Pancreatitis in Cats (inflammation of the pancreas)

Pancreatitis in Cats

Pancreatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the organ called the pancreas. This disease can negatively affect our feline friends as well as humans. Pancreatitis, a very painful disease, can even be life-threatening. Although there is much that is unknown about pancreatitis in cats, veterinary medicine has evolved considerably over time and many ways to prevent and treat pancreatitis have been found.

So what is this pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis literally means inflammation of the pancreas, as the name suggests, is inflammation of the pancreas. Inflammation of the pancreas causes many ailments such as pain and digestive problems in cats.

Pancreas located in the abdominal cavity of cats, next to the stomach; It is a thin, long and pinkish organ. In addition to helping endocrine functions, the pancreas also helps the digestive system work properly thanks to various enzymes. When pancreatitis develops in a cat, the functionality of the pancreas is impaired and secondary problems may occur in other parts of the abdomen. Problems that can occur usually include diseases related to the gallbladder, liver or intestines.

There are two types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly and rapidly, with little or no pathological changes; Chronic pancreatitis persists for a long time and may cause irreversible changes in the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is usually encountered in cats, which seriously impairs the functionality of the pancreas. In cats with acute pancreatitis, it is common for this condition to turn into chronic inflammation later on. Cats with chronic pancreatitis regularly develop symptoms of this disease at certain periods of their lives.

Normally, the body’s defense mechanism prevents the pancreatic enzymes produced by the pancreas for digestive activities from digesting itself. However, if this mechanism is impaired in some cases, pancreatic enzymes are activated and begin to digest the pancreas. This causes pancreatitis.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in cats?

Symptoms are usually non-specific.

Abdominal pain: One of the best ways to tell if your cat has a stomachache is to pick it up on your lap. Your cat may meow, hiss, or try to get off your lap while you’re on your lap. If your doctor points to a sensitive or painful spot while examining your feline friend, your cat’s nervous reactions will support the symptom.

Vomiting: A cat can vomit for many reasons, and this symptom is not unique to pancreatitis. However, there is a possibility that your cat will vomit due to abdominal pain or secondary problems that may develop due to pancreatitis.

Weight loss: Cats with pancreatitis may experience weight loss due to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Diarrhea: One of the most common symptoms in cats with pancreatitis is diarrhea because the pancreas is one of the important elements of the digestive system.

Dehydration (fluid loss): A cat with pancreatitis may not want to drink water because she is sluggish and may also have diarrhea. The combination of insufficient fluid intake and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration in cats.

Fever: The body temperature of cats may rise due to the pancreas.

Anorexia: A cat who is feeling unwell, has a stomachache, and is vomiting will often have a lack of appetite and will not want to eat anything.

Death: This substance is, of course, one of the most extreme consequences of pancreatitis. However, if a severe acute pancreatitis is not treated, it can even lead to death.

Your cat’s indifference, desire to hide, sitting unresponsive for a long time by constantly closing its eyes, changes in eating and toilet habits… You should definitely not ignore such situations, and you should definitely take your cat friend to a veterinarian.

What are the causes of pancreatitis in cats?

Although the reasons for the development of pancreatitis in cats are not fully known, it can be encountered in most age groups and conditions. Usually, cholangiohepatitis (inflammation of the liver and bile ducts), inflammatory bowel diseases, bile duct obstruction, neoplasia, pancreatic trauma, etc. may occur depending on the circumstances. In addition, the intake of drugs and toxic substances can create a risk of pancreatitis in cats.

How is pancreatitis in cats diagnosed?

Pancreatitis can be diagnosed with blood tests as well as a physical exam. Pancreatitis can be detected by red and white blood cell counts, organ function tests and FPLI (pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity test). In addition to these, your doctor may also recommend x-ray or ultrasound depending on the situation.

Anemia findings, increase or decrease in defense cells, azotemia, increase in liver enzymes, increase in cholesterol, increase in bilirubin and hyperglycemia can be seen in blood tests.

Serum amylase and lipase measurements are not sufficient for the diagnosis of pancreatitis because these values ​​may increase in other diseases. Therefore, measurement of pancreatic lipase is one of the most sensitive tests in the diagnosis of pancreatitis.

How to treat pancreatitis in cats?

If a cat develops acute pancreatitis, it is very important to stick to the treatment plan that the veterinarian will follow. Generally, oral feeding is stopped and intravenous (intravenous) aggressive fluid therapy is started so that the pancreas can rest and heal and vomiting is not triggered. Cats who develop pancreatitis have severe fluid loss and replenishing this lost fluid is an important part of the treatment. Electrolytes lost by vomiting and diarrhea can be added to the intravenous fluid. Your cat may also be given gastroprotective, anti-vomiting, antibiotics, and pain relievers, among other medications, to control certain symptoms. Your cat may stay at the clinic throughout the treatment period. In the event that the symptoms of pancreatitis decrease and gradually recover, oral nutrition will be gradually introduced. First of all, the patient is expected not to vomit for a certain period of time. Afterwards, it is checked whether he vomits again by giving some water. If vomiting is not observed, it is started to be fed with small pieces of food with a high fat content. Depending on whether vomiting occurs or not, the amount of feeding is increased or decreased.

If your cat has chronic pancreatitis, severe seizures may require veterinary intervention. In these seizures, symptomatic treatments such as control of vomiting, injection of fluids or oral medication may be required.

Is pancreatitis contagious?

No, pancreatitis is not a contagious disease. Although the source of the disease is essentially unknown, there is no cause for concern in terms of contamination.

How to prevent pancreatitis in cats?

Pancreatitis is a very painful and exhausting disease. Therefore, it is very important to know the risk factors that may trigger pancreatitis and to take precautions accordingly. Your veterinarian is the person who will give the most accurate advice to reduce the risk of pancreatitis. A specific diet and supplement that will support pancreatic health or keep your cat’s weight in balance may be among the recommendations of your doctor.

In addition to acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis attacks should also be controlled. If your cat has a history of pancreatitis, you should monitor for any changes in her eating habits, activity level and bowel movements. If your cat develops symptoms such as vomiting and abdominal pain, you should consult your physician immediately to avoid serious consequences such as diabetes and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Both of these diseases can occur as a result of chronic pancreatitis.

So how can we deal with this situation? Can it be treated? What are our options?

When we reach the diagnosis as a result of long efforts, you as the patient and we as the physicians should be aware of this tiring process and accept it. Especially the treatment of pancreatitis is a long process and it is a wearing process for both us and our children. We are trying to manage pain well and keep the welfare level of our patients high in this process. In addition to this, we use liquid support treatments, anti-vomiting agents, stomach protectors, various supplements for liver and kidneys, vitamins to relieve symptoms along with antibiotic treatment.

On the way to diagnosis, the treatment protocol changes depending on the cause of pancreatitis, and different options should be added in any tumoral and insufficiency cases. Dietary control should be done, should be selected according to the acid-base status of the animal, weight control and should be managed strictly. It should never be forgotten that the pancreas is the backbone of internal organs and body balance, and it should be carefully controlled and always acted consciously in this regard.

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