The Pulse Of Veterinary Medicine

Vet-To-Vet Conversation With IDEXX

Happy, Healthy Holidays

Thanksgiving is just days away, and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations are just around the corner. This time of year always reminds veterinarians of the dangers awaiting our patients in the guise of table treats, goodies stolen from party platters and well-meaning guests who can’t resist slipping an hors d’oeuvre to the begging pooch who’s giving them those sad doggy “nobody feeds me around here” eyes.

Even pet owners who are relatively strict with their pets’ dietary rules during the rest of the year can slip up during the holidays. We’re all eating things we shouldn’t—why not share some of the joy with our favorite furry friends?

As veterinary practitioners, we know why. And we need to remind our clients of the risks, which include, among other things:

  • Table scraps that could result in pancreatitis
  • Bones that could cause gastrointestinal obstruction or perforation
  • Chocolate that could cause vomiting, hyperactivity and cardiac arrhythmia

Dr. Justine A. Lee’s blog post for pet owners points out some of the less common pet pitfalls that your clients may not be aware of.

It’s generally recommended to consider pancreatitis in all dogs presenting with vomiting, anorexia and/or abdominal pain. For feline patients, the presenting signs are often nonspecific, so pancreatitis can be on the differential diagnosis list for every ADR cat you see.

In-clinic hematology and chemistry analysis as well as a patient-side qualitative blood test for pancreatitis can help you expediently evaluate your sick canine or feline patients. These results can help provide the practitioner with information to either rule out pancreatitis or recommend further diagnostic testing.

In addition, quantitative pancreas-specific lipase assays are available at the reference laboratory to help assess the severity of the condition and monitor response to therapy.

It’s always to your advantage—and your patients’—for your practice to have a good protocol for patients who present with possible signs of pancreatitis. At this time of year, it’s a very good thing to be prepared for those pets that just might have been snacking on foods best left to their owners—or to the trash can!


Peter Kintzer, DVM, DACVIM

posted by Peter Kintzer, DVM, DACVIM

Dr. Kintzer, a graduate of Cornell University, is currently a medical affairs manager with IDEXX Laboratories. In addition to authoring many articles and book chapters, he lectures nationally and internationally on small-animal endocrine and internal medicine disorders.

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