Pancreatitis in cats comes in two different forms, is a very unpredictable disease, and if it becomes severe enough, it is life threatening.
It can also lead to several other very serious diseases such as diabetes mellitus, or something much worse; pancreatic insufficiency.
If it attacks your cat during a time when they have another disease in their liver or small intestine, they may have virtually no chance of surviving.
Pancreatitis in cats is much easier for an owner to understand with some basic knowledge about the pancreas itself.
The pancreas is a V-shaped organ that is located behind the stomach and is located in what is referred to as the duodenum.
This is the first section of the small intestine, and it has two main functions.
The first is to assist with the metabolism of sugar in your cat’s body through the production of insulin.
The second is assisting in the digestion of nutrients.
These nutrients are digested by the production of pancreatic enzymes,
These help your cat’s body promote both the digestion as well as the absorption of fats in their diet.
When the pancreas is attacked by pancreatitis, it can come in two different formats; acute or chronic.
Acute pancreatitis in cats is a very sudden onset of inflammation of the pancreas, and the chronic form is a situation where the inflammation builds over time or reoccurs.
Although chronic pancreatitis in cats is more common, the acute form is much more dangerous.
The acute form results from a very sudden inflammation that is best described by the activation of your cats pancreatic enzymes.
is extremely dangerous as your cat’s pancreas begins to digest itself.
The pancreas lies in the upper abdomen directly by the first portion of your pets small intestine referred to as the duodenum.
It is also located between the stomach, liver, as well as the right kidney.
It produces what is called bicarbonate and this is essential in neutralizing both stomach acid as well as several other enzymes that assist in the digestion process.
As a result of this inflammation, your cat’s body begins a systemic reaction to the inflammation, and it is this reaction that will determine the severity of the pancreatitis.
It can be very mild in some cats, or it can be an extremely dangerous reaction that becomes life threatening.
If these bouts of acute inflammation continue, it than develops into the chronic form.
Once this occurs, it can very easily trigger other disorders to occur such as diabetes mellitus or what is referred to as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
The symptoms of pancreatitis in cats can be very frightening for an owner as they will cover an extreme spectrum of severity.
If the attack is a lower grade, your cat will become dehydrated and begin to loss their appetite and then very quickly lose weight.
About fifty percent of all cats with the low grade form may also develop vomiting as well as abdominal pain.
However, they may also develop a fever, an increased heart rate, as well as changes in their breathing patterns. If the pancreatitis is on the border line of severe, they may also develop jaundice.
If the inflammation is severe, it is now an entirely different ballgame so to speak.
Severe pancreatitis can cause heart arrhythmias, which are irregular heart rhythms that impede the pumping process, as well as a very sudden and difficult time in breathing.
But this is only the beginning as it can also cause sepsis, which is an infection that affects their entire body.
There is another life threatening condition called DIC that may result. DIC is also known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, and causes multi hemorrhages to occur in your cat.
If the inflammation is extreme, it can also cause auto-digestion by your cat’s pancreatic enzymes that are released and it immediately begins to eat itself causing permanent damages.
Pancreatitis in cats can have several causes that contribute to this potentially life threatening condition.
Genetics does play a role in domestic short hair cats and the Siamese breed seems to be more at risk than other breeds.
However, it can affect any breed at any time as certain medications including antibiotics or anti-cancer drugs can trigger it, as well as some insecticides.
Hypercalcemia, which is too much calcium in your cat’s blood, may also be the cause.
It is also believed that a recent surgery or a trauma such as shock can also very easily trigger this disease.
Infections such as feline calicivirus, toxoplasmosis, as well as liver flukes are also potential causes.
Bile duct diseases, IBD or inflammatory bowel disease, as well as small intestine diseases can also trigger pancreatitis.
The treatment of pancreatitis in cats has five basic goals; correct the hydration, provide pain relief, prevent further complications, control the vomiting, as well as providing nutritional support.
Giving your cat fluids immediately, either by subcutaneous or intravenous methods, is usually the first form of treatment.
Most cats will be severely dehydrated or has an electrolyte imbalance as a result of the pancreatitis.
Pain medications will also be used as this is an extremely painful ordeal your cat is going through.
If your cat is vomiting, controlling this is the next step with medications, and then introducing them back to foods is usually done with very bland foods that are easy to digest.
Vitamin B12 injections are also used in most cases, to help provide needed nutrients that have been lost in the initial attacks.
Supplementing digestive enzymes is also very common as it will help with both the digestive and absorption processes.
If it is determined by your veterinarian that this attack was triggered by a recent medication, it will immediately be stopped.
If infections are the underlying cause, identifying them and then treating them is the next mode in the treatment process.
If the attack has been extreme and abscesses have developed in the pancreas, surgery will have to be done, but this is usually very rare.
Pancreatitis in cats can be an extremely unpredictable disease that can easily lead to several other serious conditions. If the pancreatitis is mild, the chances of recovery for your cat are very good.
However, sometimes what appears to be mild can easily progress into much more serious conditions and can very easily reoccur in which case it is now considered chronic.
The extent of the severity in most cases will determine your cat chances of survival.
More About Liver and Pancreas Disorders in Cats:
Is a disease that can best be described as
preventing insulin that is needed for numerous functions in your cat.
The exact cause is not fully understood but it is
believed to be some type of an underlying hypersensitivity
or an allergy of some kind.
Is a condition where your pet’s liver has lost over 75 percent of its functioning capabilities.
Is known by another name, fatty liver disease,
and it is fast becoming one of the most common conditions in cats.
Is the swelling of the pelvis of their kidneys
when the flow of urine becomes obstructed in any part of the urinary
In most cases affects older cats and a
lifetime of building up their immune system will help them in preventing
or fighting this disease.
Has several potential causes other than the food supply or quality of the food.
Regulating with insulin is the first major obstacle to
overcome as well as a full understanding of the commitment that it will take.