Pancreatitis in Pets: Watch the Holiday Diet!

Photo by Rojo Images.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and some of us are still serving leftovers. And of course, there’s that long haul of days from now to Christmas to New Year’s Eve parties. However you celebrate, please don’t feed or allow your pets to eat human food related to the holiday. You need to be especially aware of where you put your leftovers and garbage after your feast because dogs and cats, too, are experts at dumpster diving.

Turkey bones, compared to cow bones, can splinter very easily when consumed by your pet and can get caught in the throat or cut the stomach or intestines. This will cause bloody vomitus or stool and require medical treatment. If the bone gets stuck in the intestines, it will need to be removed surgically.

Feeding human food to your pet can possibly cause pancreatitis, a painful and serious disease. Pets with pancreatitis might be vomiting, restless and crying in pain. They may be lethargic or not eating, and they may have diarrhea as well. There are other causes of pancreatitis aside from holiday sneak-binging; they include obesity, inactivity, certain drugs, trauma, liver disease, decreased blood flow and cancer. Miniature schnauzers are genetically predisposed to pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is diagnosed with a blood panel, radiographs, and special tests that check pancreatic enzymes. One of the best tests is abdominal ultrasound. It is painless and non-invasive, and in skilled hands eliminates the need for exploratory surgery on a vomiting pet.

Most pets with pancreatitis need hospitalization. While at the hospital, they are initially given intravenous (IV) fluids, pain medication and anti-vomiting drugs. When they become stable, they are fed a bland diet. Some pets do not respond, and the problem progresses.

Pancreatitis is one disease that emphasizes how important it is to feed your pet a well-balanced diet of high-quality pet food and to keep them away from foods especially high in fat. It’s a very serious disease, and the best strategy to prevent pancreatitis is to not feed your pets people food. You could be harming your pet with misplaced love.

May this holiday season be filled with genuine affection between you and your pet.

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