Even though the holidays are past us I am still caring for sick dogs and cats due ingestion of human holiday food. The signs owners will observe are vomiting, lack of appetite, painful belly and possibly diarrhea. These set of signs are not definitive for pancreatitis but they are enough to warrant further investigating by your veterinarian.
Pancreatitis is a term used when the pancreas is inflamed. The pancreas an organ located near your pet’s stomach and portion of the small intestine referred to as the duodenum. One of the functions of the pancreas is to secrete enzyme into the small intestines to help digest food. In the normal pancreas digestive enzymes are stored in an inactive state so as not to digest itself. In pancreatitis, the inactive enzymes become activated and start to digest the pancreas. When this happens the pancreas becomes inflamed causing release of more enzymes, which causes a cascade of detrimental effects. Severe pancreatitis can lead to liver, kidney, lung and heart damage.
The primary cause of pancreatitis is not known definitively known, there are certain factors are that will predispose the pet to develop pancreatitis.
Some risk factors are;
- ingestion of a fatty meal or certain prescription drugs
- Prior disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, hypertriglyceridemia
- Breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, and Minature Poodles seem to develop pancreatitis with higher prevalence
- Parasitic infections such as flukes
- Traumatic injury such as a dog or cat hit by a motor vehicle.
Steps you can take to help prevent your dog or cat from developing pancreatitis;
- Do not feed fatty foods such as the fatty leftovers from meat. Do not chronically feed fatty foods.
- Keep your dog or cat in good body condition (Do not yet your pet get fat!), exercise is important.
- Keep your pet on a regular deworming regimen.
- Diligently care for your pet’s condition’s
- Take your pet to the veterinarian. Do not ignore the signs of vomiting and lack of appetite.
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