Saturday, December 12, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Acute Pancreatitis, Other Holiday Dangers, and more ...

Acute Pancreatitis – A Disease That Should Not Be Ignored!
Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

During holidays, veterinary emergency rooms are busy with cases of acute pancreatitis. But pancreatitis can strike any time. While unusual or fatty foods are common triggers, things are really not as simple as that. There are other risk factors including breed, age, reproductive status, body condition,  levels of fats and calcium in the blood, concurrent metabolic diseases or infections and even some medications.

Cookie got a bout of pancreatitis after getting into horse feed. Technically, she only got a minor flare-up and yet it was enough to really mess her up. She was extremely lethargic and in a lot of pain.

Never having had pancreatitis myself, I imagine it must feel the same way as being shot in the gut. Even with the relatively mild case, Cookie was in so much pain ...

Make no mistake, pancreatitis can be deadly.

Holiday dangers to keep your dog and cat safe from!
Dr. Justine Lee/Dr. Justine Lee

Pancreatitis isn't the only danger that comes with the holiday season. Some of these risks are well known, some of the things you'd probably never think of.

For example, did you know that snow globes could be deadly? Some snow globes contain ethylene glycol, the stuff that antifreeze is made of! Who would have thought? I never knew this. Fortunately, the last I even saw a snow globe was when I was little.

Mistletoes and lovely and romantic but highly toxic to dogs. Not only they can do a number on the digestive tract but also cause heart issues! Poinsettias, on the other hand, which are believed to be toxic really are not, even though the can cause stomach upset.

Tinsel is particularly attractive to cats but a dog could accidentally ingest one too and these things can do some serious damage to the intestines. Don't forget that wires, batteries and lights also pose risk to our furry friends.

When arranging wrapped presents under the tree, don't forget that they are pretty easy to get into. Our guys enjoy unwrapping presents more than what's inside. But if a dog does this when you're not looking they might find chocolates and other things that could harm them.

Even tree water and ornaments are hidden dangers to dogs. We always get a small tree which we can put on a table or a desk to keep it safely out of reach of our guys. Of course, for cats and some dogs, this isn't really an obstacle. For our guys, keeping it up high is all we need to do. But you might need to take more substantial measures.

And don't forget candles and fireplaces, of course. Keep your dogs safe.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series
Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Dr. Nicholas at Preventive Vet put together a whole series where he addresses all holiday dangers in detail. He covers tinsel, fruitcake (I can't believe anybody still bakes these; I've tried it once and almost killed ME), mistletoes, batteries, lilies, holiday decorations, lights and electrical cords, chocolate, ribbons and bows, liquid potpourri, cyclamen and house guests, all in great detail.

Technically, all you need to know is which things to keep away from your dogs but if you really want to understand why is each one of these things dangerous, do read his series.

Raw Diets and Bloodwork Results: Should you be concerned?
Dr. Jean Dodds/Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog

Do raw diets affect blood work results? In what ways? Who else to best find out from than from a veterinary hematologist and immunologist?

Bloodwork provides a huge amount of useful information bout the state of your dog's health and organ function. But, like with any diagnostic tools, what the measured values actually mean is to a large degree matter of interpretation. Does feeding raw diet influence what the bloodwork is showing and if so how?

Find out from Dr. Dodds' detailed article.

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