The issue of Pancreatitis

Of late, Old Mill Animal Hospital has been treating quite a few cases of the dreaded pancreatitis, both acute and chronic. A lot of the time we see this scenario in our clients’ beloved pets due to them just not knowing or understanding, how our treats or selection of food we give our cat or dog, can affect them internally. 

The pancreas is an organ that produces hormones and secretes enzymes into the intestines to aid digestion.  When we allow our pets to indulge in high fat food items, such as lamb, beef and pork or other human foods, we often see an inflammation in our pet’s pancreas.   

When pancreatitis occurs, the pancreas releases its enzymes and other substances into the surrounding area of the abdomen. These substances cause localized inflammation that damages the pancreas and nearby organs and can occasionally lead to life-threatening complications.  

Pancreatitis is a rapidly developing condition in both cats and dogs and if left untreated a severe and sometimes permanent inflammation will develop, which can be lethal. 

The common symptoms include: 

  • Anorexia/no appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Weakness/Lethargy 
  • Fever 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Dehydration 
  • Diarrhoea 

To diagnose pancreatitis in your pet a range of clinical processes occur.  Blood tests, x-ray and ultrasound are the key means of collection supportive information for a diagnosis. Pancreatitis often needs to be treated at the vet clinic, including potential hospitalization, as your pet will require intravenous fluids, pain medications to assure your pet is pain-free, anti-nausea and antiemetics and sometimes antibiotics. 

How do we avoid pancreatitis in our pets?  Try to reduce your pets’ weight and avoid giving treats and food which are high in fat content.  This time of year, sees us trying to suppress the urges to treat our pet’s with table scraps.  Don’t do it!  

  • Ask guests not to feed your pet table scraps 
  • If guests cannot resist the urge to feed the dog, leave out a bag of low-calorie treats or a small plate of plain vegetables (but keep in mind they still shouldn’t have too many treats) 
  • Keep pets out of garbage bags and from getting under Christmas trees

Think of your pet’s pancreas and avoid the manky panky. 

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