Feline pancreatitis is one of the most common diseases in cats and one of the most often overlooked in these animals. This is because in general it does not develop in an acute way, but chronic, which makes it difficult to recognize any symptoms.
In this article we are going to explain what is pancreatitis in cats, what are its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Read on to learn more about this feline disease.
What is pancreatitis in cats?
Pancreatitis in cats is inflammation of the pancreas, a gland that is located near the small intestine (in fact, it is partially attached to it) and that fulfills several functions in the body of both animals and humans.
On the one hand, it has an endocrine job, producing hormones like insulin. On the other hand, it has an exocrine function, which is why it is responsible for manufacturing substances that help digest food. The diagnosis can become fatal when the cat’s pancreas begins to digest its own tissue.
Causes of pancreatitis in cats
Unfortunately, the exact cause of feline pancreatitis is unknown. However, there are certain health problems associated with pancreatitis in cats. They are as follows:
- Ingesting poison.
- Parasitic infection.
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Cholangiohepatitis (liver disease).
- Too much fat in your diet.
Therefore, if your cat has too much fat in its diet or if it suffers from any of the health problems mentioned above, it is at risk of pancreatitis disease.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Cats
The symptoms of pancreatitis in cats are not usually acute and can go unnoticed, so we emphasize that if you ever see your cat experiencing any abnormal behavior, it is best to take him to the vet for a check-up. That being said, the most common symptoms of pancreatitis in cats are:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased urination
- Poor appetite
- Diarrhea and vomiting.
Diagnosis of pancreatitis in cats
To diagnose pancreatitis in cats, the aforementioned symptoms must be examined and recognized by a veterinarian. As the owner of the animal, they will ask you some questions about the symptoms. Subsequently, you should perform a physical examination, highlighting the hydration status of your cat, the state of its body, the presence of abdominal pain and the color of the mucous membranes, which will turn yellow if it suffers from jaundice.
To confirm the diagnosis, a blood test is performed that includes specific markers to detect pancreatitis. Blood tests are also useful to know the general health of the cat and other organs that may be affected. In the case of pancreatitis, it will be the liver.
Ultrasound is much more helpful than radiography in these cases and can reveal the cat’s inflamed pancreas, confirming the diagnosis. That said, your vet will be able to choose the appropriate tests to properly diagnose your cat.
Treatment of pancreatitis in cats
Treatment will depend on whether your cat has acute or chronic pancreatitis. Acute feline pancreatitis presents the most serious risk and therefore almost always requires hospitalization. On the other hand, chronic pancreatitis may require periodic trips to the hospital, however it is usually possible to care for it from home.
When in hospital, vets will treat your cat with fluids through an IV to treat any dehydration. These fluids will also detoxify your cat’s pancreas of harmful inflammatory chemicals.
Antibiotics may also be given to minimize the risk of suppurative (infectious) pancreatitis. The vets at the veterinary hospital will also provide your cat with pain relievers and anti-nausea medications. It is very important to encourage and take good care of the patient to help her regain her appetite and her mood as soon as possible.
How to feed your cat after being hospitalized for pancreatitis
It is very important to feed your cat after they have been hospitalized for pancreatitis. Most vets will advise feeding them once at home after being in the hospital to prevent vomiting and stimulate their appetite. However, if your cat has other health problems, your vet may encourage you to increase her appetite at a slower rate. Ask your vet when you are in the hospital about how to deal with the recovery process at home.
When it comes to choosing what to feed them to eat, they should be of high quality and appetizing. Most cats opt for wet food as they enjoy the taste and it also helps them stay hydrated. You should also remember that a natural feline diet is full of healthy fats and proteins, so it is best to avoid grains and any foods that are highly processed.
If your cat is having a hard time eating and still vomits, talk to your vet. Antiemetics may be prescribed, which will help control nausea and vomiting, allowing your cat to regain its appetite soon. In severe cases, in which a cat cannot eat on its own, it will be necessary to hospitalize it and feed it through lines. Remember that whatever condition your cat is in, the vet will guide you through its recovery.
Finally, it is important to note that although severe cases of pancreatitis in cats require specialized hospital care, most cases of pancreatitis are mild and not threatening. However, to help your cat recover, it is important to take her to the vet as soon as we observe any abnormality or strange behavior. In this way, we prevent any disease that is suffering from progressing and our furry friend is able to recover faster.