

The diagnosis of pancreatitis in Goldendoodles is usually made by taking a detailed medical history and performing a physical exam.

Your veterinarian may also suggest running blood work, abdominal radiographs (x-rays), or an ultrasound.

Blood tests can reveal elevated white blood cells and/or pancreatic enzymes which are indicative of pancreatitis.

Radiographs may show an enlarged pancreas or evidence of air in the abdomen which can be signs of pancreatitis. 

An ultrasound is also a very useful tool to diagnose pancreatitis because it can reveal inflammation of the pancreas, as well as any masses or fluid accumulation that might indicate the presence of pancreatitis.

Importance of Early Diagnosis

Being able to detect and diagnose pancreatitis in Goldendoodles early on is critical for their treatment and recovery. The sooner the condition is detected, the better chance your Goldendoodle has of a full recovery and avoiding any long-term liver damage or other complications. 

What are the Treatment Options for Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles?

The treatment options for pancreatitis in Goldendoodles will depend on the severity of the condition and how soon it was detected.

If your Goldendoodle is diagnosed with mild pancreatitis, it may be able to go home and continue its recovery under close veterinary supervision. In more severe cases, hospitalization may be needed and intensive care may be required.

If your Goldendoodle is in intense pain, your veterinarian may prescribe pain medications. Anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics and antacids may also be prescribed to reduce nausea, vomiting and stomach acid production in the pancreas. Severe cases of pancreatitis may need surgery to remove any dead tissue or damaged parts of the pancreas.

When it comes to managing severe acute pencreatitis in Goldendoodles, a holistic approach to the medical management should be taken. 

This involves aggressive supportive care and intensive hospitalization, which includes fluid resuscitation, nutritional support, pain relief, correction of metabolic derangements, control of infection/secondary complications, and possibly glucocorticoids or surgical intervention.

Once your Goldendoodle is stable and ready to go home, the treatment plan may include a low-fat diet that is high in protein and digestibility

Analgesia for Goldendoodles With Pancreatitis

Proper pain management is essential in the treatment of dogs with acute pancreatitis. Pain assessment should be done by a trained clinician to identify areas of discomfort as well as assess progress throughout the course of illness.

A multifaceted approach to analgesia with the use of opioids, NMDA antagonists, and local anesthetics should be used depending on the severity of pain. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or acupuncture may be used as an adjunct to traditional pain management medications.

Transitioning to oral medications should be done when possible, and all therapies should be tailored for both short-term and long-term use based on clinical improvement.

All medications should be used judiciously, as adverse effects can be seen in dogs with pancreatitis, especially when used for prolonged periods of time. 

How Can You Prevent Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles (Proper Nutrition)

a raw dog diet on a plate

To Prevent an episode of pancreatitis in your Goldendoodle, it is important to keep your pup’s diet balanced, and to monitor their fat intake.

A healthy diet should be low in fats and high in protein, with moderate carbohydrates and fiber, including low-fat/low-carbohydrate commercial diets (e.g., Hill's® Prescription Diet® Canine l/d), homemade cooked diets, hydrolyzed protein diets, and semi-moist diets.

Switching foods as little as possible (or as slow as possible) can also help to prevent pancreatitis, as sudden dietary changes can cause an inflammatory response in the pancreas. It’s important to avoid feeding table scraps, fatty treats and raw diets, as these are often higher in fat content than commercial dog food.

It is also important to ensure that your Goldendoodle gets regular exercise, as that can help to reduce their risk of developing pancreatitis.

Quality of Life and Long-Term Complications of Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles

Impact on Quality of Life

Pancreatitis in Goldendoodles can have a significant impact on quality of life. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy can make it difficult for affected dogs to enjoy their normal activities and keep up with their usual routine. Additionally, the treatment process and recovery period can be stressful for both the pet and the owner.

Potential Long-Term Complications

The long-term complications associated with pancreatitis in Goldendoodles vary depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, dogs may experience digestive issues such as acute gastroenteritis, colitis or even pancreatic cancer.

Additionally, stress and anxiety can decrease a Goldendoodle’s lifespan if not managed properly through diet and exercise.

Feeding your dog a high-quality diet with guaranteed probiotics is essential for maintaining optimal health and reducing the risk of developing long-term complications from pancreatitis.


Overall, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with pancreatitis in Goldendoodles so that you can take steps to ensure your pet’s health and wellbeing over the course of its lifetime.

Early diagnosis of pancreatitis can make a major difference in the outcome, as well as prevent any long-term complications.

It is also important to provide your Goldendoodle with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and plenty of love and attention to ensure they remain healthy and happy.


Jeffrey Cheek

Jeffrey Cheek is the proud owner of a funny goldendoodle named Bailey. Jeffrey loves spending time with his family and friends, and he enjoys being active outdoors. He is a successful business owner, and he takes great pride in providing for his loved ones. Bailey is always by Jeffrey's side, and the two of them make everyone around them laugh with their silly antics.

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