Keep Pancreatitis at bay this Christmas day

Can you believe it’s under 2 weeks ‘til Christmas? This year has flown by so fast! Even though we get busy with family and friend catch up’s and attending many over-catered yet delicious dinners, it definitely is the most wonderful time of the year. And what better time to spoil our beloved fur-kids! There are always great opportunities to spoil them with new toys, beds, treats, fun visits to the river or beach and even decking them out in adorable little Christmas outfits! The biggest opportunity our pets have to be spoilt is on Christmas day when we are all gathered for the Christmas day lunch! There’s usually meat, roast veggies, salads, gravy and sauces, and who could forget Mum’s mouthwatering Christmas pudding!

Even though our pets give us those puppy-dog eyes, or use their seductive affection and purring techniques, we should restrain from feeding our beloved animals food from our plates. Some foods can be very rich and fatty, like meat from the BBQ, fatty cuts of meat and marrow bones. This can cause them to develop a condition called Pancreatitis. Every year our loving vets see many pets around Christmas time because of this condition, and it’s usually caused by them sneaking something off the dinner table! Even though it may seem like a cute or nice idea at the time, Pancreatitis can be fatal so must be treated very seriously.

So what exactly is pancreatitis I can hear you ask? Pancreatitis is the term for inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that works to help your pets’ metabolise sugars and produce insulin. It produces enzymes that are vital for digesting nutrients. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, digestive enzymes that are normally inactive until they reach the small intestine become active in the pancreas instead—resulting in pain and swelling as the pancreas actually begins to digest itself. Like we said, it’s a very serious condition!

Now we can sense you may be feeling slightly worried by this, and wonder what to look out for to know if your pet may be suffering from Pancreatitis.

Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Abnormal posture; arching of the back
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Gagging

So now you know the symptoms, we guess you’re wondering now if there’s a treatment option for them. Fortunately there is, but it does rely on the condition being diagnosed early, and your beloved pet receiving treatment promptly. Diagnosis is made on clinical signs, but can also be confirmed with blood tests. X-rays may also be performed to check the internal organs and to rule out other concerns such as a foreign body (to read about a real-life case, click on the link to read about Willis the Garbage Guts). The treatment is basically supportive care while they recover- they will be given pain relief, anti-vomiting and antibiotic medications, and will usually need to be put onto IV fluids and remain in hospital. They may only have to stay in for a couple days and then be maintained on medications at home, but in severe cases they may require to stay up to a week or more.

Even though this is a serious condition, there are simple ways to avoid having to bring your furbabies into the clinic!

Basically, try and turn a blind eye to the puppy eyes your pets give you, because we all know they will try to make you feel guilty and give you a treat from the table! Even though you may feel terrible for not giving in and giving them something from the table, you can feel good knowing you will help prevent them from a potentially fatal condition.

On that note, we all wish you and your pets a very Merry Christmas, and a fun yet safe New Year!