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Thankful for our four-legged friends

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When I reflect on what I’m thankful for this time of year, my pets definitely come to mind. Their constant love and affection help to make every day better. We’re always looking for special ways to show our love for our fur-kids, and it seems that this time of year is when we tend to become the most lenient with table scraps and treats.

I can think of many people that have told me that their dogs, and cats too, get their own special plate of Thanksgiving goodies on the holiday including turkey and trimmings; I’ve also heard of dogs enjoying their own slice of pie as well as turkey bones and carcasses. However, in this case food does not necessarily equate to love and we really need to be careful about what we’re feeding our pets around the holidays.

In veterinary medicine, we see a significant increase in the number of dogs with stomach upset, pancreatitis, and intestinal obstructions in the week after Thanksgiving. Dogs have a huge potential to develop pancreatitis, a potentially fatal disease causing severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and can be severe enough to require hospitalization and transfusions. Pancreatitis is often caused in dogs by eating a high fat meal that they aren’t used to eating, including things like turkey fat, drippings, and turkey legs. The treatment for pancreatitis can be very extensive and expensive, not to mention the pain that the pet experiences being so sick.

Intestinal obstructions are also very common. These typically occur after a pet eats a turkey leg or carcass. A portion of the bone gets stuck in the intestinal tract causing severe pain and often vomiting. If undetected, the bone can cause a puncture or hole in the intestine which can quickly lead to a very scary and potentially fatal situation. An intestinal obstruction requires immediate veterinary attention and surgery to remove the bone.

Pancreatitis and intestinal obstructions are the scariest potential consequences, but we also see many dogs with general stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

While you’re thankful for your dog or cat and they’re undoubtedly thankful for you, show your love for them through an extra dog cookie or some extra special playtime on the holiday and leave the turkey and fixings on the table and out of Buddy’s dinner bowl.

For more information or if you have questions please contact us at Animal Health Services at 480-488-6181.