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Help your pets avoid “Garbage Gut” this holiday season

Written by Linda Waechter

Looking ahead: The Big Meal is over.  The dishes are clean, the leftovers put away and the trash bagged up ready to head to the dumpster.  If you are anything like my family, you leave the trash bag tied up sitting by the door waiting for someone to venture outside to throw it away.  But the Dog knows you will turn your back at some split second, just long enough for him to rip into that glorious bag of turkey bones, butter wrappers and coffee grounds.  And so begins the busiest season of “Garbage Gut” cases.

Pancreatitis, affectionately known as Garbage Gut in the veterinary world, is an inflammation and swelling of the pancreas.  Pancreatitis can vary from a mild case to a very severe episode.  An attack can be brought on by a fatty meal or feeding table scraps.  Clinical signs include acute vomiting, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.  Some dogs may experience dehydration, weakness and possible shock.  Treatment includes hospitalization with intravenous fluid therapy, withholding food to rest the pancreas, treating pain with narcotic medications and possible antibiotic therapy. 

It’s also important to remember that poultry bones can splinter easily, causing possible obstruction and/or perforation in the gastrointestinal tract.  Discourage feeding any kind of bone to your pet to prevent an unwanted trip to your veterinarian. 

And try to remember to keep the trash out of Fido’s reach. 

Editor’s Note:  You may recognize the feature photo.  If you’re familiar with A Christmas Story, then you know this scene very well.  Lindsay thought this was a good explanation of what your dogs should NOT be doing this holiday season.  

About the author

Linda Waechter

Linda Waechter is the Executive Director of the Edgewood Vista Hastings Memory facility. This is a 14-bed community that specializes in memory care. Linda comes to this position as an RN with experience in Long Term Care, Acute and Subacute Rehab, medical office nursing and psychiatric nursing. She is a certified Assisted Living Administrator.

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