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Features April 2015 Issue

A disease actually caused by a spike in dietary fat

One illness that does not cause elevations in blood fats but, rather, can be caused by eating too much fat is pancreatitis. Thatís a disease in which pancreatic enzymes meant to break down nutrients like fats and carbohydrates spin out of control and actually start digesting the cells of the pancreas itself. Symptoms range from loss of appetite and unremitting episodes of vomiting and diarrhea to fever and acute pain around the abdomen. These may be complicated by dehydration, jaundice, kidney problems, and, in rare cases, the death of pancreatic cells that can prove fatal for the animal. Eating a lot of fat, say, from table scraps at holiday time is one of the most common causes of pancreatitis in dogs. Itís not known if itís the total amount of fat or the drastic change in the diet that increases the risk, but itís definitely best to avoid quick changes in diet, especially when the changes include adding a high amount of fat.

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