Q. Every time my Miniature Schnauzer, Linus, gets into cat poop while we’re out on walks he ends up with pancreatitis. What causes this bad (and expensive) disease and what can I do to prevent it?
You’ve opened a can of worms on a whopper of a topic.
Pancreatitis is a relatively common disease of the digestive and endocrine organ called the pancreas. Nestled between the stomach and the small intestine, this hypersensitive organ is subjected to all kinds of inflammatory and infectious insults, and often responds by getting really swollen and painful.
When other organs get similarly insulted, they almost always go about their business with a few hitches that are eventually resolved. Not so with the pancreas. Give this organ a nudge (gastritis, a fatty meal or some other dietary indiscretion), and next thing you know it’s puffy and pink, and your dog is spewing vomit.
How to stop Linus from picking up infections? Vigilance is the key. You may even want to consider getting him used to a basket muzzle. These fit over the dog’s face and are considered a humane alternative when canines eat things they shouldn’t while on walks or when otherwise supervised.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami and blogs at www.dolittler.com. Send questions to email@example.com, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.