Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas caused by leakage of the digestive enzymes and causing the pancreas to “digest itself.” Pancreatitis can be acute (sudden) or chronic (happening over a course of time.) Both acute and chronic forms are serious and can be life-threatening. Middle-aged dogs appear to be at increased risk of developing pancreatitis. Certain breeds are more prone to the disease, particularly Schnauzers andYorkshireterriers. Pancreatitis is more common in overweight dogs. When pancreatitis occurs in an overweight dog it is more likely to cause serious illness.

Causes of Pancreatitis

Multiple factors can contribute to the development of pancreatitis including:

Certain medications: The medications most suspected of causing pancreatitis include azathioprine (Imuran Rx), potassium bromide (used for seizure control), l-asparaginase (a chemotherapeutic agent) and zinc used as a dietary supplement.

 

  • Infections
  • Metabolic disorders: Including hyperlipidemia (high amounts of lipid in the blood) and hypercalcemia (high amounts of calcium in the blood)
  • Obesity
  • Trauma and shock
  • Scorpion stings

 

Nutrition also plays a major role. Dogs with high-fat diets, dogs that have recently eaten the trash, are fed table scraps, or ‘steal’ greasy people food have a higher incidence of the disease. In addition, dogs that have previously had pancreatitis or abdominal surgery appear to be more at risk.

Preventing Pancreatitis

Because fatty foods are a common cause of pancreatitis, it is good to limit the amount of fat in your dog?s diet. Be especially careful around the holidays as extra table scraps and fat trimmings in the garbage can trigger pancreatitis.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

The signs can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death. However, most dogs have some signs of GI upset, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Painful abdomen, hunched appearance
  • Fever or below-normal body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Dehydration which can be evaluated by noting sunken eyes, dry mouth, and increased skin turgor (skin tents when pinched)
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Inflammation of organs that surround the pancreas
  • Infection and hemorrhages throughout the body

All or some of the signs may be present with pancreatitis, but are not specific for pancreatitis, and can be seen with many gastrointestinal diseases and conditions.

Diagnosing Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can be diagnosed by looking at blood chemistries and biopsies. While biopsy is the gold standard, unless surgery is called for, these are not generally performed because of their invasive nature.

Treating Pancreatitis

The goal of treatment is to rest the pancreas, provide supportive care and control complications. If vomiting is severe, treatment usually consists of withholding all food, water, and oral medications for 24 hours to stop the stimulation of the pancreas. Depending on the dog’s response, food can be reintroduced after a day. At that time, the dog should be fed small, bland, easily digestible meals that are high-carbohydrate, low-fat. Over a period of a week, meal size and quantity of food can be increased. The dog may need to stay on a special diet for life, or it may be possible to gradually reintroduce the former diet. High-fat diets or treats should be avoided. Since dehydration and electrolyte imbalances are common in dogs with acute pancreatitis and water intake is often restricted, fluid therapy is usually needed. Fluids are either given subcutaneously or intravenously.

 

Dogs that experience severe pain can be treated with pain relievers such as meperidine or butorphanol. Antibiotics are often administered prophylactically to protect against infection. If the pancreatitis was caused by a medication, the medication should be stopped. If it was caused by a toxin, infection, or other condition, the appropriate therapy for the underlying condition should be started. In rare instances where there are intestinal complications or the development of a pancreatic abscess, surgery may be necessary.

Caring for Dogs with Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can be a very unpredictable disease. In most cases, if the pancreatitis was mild and the pet only had one episode, chances of recovery are good and avoiding high fat foods may be all that is necessary to prevent recurrence or complications. In other cases, what appears to be a mild case may progress, or may be treated successfully only to have recurrences, sometimes severe. Dogs with severe pancreatitis can recover, but may also develop fatal complications. The risk of developing fatal pancreatitis is increased in dogs that are overweight, or have diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, gastrointestinal tract disease, and epilepsy. Dogs that suffer repeated bouts of pancreatitis may need to be fed low-fat diets to prevent recurrence.

Some dogs develop chronic pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes mellitus and/or pancreatic insufficiency, also called maldigestion syndrome. In pancreatic insufficiency, the nutrients in food are passed out in the feces undigested. Dogs with this disease often has a ravenous appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss. Even though he is eating, he could literally starve to death. Treatment for pancreatic insufficiency is lifelong and expensive, but is possible. The dog?s digestive enzymes are replaced through a product processed from pancreases of hogs and cattle which contain large quantities of the digestive enzymes. A change in diet with added nutritional supplements may also be necessary.

