Nov 07 2018

Pancreatitis in Pets: What You Need to Know at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we bet you’re full of plans for turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and all the fixings. But before you dive in to meal planning and cooking (not to mention eating!) there are a few things to keep in mind about the holy grail of holiday meals.

We’re talking about pancreatitis in pets, and awareness is going to be key in protecting your pet from this deadly condition. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving and pancreatitis in pets go hand in hand. Paws, Purrs, and Exotics Animal Hospital wants to make sure you have the information you need to help prevent a Thanksgiving emergency room visit.

A Closer Look

You may know that pets (and humans) have a pancreas. But lesser known is the location and vital role of this organ. The pancreas is located near the stomach and small intestine. It produces insulin and enzymes – both critical for your pet’s digestion.

Acute pancreatitis happens when the  pancreas becomes inflamed. Although there are a variety of potential causes, the ingestion of rich, fatty foods is the leading reason so many pets come down with this condition like clockwork each Thanksgiving. Animals seldom tolerate high-fat treats, and even small amounts (a bite here, a nibble there) can cause big problems for them.

Signs of Pancreatitis in Pets

Inflammation of the pancreas can move to other vital organs quickly. Pancreatitis is extremely painful for your pet, and must be treated promptly. If you notice any of the following signs in your pet, please contact us immediately.

  • Recurrent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Distended abdomen
  • Hunched over posture (indicating a painful abdomen)
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

Treatment of Pancreatitis in Pets

Pancreatitis may be diagnosed by physical exam and history, accompanied by x-rays, ultrasound, and blood testing. The mainstay of pancreatitis treatment is aggressive supportive care and may include any or all of the following:

  • Hospitalization
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Anti-nausea drugs
  • Anti-vomiting drugs
  • Pain medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Withholding food to “rest” the stomach, accompanied by feeding via feeding tube
  • Surgical intervention

Severe pancreatitis may be fatal, regardless of veterinary treatment and intervention.

Enjoying the Holidays

Getting into garbage during the holiday meal is another common scenario that can result in pancreatitis in pets. So be sure you put away any leftovers right away, and keep your pets out of the kitchen. You should also make sure trash cans are tightly sealed.

The good news is that you and your pets can still enjoy Thanksgiving with an extra snuggle, walk, or playtime. If you feel you must include your pet in the food related area, here are some healthy options to consider:

  • Cooked green beans or carrots (no salt, no fat added)
  • A spoonful of plain, cooked, and mashed sweet potato (no sugar or fat added)
  • A small piece of cooked turkey (lean white meat only)

Please let us know if you have any questions about Thanksgiving and pancreatitis in pets. Together we can prevent this painful problem in your pets this year.  From all of us to all of you and your pets, have a happy Thanksgiving!

pawspurrsandexoticsah | Exercise Nutrition & Obesity, Pet-Friendly Holidays, You & Your Pet

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