Hi there:

I’m your dog’s pancreas, and I hate to say it, but we did not meet on the best of terms. Let me fill you in on how I help your furry friend remain healthy, since you’ve already seen what happens when I’m not at the top of my game. 

As your pet’s pancreas, I have probably the most important job—at least in her eyes—in keeping her healthy. My main duty is helping to digest all the food your pup eats by producing and storing the digestive enzymes and fluids needed to digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. I’m also in charge of regulating blood sugar by producing regulatory hormones. I keep a close eye on every morsel you sneak to your pet to ensure it’s digested appropriately, and I watch that her glucose level doesn’t spike. 

What irritated the heck out of me over the holiday season was your pet’s unnatural diet. Fatty and sugary treats were filling tables and trash cans and, unfortunately, your dog’s stomach. A single bite of Christmas ham may have been alright, but the buttery mashed potatoes dripping with rich gravy, and the pumpkin pie topped with a generous helping of whipped cream, were more than I could handle. 

As the fat and sugar hit me, I could not digest all the unusual foods, and I began to panic. The excess fat and sugar irritated and inflamed me, making pushing my digestive enzymes along the digestive tract difficult. Instead, the enzymes leaked into your pet’s abdomen, and began to break down fat and proteins into me, the pancreas, and other organs. That is dangerous, because if I become irritated enough, your pet’s body can begin to digest itself. 

I struggled for a few hours to keep up with the influx of fat, until I realized I needed serious help. Digestive enzymes were running amuck, digesting everything in sight, and I could tell your normally cheerful dog was beginning to feel ill, because she was quietly lying in the corner, moaning occasionally. As time went on, she vomited large amounts, and couldn’t quite make it outside to expel some foul diarrhea. 

At this point, we telepathically communicated that it was time for professional help from Dr. Harrer at the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs. 

At the clinic, we were whisked away for diagnostic testing, although Dr. Harrer knew her stuff, and after talking to you, she figured those holiday goodies had seriously upset me. After blood work confirmed a pancreatitis diagnosis, I knew relief was on the way. 

We spent the night in the hospital under the good care of the Council Bluffs team, receiving IV fluids, pain medications, anti-nausea treatment, and medications that promote normal gastrointestinal movement. 

Since I, your pet’s pancreas, was only mildly inflamed—although it felt worse than mild—I felt better after the overnight treatment, and your pup could eat a few bites of a prescription low-fat diet. Since she was able to keep it down, Dr. Harrer said you could pick us up, but she gave strict instructions about avoiding sharing any more holiday snacks. 

For my comfort, and your pet’s health, please stick with low-fat, pet-friendly treats over the holidays. If you want to spoil your four-legged friend, share fresh veggies, a bite of white meat, or plain rice. I promise I can digest those, and your pet will still love her special treats. 

Here’s to a happy digestive tract in the new year,

Your pet’s pancreas

Pancreatitis can be serious for your pet. Occasionally, a sudden influx of fatty foods, such as table scraps during the holidays, can cause severe pancreatitis that can make your pet horribly sick. This condition can be potentially life-threatening if it progresses and affects the kidneys and liver, inflames and infects the abdomen, and causes bleeding in the pancreas. Avoid this holiday horror for your four-legged friend by sticking to veterinary-approved treats, such as low-fat commercial treats, fresh veggies, small pieces of apples or bananas, and tiny morsels of white meat, like turkey breast. 

Are you unable to resist giving in to your pet’s begging eyes? Has she scrounged for scraps in the trash? If your pet gets into any trouble this holiday season, we’re here to help—give us a call.