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Post-Thanksgiving Pancreatitis

A lot of our time the day or two after Thanksgiving is spent with patients that ate something they should not have eaten.  This can come from dogs getting into trashcans when we are busy with family, the family giving our pets treats to “be nice”, or just simply an offering from “the gravity fairies.” 


We normally do not recommend giving any people food to your pets, especially very fatty, oily, spicy or salty foods.  Their gastrointestinal system is not set up to handle some of these elements of the food.  In particular, the pancreas can get very irritated when they eat something that is more fatty or oily than they are used to.


A case that I saw the first year out of school still stays with me to this day.  The family came in the Saturday after Thanksgiving with a very sick dog.  The family had given the pet a whole turkey carcass to chew on and she had eaten almost all the bones along with fat and skin.  One thing I was concerned about was the splintering of the bones poking through the stomach and intestines.  Luckily all the bones had made it to the colon without incident.  However, the bone fragments were packed in the colon so tightly that I literally had to dig them out with my fingers.  She also had a very irritated pancreas and was vomiting often.


We checked her into the hospital with IV fluids, IV antibiotics, pain medications and injections for nausea.  It was a rough week for everyone: for the patient and her family as well as myself and my staff.  There were a few days where we weren’t sure she was going to make it.  But she was a fighter and pulled through nicely.  After a week on intense nursing care, the dog finally went home the next Saturday.  The whole family came to pick her up and she was so happy to see her humans.


This pet was very lucky.  Some cases don’t turn out this great.  So please, no matter how cute they are looking at you wanting some Thanksgiving treats, do not feed your pets anything over the upcoming holidays.

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A Caring Vet Hospital

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