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Pancreatitis in Dogs

November 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

It’s coming up to that special time in a dog’s year.  The time when gravy flows like rivers, and toddlers throw entire turkey legs onto the floor. That’s right, it’s Pancreatitis time.

(Did you know that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for Pancreatitis related Emergency Vet visits?)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pancreatitis, it is what happens when the Pancreas becomes inflamed.

The Pancreas

It is a small organ located under the stomach that does two really important things.

  1. It produces the enzymes that help us break down the food we consume
  2. It produces hormones (Insulin & Glucagon) that regulate blood glucose levels

The Perfect Storm

The most common cause of Pancreatitis in dogs around the Holidays is the one time consumption of a high fat meal.  (Table scraps, nosing through the trash, licking the plates) The humans are super busy, no one is watching what the pets are doing. A cycle now begins. The Pancreas tries its hardest to start overcompensating for the meal. The organ starts to stress out, and becomes inflamed. Those digestive enzymes get into the fight, but because they were released ahead of schedule, they start to digest the body itself. This causes swelling, bleeding, and tissue death. Once that happens, the production of chemicals start, and when they meet up with the digestive enzymes, this dynamic duo travel through the bloodstream wreaking havoc along the way.

Worst Case Scenario

Pancreatitis can cause:

  1. Diabetes Mellitus
  2. Blood Clotting Disorders
  3. Low Blood Pressure
  4. Brain Damage
  5. Organ Failure.

All of these are terrible, but certain combinations of these can be deadly.

None of this is meant to scare you. Most dogs, after about a week, recover. That is, with the help of a wonderful veterinarian, plus

  1. Meds to control pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  2. Meds to reduce inflammation, plus antibiotics
  3. IV fluids
  4. Nutritional supplements

For owners however, recovery may take a bit longer.  I suggest

  1. Buying stock in Nature’s Miracle
  2. Have a carpet cleaning service on speed dial
  3. Alcohol and some of the leftover pie. (There is no wrong answer for which one you do first)
  4. Map out your bank robbery plan. (This vet bill will NOT BE CHEAP, besides everything previously mentioned, there are usually overnight stays in the pet hospital).
  5. Map out the “being afraid of bank robbery, so selling a kidney on eBay” plan

All joking aside folks, it is one terrifying experience. Most especially for the pet.  It’s not a bad idea to have a plan, even if it is as simple as making a friendly announcement before dinner.

(To not feed the pets from the table, but more importantly, to tell the group that the relative responsible for the incident gets to pay the vet bill. That should sit them up straight.)

                                                         Happy Thanksgiving

– Claudia Boddy, The Boddy behind Spotty Body
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