Every November I seem to turn to the subject of pancreatitis. That’s because in November many of us gorge ourselves with goodies and share the goodies with our four legged family members.

But problems arise when our pets cannot digest these types of foods, especially the fattier foods. Their pancreas isn’t designed to handle these types of ingredients. As a result of eating some of these foods, the pancreas becomes inflamed, and releases some of its digestive enzymes into the surrounding abdomen. This inflammation (or digestion of the surrounding tissue), causes vomiting and pain.

The basic symptoms of pancreatitis are decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and a painful abdomen. Not all these symptoms need be present to indicate pancreatitis. In cats, the symptoms are often much more subtle. Not surprisingly (when you know cats), they are spectacular at hiding their symptoms, but they may should decreased appetite. Vomiting isn’t a common symptom in cats.

Diagnosis of pancreatitis is made through history, symptoms and diagnostic blood tests (these tests are still somewhat unreliable in cats).

The idea behind treatment is to rest the entire digestive tract while supporting the pet’s fluid and electrolyte needs. Hospitalization with fluid therapy (via intravenous catheterization), anti-emetic drugs (drugs to prevent vomiting), and pain medications are the cornerstones to treatment.

There are other causes of pancreatitis, and sometimes we do not even know what might set off inflammation of the pancreas. But it is best not feed people food to our pets.

That’s the veterinarian talking to you. Honestly, I also share some of my dinners with my furry friends. But I only give them meat, without sauce, no skin or bones, and I only give them about 5 or 6, 1/4″ pieces. My pets just enjoy the sharing part, and I want to make sure that their diet stays balanced and doesn’t cause them any upset or pain. And I like to share with them too.