Pancreatitis in cats is more common than we think, and many can suffer from it chronically without knowing it. The pancreas is a gland that has a strong endocrine function, that is, it produces hormones like insulin and other exocrine function, which aids digestion and absorption of food, through digestive enzymes such as amylase, protease, cellulase or lipase. These enzymes are therefore essential for the degradation of proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides.
Symptoms of pancreatitis in cats
With pancreatitis in cats, it happens that the symptoms can go unnoticed and that the clinical signs are not very specific and common to several gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases of cats or viruses, such as feline calicivirus
These can manifest as loss of appetite, weight loss, irritability, frequent vomiting, fever, and decreased daily activity (possibly due to pain), but in the latter case, with cats sleeping most of the time, it is sometimes difficult to detect.
How does pancreatitis occur in cats?
It all starts with poor pancreatic function, resulting in decreased pancreatic secretion and a number of local side effects, as well as systemic inflammation, in part caused by premature enzymatic activation.
The origin of this dysfunction is today a field of study and it is not easy to establish a cause and effect link, but we know that it can have its origin in associated infectious agents such as Toxoplasmosis and Pleuritis infectious peritonitis. Other possible causes are traumatism e (once located in the abdominal area) inadequate diet (high in fat), ischemia, poisoning, it is even possible that some cats have some genetic predisposition. In all cases, the pancreas secretes enzymes localized in the surrounding area, which produces inflammation which can damage the pancreas itself and the organs which are very close to it.
Pancreatitis in cats can present either chronically, that is, over time and gradually (this is the most common) or acutely, which occurs suddenly. Some studies claim that the Siamese cat, and the common European cat, may be more prone than other breeds to suffer from this disease.
How to detect feline pancreatitis?
To diagnose pancreatitis, a series of tests and analyzes are done to help the veterinarian to confirm or rule out the disease. Of course, the first thing to do is a comprehensive physical examination, a biochemical blood count to analyze the levels of pancreatic enzymes in the blood. It is usually accompanied by a urinalysis and, if necessary, an X-ray and ultrasound analysis. (are not conclusive in themselves)
In cases where we are talking about chronic pancreatitis in cats, performing functional digestive tests, can be very effective in analyzing poor digestion and absorption in these cases. One of the most effective diagnostic methods to confirm that we are dealing with a case of pancreatitis in cats is the so-called or also called feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity test (PLI or FPLI). It is also the best method to confirm subsequent recovery after appropriate treatment.
What is the most appropriate treatment?
The first thing to say is that this is a disease with difficult difficult treatment, which will be aimed more at improving the state of health of the cat, trying to stabilize and recover its effects, improve its quality of life.
The main basic treatment goals achieved by veterinarians are:
- To correct dehydration in cats.
- Relieve any pain you may have.
- Vomiting control
- Provide nutritional support, depending on the mood.
- Prevent possible complications.
In many cases, cats suffering from pancreatitis, underweight, and in more extreme cases, may exhibit pictures of anorexia. In some cases, before any treatment, hospitalization is performed which allows (sometimes intravenously) the supply of fluids and drugs, in order to stabilize your medical team. If the cat vomits, medication is given to correct the problem, along with nutritional supplements that promote recovery. Sometimes vets can use an intravenous catheter or a feeding tube to stabilize the situation.
Do not forget that feline pancreatitis is a disease to be taken into account, as it can be complicated by diabetes and liver disease.
Say this article is for informational purposes only and that any prescription should always be supervised by a vet, so if you detect that your cat is not doing well we always recommend that you put yourself in their hands.
If you found this post useful and interesting, don’t forget to share it on your social networks. Your experience and opinion on pancreatitis in cats are very important if your cat has suffered or is suffering from this disease.
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