If you are indulging in pumpkin spice everything this season, you may also be looking forward eagerly to Thanksgiving Day. Between the turkey, stuffing, appetizers and desserts, we often consume far more than we ought to – and pay for it later. 

And, if we aren’t careful, our pets can follow our example, but with disastrous results. Endless indulgence means it’s no wonder that pancreatitis in pets occurs like clockwork every holiday season. Avoid a pet emergency this Thanksgiving by learning more about pancreatitis in pets. 

Up Close With Pancreatitis

The pancreas is a glandular organ adjacent to the stomach and small intestine. Its job is to secrete digestive enzymes and insulin, necessary for proper digestion. 

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes enlarged and inflamed, and secretes digestive enzyme too early. This can result in tissue damage and/or death of the pet. Diabetes can also be a complication, as the pancreas that is damaged can lose its ability to regulate insulin properly. 

Causes of Pancreatitis in Pets

There are many reasons for pancreatitis to occur. Diagnosis can be linked to:

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

It may be inevitable that your pet is attracted to the fatty, salty foods that accompany the typical Thanksgiving meal. But even a taste of turkey, mashed potatoes, casseroles, or desserts can have devastating results. Animals have trouble digesting high fat foods, and pancreatitis in pets must be treated without delay to protect your pet’s health.

Signs and Symptoms

Inflammation of the pancreas can move to other vital organs. Call us immediately if your pet experiences any of the following signs.

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Hunched over appearance
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Abdominal or side pain when touched
  • Swollen or distended abdomen
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

Treatment of pancreatitis may include hospitalization, IV fluids, supportive medications, nutritional support, and repeated lab tests.

Preventing Pancreatitis in Pets

As with most illnesses, prevention is preferable to treatment. One of the best ways to prevent pancreatitis in pets is to make sure pets never have access to high fat foods. This is especially true around the holidays, when our homes are loaded with delicious treats and guests. 

Most pets won’t hesitate to help themselves to unattended food scraps and the garbage can is no exception. Keep your pet safe this Thanksgiving and all year round with our tips:

  • Don’t feed table scraps to your pet, and make sure guests know the rules, too
  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised around plates of food, appetizers, leftovers, etc
  • Put away leftovers immediately, or close off the kitchen to pets until you can clean up the food
  • Place garbage in a bin with a tightly fitting lid, or take it outside (make sure outside trash is also secured)

If you have concerns about pancreatitis in pets or  other holiday pet safety questions, please call your team at Old Derby Animal Hospital. Happy Thanksgiving!