Lola at home
Outfitted in her autumn-themed hair bow and turkey bandana, Lola the Lhasa apso was ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in style. While too prissy to flounce in a pile of leaves, she adores posing next to cornucopias of fall decorations so her mom could upload her best side to her personal Instagram account—Lola’s quite the top dog among her followers.
Her home was dressed as beautifully as Lola in the splendors of a fall harvest. Corn cobs and stalks, squash, and hay bales formed rustic decorations around the front door, while a smaller version graced the dining room table. Room was left for the many dishes being prepared to fill the table, and Lola was hoping to sneak a few nibbles of the foods responsible for those delectable smells.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang and, as the door opened to welcome family and friends, Lola darted out in greeting. Fortunately, she was overly excited to sniff out the newcomers and didn’t chase the stray cat lurking under the porch, as she usually did. Her mom frantically scooped her up, and placed her in the barricaded kitchen.
Lola viewed this as a reward, as she was much closer to Thanksgiving dinner. In the commotion, Lola’s mom had left various pots bubbling unattended on the stove. As Lola drooled in front of the oven, the pot filled with potatoes boiled over, sending scalding water on Lola’s paws. She yipped in pain as her paws reddened. Lola’s mom rushed in at her cries and began soothing the burns with cool water. Thankfully, Lola’s paws were only inflamed, and they became more comfortable as they cooled.
Distracted with caring for Lola’s paws, her mom forgot about her food preparation. The oven contents began to smoke, setting off the shriek of the smoke detector. Panicking, her mom flung open the oven door and began grabbing pans to carry outside. Lola, worried by the shrill noise, cowered close to her mom, tripping her as she attempted to remove the turkey. As the pan clattered to the floor, Lola spotted her chance for her piece of Thanksgiving dinner. She seized a crispy turkey leg and bolted to her secret hiding spot.
Unable to coax Lola from her hiding place, her mom worked on cleaning up the kitchen disaster. After some time, Lola strolled in, licking her lips, now hoping for a slice of pizza.
The next day, Lola was in rough shape. She showed no interest in her normal breakfast, or a cold piece of pizza. She had thrown up several times during the night, and had left puddles of diarrhea around the house. She yelped when her mom picked her up to snuggle on the couch, and at that point, Lola’s mom knew she needed immediate medical attention.
Lola at the hospital
We had a game plan in mind when Lola arrived at our hospital. We see many cases of pancreatitis and foreign body ingestion around Thanksgiving because of the festive foods shared with pets. We performed a physical exam, took X-rays of Lola’s gastrointestinal tract, and ran blood work, and all the results pointed to a double diagnosis—pancreatitis and turkey bones stuck in her stomach, both life-threatening conditions.
Lola needed surgery to remove the turkey bones before they tore through her stomach wall, which would allow an infection to fester in her abdomen. We moved quickly, placing an intravenous catheter, and administering pain and anti-nausea medications, gastroprotectants, and antibiotics.
Lola came through the surgery well, and was kept sedated with ample medication to ease the pain of the surgical incision and her inflamed pancreas. We kept her hospitalized for several days to ensure adequate nutrition, hydration, pain management, and nausea control. After allowing her body to recover, we offered Lola a tiny amount of a low-fat diet, which she scarfed down hungrily. Since Lola was able to keep food and water down for the day, we sent her home with medications and strict diet instructions.
This Thanksgiving season, we are thankful we’re able to save dogs like Lola, who make poor food choices. Pancreatitis and foreign body ingestion are scary for pets and owners, and can easily take your pet’s life. Avoid potential Thanksgiving tragedies by preventing Lola’s owners’ mistakes:
- Choose appropriate holiday decorations — Some pets will nibble on anything new, so consider placing decorations out of paws’ reach to ensure your decor doesn’t become embellished with tooth marks, or a digested foreign object.
- Keep your pet confined when greeting guests — Pets can easily slip out the door in the hubbub, and get lost, or hit by a car.
- Keep pets out of the kitchen — Pets can become a hazard to themselves and their owners while underfoot in the kitchen. It’s easy to trip over a pet who is sitting nearby, hoping for a dropped morsel. Boiling water, hot dishes, and toxic foods can lead to an emergency veterinary visit, so confine your pet to a different room while preparing the holiday feast.
- Avoid sharing your plate with your pet — Refusing her beautiful begging eyes may be difficult, but ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie, and many other dishes are full of fat, sugar, spices, and dairy products that can cause serious problems for your pet. Stick to pet-friendly treats instead.
If your pet is as unlucky as Lola this Thanksgiving, call us to help with your tale of woe.