Holiday Food May Lead Pets to the ER

Holiday Food and Pet to the ER

There is one simple thing you can do to avoid a trip to the animal ER this holiday season: avoid the temptation to feed pets from the table.

The skin of a holiday turkey, fatty parts of a ham, leftover gravy and other rich foods can all trigger an episode of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that provides digestive enzymes and insulin. Under typical circumstances, these powerful chemicals help break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates so the body can make use of the food; however, these enzymes are occasionally triggered early and actually begin to damage the pancreas itself. This causes severe inflammation of the organ and surrounding tissues. This is a very painful condition that is experienced most frequently around the holidays, when pets eat too much fatty food from holiday meals. This fat is thought to trigger the disease.

Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening and can include:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Hunched-up appearance
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Whimpering or whining
  • Dehydration
  • Blood clotting
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • If you notice a change in your pet's eating behavior or stance, or any signs of abdominal pain, especially with vomiting, call your veterinarian for immediate, life-saving treatment. Ask your veterinarian about condition-specific prescription pet food, such as Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN, which promotes intestinal motility and supports GI health in dogs.

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