pancreatitis in petsIf you haven’t had enough pumpkin spice flavor in your life lately, you’re in luck. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, a fact that has most Americans jumping for joy. Between the turkey, gravy, casseroles, and desserts, we consume far more than we ought to – and pay for it later.

The endless indulgence does not set a great example for our pets either, who watch every move we make intently. It’s no wonder that pancreatitis in pets occurs like clockwork every holiday season. Fortunately, there are definite ways to counteract this dangerous medical condition.

A Closer Look

Generally, we all know that pets come equipped with a pancreas, but lesser known is the location and specific job description of this critical organ.

Located near the stomach and large intestine, your pet’s pancreas produces insulin and enzymes necessary for proper digestion. Diagnosis of pancreatitis in pets can be linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Fatty diet
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Certain medications
  • Previous incidents of acute pancreatitis in pets can develop into a chronic condition

Nothing Cute About It

Acute pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas become inflamed. At Thanksgiving dinners around the country, pets are invariably attracted to loads of rich, fatty dishes, but even a small taste of mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, and more, can unwittingly result in grave harm. Animals seldomly tolerate high-fat treats, and pancreatitis in pets must be treated promptly.

Tricky Timing

Inflammation of the pancreas can move to other vital organs, but initial symptoms can be confusing. Please notify us immediately if you notice the following threats to pet health:

  • Recurrent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite (a very telling signal during or after a big family meal)
  • Dehydration
  • Hunched-over posture
  • Abdominal or side pain when touched
  • Distended belly
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

Treating Pancreatitis in Pets

Treating pancreatitis in pets involves IV fluid therapy, pain relief, nutritional support, and anti-vomiting medication. Sometimes, pets require monitoring for 1-2 nights and treatment for secondary issues caused by pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis in pets varies considerably. Many animals experience mild symptoms, but it’s not uncommon to treat severe cases or chronic incidents.

Enjoying the Holidays

The good news is that you and your pet can continue to enjoy the upcoming holidays together. Schedule extra snuggle time, a longer than usual walk, and offer them a special meal full of healthy options.

Plain steamed sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, apples, or pumpkin are typically welcomed by hungry pets. If you do provide them with meat from your feast, ensure that it’s a small amount of skinless, boneless, cooked turkey white meat.

Please let us know if you have any questions about pancreatitis in pets or other holiday safety concerns. From all of us at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!