Posts Tagged ‘Abdominal pain’

  Every year, around Turkey Time (that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas), pets are rushed to the emergency room with a sudden onset of illness after sharing the family meal. So what’s going on with all those animals?

  The answer is: acute pancreatitis.

[How do you say that word?  Try this: pan-cree-uh-tie-tis]

  The pancreas is a V-shaped abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes and insulin. (Insulin regulates blood sugar. A lack, or insufficient quantity, of insulin results in diabetes.) 

  Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, in which the organ essentially digests itself via the enzymes it produces.

[Where did pancreatitis rank in VPI’s pet insurance claims in 2011? Click here to find out.]

What causes acute pancreatitis?
Common causes are:

  • high-fat diets (long-term)
  • singular high-fat meal (like meat trimmings)
  • obesity
  • infection
  • blockage of the pancreatic duct
  • abdominal injury or surgery
  • hyperstimulation by certain drugs and venom

  Because of the high fat content of many holiday feasts, pets that are fed from the table are at serious risk of becoming gravely ill. In some cases, pancreatitis will be fatal.

  We recommend feeding your pet its own food prior to mealtime, to make it less likely to beg. If you or your guests are tempted to share food with Fluffy and Fang, we recommend moving your pets to a separate area of the house during mealtime and after-dinner cleanup.

  Let your guests know that your pets are on a strict diet and cannot have table food. If you have to – blame the vet! We’re always happy to play wet blanket when it comes to giving pets unnecessary – and even harmful – treats.

Symptoms of pancreatitis
Watch for:

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • weakness
  • depression
  • collapse from shock

How do you know if a pet is experiencing abdominal pain?
Look for these signs:

  • restlessness
  • panting
  • trembling
  • hunched-up posture
  • “praying” posture
  • resting on cool surfaces
  • vocal or physical response to touch (on the belly)

Which types of pets are most at risk of pancreatitis?
Normally, in this type of article, I list the age span, breeds, and gender of dog or cat most commonly affected by the disorder. I am not going to do that in this post for one specific reason: I do not wish to give any pet owner the impression that his or her pet is “safe” from pancreatitis and can join in the family meal. We just don’t recommend it for any pet.

Take Action
If you believe your cat or dog may have pancreatitis (even at a non-holiday time of year), take him to the nearest Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Immediate intervention in a critical care setting will give your pet the best chance at recovery.

Remember: some cases of pancreatitis can be deadly, so prevention and early intervention are key to your pet’s good health.

 

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Resources:
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult

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