Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving and Pancreatitis: Why You Shouldn't Feed Your Pets From the Table

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and with it comes potential hazards for your pet. The urge to share your Thanksgiving dinner with your pets can be overwhelming, but some foods can be very harmful even in small quantities. Foods high in fat such as gravy or turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening illness.

What does the pancreas do?
The pancreas is a vital organ that sits under the stomach on the right side of the abdomen. It releases enzymes to break down food for digestion and also releases insulin to regulate blood sugar.

What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that causes a disruption to the secretion of digestive enzymes, causing the pancreas to digest itself. If the disease progresses without treatment, more organs become inflamed and the release of insulin is stalled which can cause diabetes. 

What are the symptoms?
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful Abdomen
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
If your pet is exhibiting any of the above symptoms after Thanksgiving, it is definitely a good idea to have him or her evaluated by a veterinarian. Treatment consists of IV fluid therapy, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics, pain management, and reintroducing low fat foods back into the diet when the patient begins to eat again. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
A good rule of thumb when treating your pets over the holidays is to only offer food that is bland and unseasoned. Plain pumpkin and plain mashed potatoes are good treats to offer in small amounts. Some foods to avoid giving are turkey skin and bones, onions, and anything heavily seasoned or containing butter. It is also a good idea to keep food out of your pet's reach to prevent them from sneaking treats when your back is turned.

So have fun this holiday season, keep your pets safe, and don't let your Thanksgiving feast turn into a veterinary emergency!

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