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Information for You and Your Pets

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There are many sources of pet information on the Internet and it can be difficult to know which ones to trust. That's why our articles are written in-house by the same doctor you can talk to right here at Creekside Veterinary Clinic. Click below to choose an article about some of the common concerns you might experience with your pets.

Post-Holiday Woes Might Be More Than Indigestion

In the day or two following Thanksgiving and other major holidays, the phone calls about vomiting dogs start rolling in. Dogs fed high fat snacks or meals (such as ham, turkey and fatty trimmings or large amounts of cream) can get a serious and even life-threatening disease called pancreatitis. It is most common after a significant overindulgence like eating the skins or drippings from cooking the turkey, but some individuals and certain breeds are especially susceptible. The good news is that preventing the common cause of post-holiday pancreatitis is easy.

The pancreas is an abdominal organ that produces the insulin to control blood sugar, but it also produces digestive enzymes used to break down fats, proteins and sugars into small enough particles that the body can absorb the nutrients. When pancreatitis occurs, these digestive enzymes run amok and begin to “digest” the pancreas and nearby liver. This creates a great deal of pain and nausea and can require quite intensive care to pull a pet through the crisis of acute pancreatitis. Sometimes animals succumb to the disease. An animal may even develop chronic pancreatitis where the pancreas no longer produces adequate insulin and then diabetes mellitus ensues. These animals with chronic pancreatitis are often in chronic pain and require close supervision and management by their veterinarian. Some dogs, such as schnauzers, are quite prone to pancreatitis and fatty treats should be avoided at all costs.

Pancreatitis is diagnosed based on a test measuring pancreatic lipase in the blood stream. Veterinarians will also run general bloodwork that checks the liver enzymes, the white count, electrolytes, and other things. Treatment for pancreatitis involves initially giving the pet nothing to eat or drink by mouth. Anything that passes their lips stimulates the pancreas to make and release more digestive enzymes. Most pets need to be hospitalized with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and anti-nausea medication, sometimes for a week or more depending on the severity of their case. Sometimes this can be managed on an out-patient basis, but your veterinarian will advise what the best course for your pet is.

Bottom line, the best treatment for pancreatitis is prevention.

  • Don’t feed your pet table scraps and especially don’t give them large amounts of fatty food.
  • Watch that your guests aren’t feeding scraps and fatty foods. The cumulative amount your pet receives might surprise you.
  • Don’t let your pet ‘vacuum up’ after everyone.
  • If you have a kids’ table, keep an eye on the area or isolate your pet.
  • Keep used pans and trimmings out of reach of your pet.

Vomiting, diarrhea, pain and risk of death are far too high a price to pay for a yummy snack on Thanksgiving.

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Please call or text our office for an appointment.

(503) 390-5222

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We are located in the McNary Estates Business Center, near the intersection of River Road and Wheatland Road. Turn at the big McNary sign.

113 McNary Estates Drive Suite B
Keizer, OR 97303

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