Pancreatitis in Dogs
This article originally appeared in SALT Magazine.
While your family is out shopping for Black Friday sales (pick me up a TV, will you?) many veterinarians will be working hard at what some call the “National Day of Canine Pancreatitis.”
Pancreatitis simply means inflammation of the pancreas, but the consequences can be far from simple. Chronic pancreatitis can develop slowly over a long period of time, and can be traced back to processed foods that tax the pancreas and other internal organs of our pets. Acute pancreatitis occurs when a dog develops symptoms very quickly, because of an overindulgence of fat that overburdens the system. This second form is why vets see so many cases the day after Thanksgiving. When the family adjourns after dinner to the living room for football, they may leave the dishes on the table or wait to clean up the kitchen. Unattended, dogs can find their way to the best parts of the turkey, and trust me - they will go nuts and overindulge much as you just did. The turkey skins can do the most damage because they are high in fat. The dog’s pancreas is overwhelmed and it begins to overproduce the enzymes it needs to digest the fat, and bad things can start to happen. Within a few hours, you may see loss of appetite (obviously) vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or signs of dehydration. The abdomen may appear hardened and the dog may not like you touching it. If these symptoms appear, take your dog to the vet immediately. After the emergency has passed, there are easy ways to prevent it, including feeding a low-fat, species appropriate, all natural diet.
Don’t be afraid to feed your dog a few pieces of white turkey meat as you enjoy your holiday - but avoid feeding stuffing (especially if it has raisins which are toxic to dogs) and other foods, especially the turkey skins and drippings - these are extremely fatty. Don’t leave food on the table, kitchen, or in the garbage where your dog can get into it. Finally, come visit us during our extended Black Friday hours and learn about how a species-appropriate diet can help you avoid this life-threatening chronic disease in the future. Happy Holidays!
I may sell pet food, but I also have a Master's Degree in History. Anyone want to talk British Navy stuff? No? You just want the pet food stuff? Ok...