Feline triaditis. Causes, symptoms and treatment

Feline triaditis is used to indicate that a cat has three concurrent conditions: inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pancreatitis, and chronic cholangitis . It is not in itself a disease.

There are relatively few studies on feline triaditis, there is some disagreement about what causes it initially, and which is the main culprit. Some publications consider that inflammation of the liver leads to the others, while others claim that inflammatory disease is the main cause.

This article will show you the possible causes, symptoms and the most common treatment for feline triaditis .

What is triaditis?

In feline medicine, it is a newly formed term and refers to  inflammatory diseases that involve three specific organs: the liver, the pancreas, and the small intestine.

We are facing a syndrome caused by the concurrence of cholangitis (inflammation of the bile duct system), inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis.

I will explain them to you separately below:

  1. Pancreatitis 

This disease occurs when the pancreas becomes irritated or inflamed. Pancreatitis in cats can be due to bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, or sometimes from overload or change in diet.

  1. Inflammatory bowel disease

Chronically inflamed intestines develop when cells of the immune system affect the intestinal walls. It can also be due to recurrent gastrointestinal disorders, bacterial infections, genetic factors, and lymphoma.

  1. Cholangitis 

This condition consists of inflammation of the bile duct, the tube that carries bile fluid from the gallbladder to the small intestine.



Image courtesy of Sarah Collins

Possible causes of feline triaditis

One of the main factors is due to the fact that part of the problem is in their anatomy, the close anatomical relationship that exists between the liver, pancreas and duodenum . A cat’s main bile duct and its pancreatic duct meet at the common bile duct before emptying into the duodenal papilla.

In addition, another factor to take into account is the high bacterial load of the feline duodenum , which contains 100 times more bacteria than that of dogs.

The anatomical placement of these ducts facilitates the reflux of duodenal contents into the liver and pancreas from an inflamed intestine, although it may also be due to an ascending bacterial intestinal infection, or to a possible immune-mediated origin.

Symptoms of Triaditis in Cats

Age, gender, or racial predisposition to triaditis is not known. The most common clinical signs are:

  • Dehydration
  • Reduction or loss of appetite
  • Intestinal wall thickening.
  • Increased volume of the pancreas.
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain.

How is triaditis diagnosed in cats?

A variety of tests can be performed, including:

  • Complete blood count – to evaluate red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets
  • Biochemical profile: to help assess liver and kidney function and measure electrolytes.
  • Urine analysis.
  • X-rays and ultrasounds of the liver, pancreas, and small intestine.
  • Gastrointestinal profile: to help assess pancreatic function and various B vitamins.
  • Fecal tests to rule out “intestinal worms.”
  • Infectious disease testing: detection of feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, toxoplasmosis etc.

Ultimately, biopsies and cultures of the liver, small intestine, and pancreas are needed for a definitive diagnosis.

How is triaditis cured?

Treatment for triaditis consisting of treatment for pancreatitis, inflammatory disease, and cholangitis.

The main interventions may include:

  • Modification of the diet to another hypoallergenic or protein.
  • Antiemetic therapy to control nausea.
  • Provide appetite stimulants and / or place temporary supplemental feeding tubes.
  • Administration of medications that help reduce inflammation in the liver, pancreas, and small intestine.
  • Vitamin supplements: the supply of vitamin B12, vitamin B9, vitamin K1 and / or vitamin E can be very helpful
  • Giving cats certain antioxidants like s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and vitamin E is of utmost importance
  • Antimicrobial therapy.
  • Biliary support – a drug called ursodeoxycholic acid reduces the toxic components in the bile and allows the bile to flow more efficiently
  • Pain relievers for abdominal pain.

Conclusion on triaditis in cats

Triaditis is a relatively common syndrome in cats . A thorough diagnostic investigation was needed to make an accurate and definitive diagnosis. With prompt and proper intervention, many cats have a favorable prognosis.

Unfortunately, once triaditis has been diagnosed, it can never be cured. However, there is a possibility that cats live with triaditis under control. Lifetime medication and possibly lifetime change will be required for the cat.

The cat may need to change the way it eats or even some of the activities that it normally participates in. Once symptoms are under control, most cats do well. The important thing is that triaditis is diagnosed as soon as possible so that a cat can begin treatment immediately.





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