Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, May 30, 2011

BBQ (and Pancreatitis) Season

Since this is the unofficial start of summer and for many, parties and BBQ's, I thought it was a good time to remind people the dangers of feeding "party" foods to your pet.

This generally applies to dogs, since cats have a much MORE discriminating palate, though there are a few oddball kitties out there.

First of all, let me say that just because Fido has eaten X in the past, does NOT mean, that this time around, X won't cause some serious gastrointestinal upset. I've seen it MANY times. Think of how maybe YOU could eat certain things in your younger days but now can't. Same thing applies.  And it could depend on quantity too.

Pancreatitis CAN happen for other reasons (infections, inflammatory processes we can't always identify, trauma, cancers, and a few other things). However, one of the BIGGEST and most preventable reasons for it is caused by people feeding all sorts of table foods to their dogs or THE dog getting into the trash (tempted by partially eaten food, food wrappers, etc).

The biggest culprits are the fatty and greasy foods (bacon, hot dogs, etc). I've also seen dogs get VERY sick from eating the BBQ drippings off the grill. 

What can happen can vary from something minor - like a little vomiting and/or diarrhea (gastroenteritis) - to something MUCH more serious - pancreatitis. If this does happen, do NOT wait - see your vet. YOU cannot tell which one it is. We can determine this based on the exam and some blood work (and possibly some other tests).  IF your dog is diagnosed with pancreatitis, they will be admitted to the hospital. This IS a serious condition and I have lost dogs to it. They can go downhill quickly too.

Fortunately, with IV fluids and some supportive care (antibiotics, antiemetics, and pain meds - pancreatic diseases = PAIN!!), most of them WILL get through it. It won't be inexpensive either, so consider that before you think "aww he's so cute and it's just a little piece of ...."

Another quick warning - corn on the cob: the cobs ARE very tempting to eat for some dogs (notably Labs and Beagles but any dog can get into trouble) so keep them out of reach - or you will be spending your summer vacation money on exploratory surgery and foreign body removal. 

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