Triaditis in dogs

Dogs with triaditis have inflammation of the pancreas, small intestine and liver – all at the same time. The condition is common in cats but rare in dogs. When it occurs, it’s usually as a complication of severe pancreatitis. As such, it’s most likely to happen in certain breeds and dogs suffering from obesity or other illnesses.

Triaditis is a nasty, life-threatening illness. The outlook for dogs with triaditis is variable. It may be cured if it’s caught in the early stages and treated effectively. But the outlook is poorer for dogs with severe pancreatitis or inflammation of the liver. Dogs who recover may be prone to repeated episodes. Untreated triaditis can result in death.



Triaditis in dogs – what is it?

Triaditis in dogs happens when disease affecting one organ in their tummy spreads to the organs next to it as well. In dogs, the pancreas, small intestine and gallbladder are close to one another. The 3 connect in all animals to allow movement of digestive juices. Anything causing severe inflammation in one organ can also affect the other organs.



Triaditis in dogs – what are the symptoms?

The symptoms of triaditis will include all the symptoms of pancreatitis, liver disease and small intestinal inflammation:

  • Lethargy (extreme tiredness)
  • Eating less or not at all
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dehydration and weakness
  • Abdominal (tummy) pain
  • Jaundice – yellowing skin and whites of the eyes (the sclera)
triaditis in dogs
Lethargy or tiredness can be a sign of triaditis



Triaditis in dogs – which dogs are at most risk?

Dogs who are

  • Susceptible to pancreatitis
  • Dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (inflamed intestines)
  • Dogs with existing inflammation of the gallbladder and bile duct in the liver (cholangitis, cholangiohepatitis)



Triaditis in dogs – how do vets diagnose it?

Vets diagnose triaditis in dogs based on:

The history – current symptoms, other illnesses, current or previously-diagnosed

A full physical examination and the following tests:

  • General blood tests – checking organ health and blood cell counts.
  • Special blood tests –  checking for pancreatitis and how well the liver is working.
  • Imaging – x-rays and ultrasound of the tummy.
  • Specialist investigations – biopsy and bacterial culture of the small intestine, liver and pancreas.
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Several bloods are usually needed for diagnosis


Vet treatment

Triaditis in dogs – how do vets treat it?

Dogs with triaditis will need intensive vet treatment. They may need to stay at the vet clinic or hospital for this.

  • Fluids to treat dehydration. Given directly into your dog’s veins if they are poorly.
  • Anti-sickness treatment
  • Antibiotics – to treat bacterial infection
  • Special diet and appetite stimulants. Sometimes given through a special feeding tube until your dog starts eating again.
  • Pain relief
  • Medicine for liver disease
  • Medicine to help reduce inflammation in the liver, pancreas, and small intestine.

Home treatment

Caring for a dog with triaditis at home

There aren’t any home cures for triaditis. But you can support their recovery at home once they start treatment:

  • Encourage them to drink water
  • Give prescribed medicines from your vet at the correct time and dose
  • Encourage your dog to eat – keep to foods recommended by your vet
  • Let them rest quietly
  • Keep your dog indoors until fully recovered

Are humans or other dogs at risk of triaditis?

Triaditis is a rare illness and won’t spread to other dogs or humans.



 Can triaditis in dogs be prevented?

Triaditis is a complex condition. There’s no guaranteed way to prevent the illness.

  • Measures to reduce the risk of pancreatitis or small intestinal inflammation may help reduce risk – this involves avoiding fatty human foods; and keeping your dog slim with a healthy body condition score.
  • Feed a special low-allergen low fat diet (Hills Prescription Diet z/d)
  • Giving probiotics – these will support healthy gut bacteria
  • Keeping up to date with vaccinations and worming. To prevent the avoidable causes of infection and inflammation.


When to worry

Triaditis in dogs – when to worry?

Triaditis in dogs is a life-threatening illness.

Find your nearest vet if your dog is:

  • Vomiting with blood
  • Vomiting repeatedly and not keeping water down
  • Developing yellow-coloured skin, eyes and gums
  • Collapsed or not responding to you
  • Unconscious

Talk to a vet as soon as possible if your dog is:

  • Not eating anything
  • Unusually quiet or withdrawn
  • Losing weight

Joii can help with:

  • Recognising the signs of triaditis
  • Understanding the condition and it’s treatment
  • Giving medicine to dogs
  • What to feed a dog with triaditis
  • Weight management and diets
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