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6555 28th St SE

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(616) 575-6520

Happy day after Halloween! Last weekend we had a Halloween party for the staff’s children and they had a blast. Lots of cute costumes! We also hung out at the Zoo goes Boo on the 21st! Did you see us there?

Pet pictures with Santa are coming up December 1st! Visit us on between 3pm-5pm in the front lobby to get your pet’s picture taken.


Now that Halloween has passed….

We all know that eating chocolate is not good for our dog and cat patients. Chocolate toxicity can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and can cause death if not caught early enough (

Did you know that besides toxicity symptoms, eating a highly fatty food like chocolate can cause Pancreatitis? Pancreatitis broken down is just inflammation of the pancreas but it can make your pet very uncomfortable.

So Pancreatitis just affects the Pancreas?
No! Pancreatitis also affects the GI system, liver, heart, and the blood cells. Which means that you will likely see a lot of the same symptoms as if they were experiencing a chocolate toxicity.

Is my animal at risk for Pancreatitis?
All dogs and cats are at risk BUT Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Siamese cats are more at risk. Also, pets middle aged and over 7 years are more at risk. If your pet is obese, has diabetes, Cushing’s, or renal failure, they may be at a higher risk.

How do I know if my pet has Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is not an easy diagnosis. Mostly because the symptoms are so vague and could be multiple different conditions. The things we listen for when you are telling us your pet’s history are if they are lethargic, depressed, or anorexic. In dogs we listen for vomiting, fever, abdominal pain/hunched back, and/or diarrhea. In cats we listen for weight loss and fever OR hypothermia.

How do you diagnosis it?
Before diagnosing pancreatitis we need to rule out an intestinal obstruction or foreign body, gastroenteritis, GI ulcers, splenic torsion, Cushing’s, kidney disease, liver disease, and neoplasia. I told you it was tricky to diagnose.

Luckily we do have an in house test for dogs that is highly sensitive. This takes about 20 minutes to run and will confirm diagnosis. We do not carry the same test in house for cats but we can send out bloodwork to confirm, while starting treatment.

How do you treat Pancreatitis?
Our gold standard is hospitalization with IV fluids, a low fat diet if they are not vomiting, or nothing by mouth if they are vomiting. They will typically receive anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medications and antibiotics if needed. Most cases receive pain medications to help with comfort.

What causes Pancreatitis?
It’s not 100% known. While we know that a diet of high fatty foods contributes, it could also be related to trauma, ischemia, drugs/toxins, pancreatic duct obstruction, hypocalcaemia, or can be secondary to intestinal inflammation.

How do I prevent Pancreatitis in my pet?
If they are overweight, getting them to a stable, healthy weight will help. Also avoiding high fat diets and treats.


Does your dog have symptoms of pancreatitis? We are currently doing a study at Family Friends, looking into new ways to treat flare ups. If you are interested in knowing more, contact us and ask for Sam or Ana.