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Disease Highlight: Pancreatitis in Dogs

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Who can resist big soulful eyes looking up at you while you’re enjoying Thanksgiving dinner? YOU should! While it’s tempting to sneak a few table scraps to begging pets, giving them fatty human foods can make dogs and cats sick.

No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, there is sure to be delicious food involved. That’s why the team at Westfield Veterinary Group wants pet parents to know some of the risks associated with pancreatitis in dogs during the holiday season.

The Connection between Thanksgiving and Pancreatitis

Seemingly harmless Thanksgiving foods like turkey and stuffing can cause distress in your canine family member. And, rich fatty foods, especially those including a lot of butter and fat, can trigger pancreatitis in dogs.

Many veterinarians see a spike in dogs presenting with pancreatitis the day after Thanksgiving. That’s why it’s so important to keep a watchful eye on your pup while food is being prepared and served.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs

A healthy pancreas releases enzymes to aid in the digestion of food; however, in a pancreatitis attack, these enzymes end up attacking the pancreas itself and other organs, which causes inflammation and severe pain.

Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing

Pancreatitis Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect pancreatitis, it’s imperative to seek veterinary care immediately because if left untreated, this condition can be fatal.

The Westfield Veterinary Group team will ask you a series of questions to get a complete list of your pet’s symptoms. We may also perform blood tests and/or take x-rays to detect any abdominal abnormalities. The important thing is to confirm a diagnosis so that we can administer the appropriate treatment.

With mild, acute episodes, treatment typically includes supportive care and resting the pancreas, allowing the body to heal itself. Dogs who are vomiting should be fasted until the vomiting subsides – and then fed a low fat, highly digestible diet during recovery.

In more severe cases, a dog may be hospitalized for a short time while intravenous fluids and medications for pain, inflammation, and vomiting and/or diarrhea are administered and food is gradually re-introduced.

If your canine companion gets their paws on too much Thanksgiving food and experiences symptoms of pancreatitis, please contact our team immediately. Our Union location is open Thanksgiving Day from 7 am – 11 pm to provide emergency veterinary care for pets in need.

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