Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pancreatitis in Dogs- When Sharing the Thanksgiving Feast Can Be Fatal


Thinking of sharing that Thanksgiving meal with your dog? Many people do, and in many cases the dog happily slurps up the holiday fixings, never to suffer a consequence. But should pancreatitis set in-you’ve got one very sick doggie. That well-intentioned holiday meal could send him to the ER… or even result in a fatal outcome.  

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a painful, potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas- the organ producing both digestive enzymes and insulin. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas is produces excessive digestive enzymes and these enzymes digest the dog’s own pancreas and leak into the abdominal cavity.
Dogs with pancreatitis display loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or lethargy. Pancreatitis can progress, affecting other systems with gall bladder blockage and liver dysfunction.

What causes pancreatitis?

A risk factor in developing pancreatitis is ingesting a rich or high-fat meal commonly shared with dogs during the holidays. Pancreatitis may also occur at other times without an apparent cause and unrelated to eating people food.
The Schnauzer is a breed at-risk for developing pancreatitis, although other common breeds include the Yorkshire terrier, Miniature poodle and Labrador retriever.

How is pancreatitis treated?

Treatment for a dog with pancreatitis includes hospitalization, withholding food for at least 12 hours, intravenous fluid therapy, pain medications and anti-vomiting medications. Plasma transfusions may be needed if low blood protein levels or clotting issues arise.  Antibiotics may be given if the pet is in shock or has systemic symptoms.

How to avoid pancreatitis during the holidays?

Recognize that you don’t HAVE to share your Thanksgiving feast with your dogs. Giving your pet a special dog treat is a safer alternative.

If you must give your dog something from the holiday table, choose wisely. Try lean turkey breast. Avoid meat skins or fat. Skip the ham, which is high in salt. And forget those rich side dishes.

When should you worry about pancreatitis?

Your dog is vomiting longer than a 12 hours period.
Your dog has vomiting accompanied with abdominal pain.
Your dog has gastrointestinal symptoms after a known ingestion of rich foods or getting into the garbage.
Your dog is a Schnauzer and is vomiting.
If your pet becomes sick with vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal pain, call your veterinarian. It should be recognized that there are many causes of vomiting in dogs and not all cases are attributed to pancreatitis. Additionally every dog with pancreatitis doesn't display all the mentioned symptoms.


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