 

SOURCE: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/disease-information/pancreatitis.html

Top Ten Winter Skin & Paw Care Tips

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws.

Says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, “During the winter, products used as de-icers on sidewalks and other areas can lead to trouble for our animal companions, potentially causing problems ranging from sore feet to internal toxicity. Pet parents should take precautions to minimize their furry friends’ exposure to such agents.”

To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws and skin, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes.

  • Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. (Don’t neglect the hair between the toes!)

  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

  • Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.

  • Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

  • Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.

  • Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition.

  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.

  • Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops.

 

SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/top-ten-winter-skin-paw-care-tips

Top 5 Thanksgiving Treats

As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving and give thanks for good food, good friends and even your cranky family members, don’t forget the furry or feathery member of the family — your pet. Of course, a pet doesn’t need a toast in its honor to feel appreciated, but a special treat would probably elicit an extra lick or cuddle from your best four-legged friend. Just remember that the holidays aren’t an excuse to break from tradition and serve your pet chocolate or other foods that might upset its sensitive stomach. However, there are some terrific Thanksgiving treats that are perfectly pet-safe and guaranteed to make your critter feel extra-thankful for such a thoughtful pet parent. Here are just five.

1: Toys

If your pet is on a restricted diet or doesn’t usually handle new food well, pick out a toy that your animal will go gaga for. Consider a squeaky toy shaped like a turkey bone or a carrot. Some retailers carry “pampered pet” lines, in which you’ll find toys shaped like wine bottles or sushi (if turkey and all the fixings isn’t your thing). McCulley recommends interactive toys that dispense treats as a great way to keep your pet occupied while you’re entertaining human guests. By the time your furry friend has gotten all of the kibble out of the toy, you’ll be cleaning off the table and ready to spend the afternoon curled up in a turkey-induced coma with your pet.

Some one-on-one time like this is probably the best treat of all for your pet, but any of these five ideas can also help make sure your pet is a grateful gobbler this Thanksgiving.

 

2: Biscuits and Other Treats

If you aren’t up for making your own treats or don’t have any leftovers, you can find a large variety of treats available at pet superstores or even your local market that will leave your pet feeling gracious. McCulley says ingredients like pomegranate, acai berry and quinoa, which have been fads in people food for the past few years, are now crossing over into pet treats. Look for items that are made with human-grade ingredients to ensure your furry friend is getting the very best. Many organic treats are made with natural ingredients such as pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple with ginger or cinnamon for a fun Thanksgiving twist.

 

3:TurkeyTreats

If you like a traditional feast with a big turkey as the main dish, your pet is in luck. There are quite a few ways you can prepare some of your leftover turkey that will be paw-licking good. Be sure to remove any skin and bones and don’t serve your pet any turkey that’s been sitting out longer than two hours to avoid risk of salmonella poisoning. Skinless, boneless turkey is a great treat for most cats and dogs. Cut up a few pieces and add it to your dog’s regular food to give it its own Thanksgiving meal. For cats, try pureeing turkey with sweet potatoes or pumpkin and adding it to their regular food or letting them lick it straight from the spoon. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do with turkey giblets, try boiling them up for a yummy pet treat.

 

4: Bones and Chews

It might be tempting to toss a turkey bone your dog’s way during the holiday, but according to L.A. Animal Services, turkey bones can easily break, and the sharp splinters could cause damage to your dog’s intestines. If your pooch goes nuts for bones, look for store-bought bones or chews in special Thanksgiving flavors that will be a real treat without the risk. Pet trend expert Janet McCulley recommends turkey-flavored bones, or even organic dog chews made out of sweet potatoes or apples. Make no bones about it, you will be thankful your canine has a yummy Thanksgiving treat without the threat of a visit to the emergency animal hospital.

 

5: Fruits and Veggies

Not all pets can eat meat, including most pocket pets like gerbils, hamsters, rats and birds. Many people love these small pets, but often overlook them when it comes to holiday treats. Pocket pets can have small treats occasionally, but according to the educational staff at Drs. Foster and Smith, they tend to like treats better than real food, so it’s best to dish them out sparingly. In general, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli are OK to give a small rodent, so when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, save a few pieces for your pet. Pet birds also love fresh veggies and fruits, including cooked sweet potatoes and cranberries, which are both common staples on many Thanksgiving tables. Cooked vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and peas are terrific options for cats and dogs, too.

 

 

 

Source: http://animal.discovery.com/pets/thanksgiving-treats-pets.htm