Health Alert: Pancreatitis – Holiday Safety Guide

November 26th, 2008 by Dan

Your dog won’t allow you to forget that he too is celebrating Thanksgiving this coming Thursday as he follows you from the counter to the table, gazing up in hopes that a scrap of turkey will soon come his way. It’s hard to resist those puppy dog eyes, especially on holidays when we want our canine family members to feel involved in the festivities as well. However indulging our dogs with turkey, stuffing and other goodies can actually be hazardous to their health.

Photo by killthebird

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the Pancreas that is usually brought on when a dog consumes large amounts of foods that he isn’t used to eating (usually fatty items). Unfortunately around the holidays, the food that causes this illness is usually fed from the hands of many people who are just trying to “slip the dog a little treat”. When a dog is affected by Pancreatitis the enzymes within the pancreas (as opposed to the enzymes within the intestinal tract) become active and start to digest the organ itself.


* Vomiting
* Lethargy
* Abdominal Sensitivity
* Diarrhea
* Vomiting
* Loss Of Appetite
* Dehydration

When veterinarians see cases of dogs coming in experiencing these symptoms around the holidays, they are going to immediately need to know what the dog has consumed. Make sure you provide them with as accurate an account as you can. There are many diagnostic tools used in diagnosing Pancreatitis including blood work, radiographs and ultrasound. Treatment usually involves supportive care, pain medication and monitoring. Dogs are often fasted for days to give the pancreas a chance to rest. Once a dog is out of the woods, a low fat diet is often instituted in order to keep mild cases of this disease under control. Sometimes pancreatic enzymes will need to be added to a dogs diet as well.

Photo by kyleska

Please remember to keep all human food out of your dog’s reach this holiday (including that which goes into the trash!) and remind guests that it isn’t a kind thing to feed your dog table scraps. No one wants to spend their holiday at the Emergency Vet! If you’d like to give your dog a small amount of turkey meat (no cooked bones, no skin) after your meal, that should be fine. Better yet, get him a special dog treat made just for him or make some yourself!

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