"Feline Pancreatitis is the most common disease of the pancreas in cats. It refers to inflammation of the pancreas and is thought to be caused by infection, poor diet, injury, a complication of anesthesia or a reaction to several prescription medications. Treatment involves fluid therapy, dietary change, antibiotics for infection (if needed) and homeopathic support."
Pancreatitis is the most common disease of the pancreas in cats. It is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas - the largest gland of body. Pancreatitis may be acute (mild) or chronic (severe).
There are many factors that are thought to be cause of pancreatitis including:
- dietary carelessness
- severe injury
- anesthetic complications
- several infections caused by bacteria species (toxoplasma & Amphimerus)
Signs and symptoms of cat pancreatitis include lethargy, anorexia (loss of appetite) and dehydration. Feline pancreatitis is complicated to diagnose, therefore laboratory tests & radiography are necessary.
The prognosis for mild conditions is good, while the prognosis for severe conditions is poor.
Causes of Feline Pancreatitis:
As mentioned, cat pancreatitis may be caused by several reasons. Usually a disturbed or careless nutrition plan for cats is thought to be most common cause.
Severe trauma or injury or any accident may lead to acute and severe pancreatitis.
Though infectious agents are not a primary cause for cat pancreatitis, it is they associated with the condition. Toxoplasma Gondii & Amphimerus Pseudofelineus are microbial agents associated with the disease.
Anesthetic complications like hypotension is another core cause of pancreatitis, which causes a disturbed physiological release of juices through tubular channels in the pancreas.
There are several drugs, which have adverse effects on the pancreas, which may significantly cause pancreatitis in cats. Excessive calcium therapy, estrogen hormone, non steroid anti inflammatory drugs such as salicyclates, diuretics (drugs used to increase urination) etc. are most likely to cause pancreatitis in cats.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms of Feline Pancreatitis:
Cats affected with pancreatitis, may appear as dehydrated, tired and restless. Abdominal pain is uncommon in cats, but may present at a certain level. Diseased cats vomit frequently. Anorexia (Loss of appetite) is another sign associated with a disturbance in the release of pancreatic juices, which are important for appetite. Temperature remains lower then normal.
Moreover, in severe conditions, the cat may exhibit ataxia (Difficulty in movement) and apparent weight loss & even death, if not treated and cared for properly.
Diagnosis of Feline Pancreatitis:
Diagnosing pancreatitis is a delicate job. Cats may exhibit irregular signs. Abdominal pain is uncommon in cats, while other signs as lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting are signs associated with pancreatitis, but it may not help with the diagnosis, because they are very common signs and may be revealed in other diseases too. A history with like signs and symptoms may not be helpful as well.
Laboratory Procedures are therefore necessary. Several biochemical tests such as “TLI”, “PLI” & amylase enzyme level test etc. are helpful in reaching a diagnosis. Abdominal ultrasonography shows changes in size, condition and fluid accumulation around the pancreas, which can be helpful in diagnosing pancreatitis.
Treatment of Feline Pancreatitis:
Supportive care is the only feasible treatment plan, preferably with fluid therapy. Developments in the affected cat should be monitored very closely.
It should be noted that chronic cases of feline pancreatitis have a very poor prognosis, therefore a timely and rapid treatment response should be initiated.
Nutrition has an important role in curing feline pancreatitis. Nothing should be delivered to diseased cats by the oral route, neither feeding nor medication for at least 3 – 4 days.
Use of antibiotics may be helpful if an infectious cause is involved, but a confirmatory and specified diagnosis is necessary to administer antibiotics.
Abdominal pain should be investigated; it may be absent, mild or very severe. In each condition, abdominal pain should be administered & monitored, as it may arise anytime. Usually mepreidine & butorphanol are prescribed for abdominal pain. Morphine & fentanyl may be helpful, but have an addictive nature & adverse effect on the liver in cats.
For added support there is a natural homeopathic remedy available that has been specifically formulated to help cats with pancreatitis. The remedy, Pancreas Booster, works by promoting the breakdown of foods in the intestines to support pancreatic health. Natural ingredients such as Bromelain (protein digesting enzymes), Papin (enzyme found in papaya) and Gymnema (supports blood sugar levels) all can all help.
A well defined feeding system or nutritional plan should always be followed for cats. Moreover in cases of severe injury or accident, abdominal radiography should be carried out. In case of a confirmed diagnosis, an early, immediate and cause dependent treatment plan should be initiated by your veterinarian.
Professor of Dermatology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California: “Flea Allergy Dermatitis”
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