There is one simple thing you can do to avoid a trip to the animal ER this holiday season. Avoid the temptation to feed pets from the table! The skin of a holiday turkey, fatty parts of a ham, leftover gravy and other rich foods can all trigger an episode of pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that provides digestive enzymes and insulin. Under typical circumstances, these powerful chemicals help break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates so the body can make use of the food.
For some reason, these enzymes are occasionally triggered early and actually start damaging the pancreas itself, causing severe inflammation of the organ and surrounding tissues. This is a very painful condition. It is seen more frequently around the holidays when pets eat too much fatty food from holiday meals. This fat is thought to trigger the disease.
Pet owners first notice that their pets just don’t feel well. Then they may have a painful abdomen that gets worse. Often they can develop diarrhea. The classic symptom is vomiting.
Even though symptoms range from mild to life-threatening, acute pancreatitis is a very painful condition. Pets will whine or cry, and often walk with a hunched up appearance. This is a sure sign of pain that may require veterinary care. Dehydration, heart arrhythmias, or blood clotting issues may occur without quick medical attention.
If you notice a change in your pets eating behavior or stance, or any signs of abdominal pain, especially with vomiting, call your veterinarian for early treatment. This could save your pet’s life. Lori H