Sad Looking British Bulldog Tempted By Plate Of CookiesWith all the decorating, baking, and wrapping of gifts this month, pet pancreatitis isn’t really something most pet owners want to consider. Yet the number of cases of pancreatitis in pets rises sharply around the holidays.

There are some obvious reasons for this. After all, what pet lover doesn’t want to share a bit of turkey with all the fixin’s with a fur pal? Even when a pet owner is aware of food risks, Uncle Larry doesn’t know that turkey skin is a no-no for Fido.

To help keep your holidays sparkling and free of veterinary emergencies, we want to provide an overview of pet pancreatitis and what you can do to prevent it.

Pet Pancreatitis

The pancreas is an important organ that makes enzymes necessary for digestion. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed, releasing active enzymes meant for digestion to the surrounding tissues and organs. This causes damage to the tissues and can also harm the pancreas itself.

Because of the severity of this condition, pancreatitis should be treated as a veterinary emergency. Symptoms of pet pancreatitis include:

  • Hunched posture
  • Repeated vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Bloat/abdominal distension
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Weakness

If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please contact the Stone Ridge team. While acute pancreatitis is particularly common in dogs, it can also affect cats (25% of acute cases). Keep in mind, cats or any pet who has experienced one episode are more likely to develop chronic pancreatitis. This is all the more reason to take seriously the food we feed our cat and dog companions.

The Dangers of Table Food

While there’s no specific known cause of pancreatitis in pets, there is a strong correlation between a fatty diet and increased risk. Other factors include Diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypothyroidism, trauma, and certain genetic predispositions.

There’s no true cure for pancreatitis – only supportive care (IV fluid therapy, pain management, etc.). Therefore, it’s best to avoid this condition through prevention.

Since a bout of pancreatitis can be triggered by even one high-fat meal, avoid these particularly fatty table scraps:

  • Poultry skin or fat
  • Gravy
  • Buttery or cheesy side dishes
  • Bacon
  • Grease
  • Sugary foods

If you must include your pet in the holiday feasting, we recommend some of these lighter, healthier options (in small amounts):

  • Cooked, unseasoned green beans
  • Baby carrots
  • Cooked, unsweetened yam or sweet potato
  • Small piece of cooked poultry (skin removed)
  • Dollop of pumpkin puree (unsweetened)

We hope that with this information, we’ll never have to treat your pet for an emergency case of pancreatitis. If you would like additional information on prevention and how to encourage good health through nutrition, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.