Is Your Dog At Risk for Pancreatitis This Holiday Season?
When I worked in veterinary medicine, my friends and I would often call the day after Thanksgiving Pancreatitis Friday instead of Black Friday. Why? Well, the holidays bring a lot of guests into homes where dogs are inevitably being fed table scraps, and perhaps even helping themselves to Thanksgiving dinner. As a result of eating a high fat meal, some dogs suffer from pancreatitis the day after Thanksgiving, and any other holiday during this time of year.
Therefore, I thought it would be timely to discuss the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis to keep your dog safe and healthy this holiday season. After all, the longer pancreatitis goes untreated, the worse the effects. If caught early this disease can be treated with little long-term damage. However, if left untreated, the results can be fatal.
Firstly, it is important to understand that pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, which is an organ integral to the digestive tract. The inflammation disrupts the natural flow of enzymes secreted by the pancreas, resulting in an interruption in the normal digestion of food.
If you are hosting a holiday this year, these are the symptoms you should watch for the day after the holiday:
- Painful or distended abdomen
- Decrease in appetite
- Decrease in water intake
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Another thing you can do for your dog as you monitor them post-holiday is to check their Capillary Refill Time (CRT). A poor CRT can indicate a lack of blood flow, oxygen, or dehydration. For more information on how to check your dog’s CRT, please click here (video included).
If your dog starts to show any of the symptoms listed above, please visit your veterinarian immediately. As mentioned previously, the long-term effects of pancreatitis can be very dangerous and life threatening, so please do not wait to contact your local or emergency vet.
What can you expect once you arrive at the veterinary hospital?
Due to vomiting and diarrhea your dog will be dehydrated and drained of proper nutrients. The most likely treatment for your dog includes IV fluids and a stay in the hospital for at least a few hours. During the holidays, I specifically remember our number of available kennels being full of dogs who had too many table scraps and were all receiving their necessary IV fluids.
In addition to IV fluids and some medications to help decrease your dog’s pain and make them feel less nauseated, you veterinarian will likely send you home with instructions to feed your dog a bland diet. A bland diet will allow their pancreas to rest, and will help restore normal digestion to your dog’s body.
As you prepare for the holidays, please take precautions to keep your dog safe. Here is a great article by Steve Dale; 12 Ways to Keep Pets Safe and Happy for the Howlidays, with more ideas to help make this holiday season the best one yet!
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