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Can Pancreatitis Cause Bad Breath In Dogs? Health & Care Facts

photo 2006 Beau Maes | more info (via: Wylio)I am writing about my 6 year old male, 16#, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Snookie. Snook has...

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

bichon frise dog smelling his owners face

Can Pancreatitis Cause Bad Breath In Dogs? Health & Care Facts

I am writing about my 6 year old male, 16#, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Snookie. Snook has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency, and I have been supplementing his food with 3/4 teaspoon pancreazyme.

He had lost 6 pounds in a short period of time, and had very loose stools but still had considerable energy to keep up with my Lab/X. My Vet tried the Pancreazyme without running any additional tests. It has worked for his symptoms, and he is maintaining his weight.

What concerns me is since the start of this his breath has become horrible. (not that it was that sweet before, lol!) I brush his teeth, have added a rinse to their water bowl, and the Vet said his teeth are fine.

Is this a side effect of the Pancreazyme? Or should my Vet have run tests to rule out other illnesses? I am worried that something other than his pancreas is Snook’s problem.

Thank you in advance for any advice!

Maura and Snookie in Putnam CT

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Let me start by saying good work on brushing Snook’s teeth!

I have not personally seen bad breath as a side effect of pancreatic enzyme supplementation, but it should be theoretically possible.

The pancreas is located in the abdomen. It produces hormones that control blood sugar. It also produces enzymes that digest food. In normal digestion, food enters the stomach where is is pre-processed with acids. It then passes into the intestines, where enzymes from the pancreas are added to the mix to really get digestion going.

Some dogs’ pancreases do not produce adequate digestive enzymes. This leads to weight loss (since food isn’t properly digested and absorbed) and diarrhea. The treatment is to add synthetic enzymes to the food (or to administer the enzymes in capsules).

male dog owner covering his nose because his dog smells bad
Image Credit: san4ezz, Shutterstock

The treatment usually halts the weight loss (which can be catastrophic) and controls the diarrhea. However, it changes the way food is digested. Normally food is pre-processed in the stomach and the enzymes are added in the intestines. With pancreatic enzyme supplementation, the enzymes are present in the stomach. They may start to break food down into malodorous fragments earlier on, which could lead to bad breath as stomach gas is eructatated (I love that word — it means burped).

So yes, maybe the bad breath is a side effect of the Pancreazyme. But maybe it is not.

Many other things can cause bad breath. Dental disease is number one, but your dog sounds like he is among the minority of dogs that live dental disease-free.

Kidney disease and diabetes are among other common causes of bad breath. Diabetes is a disease of blood sugar, and blood sugar is controlled by the pancreas. We already know that your dog’s pancreas isn’t functioning normally. Therefore, I think it makes a lot of sense to run some tests — especially for diabetes. Basic blood tests and X-rays should give you a better idea of whether your dog’s bad breath is something to be worried about, or whether it’s just a side effect from the pancreatic enzymes.

Featured Image Credit: ilona.shorokhova, Shutterstock


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