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Pancreatic Cancer (Insulinoma) in Dogs



If your dog has collapsed or is suffering from seizures because of an insulinoma, medical emergency treatment usually will consist of immediate administration of glucose. For home treatment of sudden collapses or seizures, corn syrup can be given as a temporary solution to increase glucose levels. But medical attention will still be needed, so consulting with a veterinarian is critical. The veterinarian may also give your dog glucose containing fluids and/or steroids to counteract the insulin effects.


If your dog's health status, along with imaging of the tumor, indicates potential value from surgery, removal of the tumor will usually be recommended. Hypoglycemia may be resolved by removing the part of the pancreas with the tumor on it. However, if there is significant metastases or functional tumor cells in the remainder of the pancreas, additional treatment will still be necessary. Likewise, if the tumors are generalized, or if there are other health concerns, medical management may be advised as the primary mode of treatment.


Prednisolone is a steroid that stimulates formation of glucose and is often a cornerstone of medical treatment. Other medications that might be used to treat insulinoma include:


  • Diazoxide
  • Octreotide
  • Glucagon
  • Chemotherapeutic agents, such as streptozocin


Dietary management is frequently used in conjunction with other treatments. In fact, you may be able to minimize the amount of medication, or the need for additional treatments, by feeding your dog small, frequent amounts of moderate protein, low sugar foods, and complex carbohydrate rich foods. Clinically, the most important dietary technique is the frequency of the meals. Essentially, this technique is used to limit the fluctuations in insulin that instigate the hypoglycemic episodes. Controlling symptoms of hypoglycemia is ultimately the goal. Your veterinarian will assist you in developing a workable diet plan for your dog.


Living and Management


Surgery, along with dietary precautions, can dramatically lessen hypoglycemia and insulinoma symptoms for your dog. However, in many cases continued medical treatment and dietary management will be necessary. Frequent check-ups will be necessary to monitor this condition, and to determine if progress is being made in a positive direction. The success of the treatments will be evaluated and the type of treatment fine-tuned based on your dogs symptoms and whether any of the conditions have recurred.


See Also






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