Mini Schnauzer Familial Hypertriglyceridemia
[Caution: kinda gross subject matter, but super important.]
Heidi was a salt n pepper 6 year old miniature schnauzer with recurrent bouts of soft stool and occassional little spit ups of vomit in the morning. Usually she ate well, but about once a month, she would not touch her dinner.
Her parents thought it was normal for a dog to have irregular bowel movements because they get into so much “stuff” on walks, and in the backyard.
Normal consists of regular meals, usually twice a day, and bowel movements 2-3 times daily. If a dog steals garbage, gets gravy or bacon put on their food, or eats a child’s hot dog, then sone soft stool and vomiting makes perfect sense.
Heidi was a miniature schnauzer. Did you know miniature schnauzers are likely to have hypertriglyceridemia and a propensity for pancreatitis? I’ll repeat in English: high levels of certain fats in the bloodstream and bouts of inflammation and pain in the pancreas.
Pancreatitis is probably more common than veterinarians think. The inflammation can cause anything from a mild stomach upset to super painful abdominal pain and severe illness.
Heidi suffered from the mild, recurrent sneaky variety of pancreatitis. A blood panel identified the high fats. A special pancreatitis test, combined with her symptoms, and an abnormal look to the pancreas on an abdominal ultrasound study, gave us the answer.
So what did we do about it? There are no drugs or medicines to stop the pancreas from overreacting. In fact, certain medications, like phenobarbitol for seizures, can trigger pancreatitis.
In Heidi’s case, we switched her to a prescription low fat diet. Her triglycerides came right down. If they had not, I would have prescibed medication to help her. Luckily, Heidi didn’t need pharmaceuticals.
This little Schnauzer ate better, had nice stools, no vomit, lost done weight, and generally enjoyed life to the fullest once we solved her problem.
P.S. If you are a Miniature Schnauzer parent, ask your veterinarian about screening for hypertriglyceridemia!