Pancreatitis in Cats

signs of pancreatitis in cats

The pancreas becomes part of the endocrine and digestion system, which is integral for the food digestion of foods, producing the enzymes that absorb food, and producing insulin. When the pancreas becomes irritated, the circulation of enzymes into the digestive tract can become disrupted, forcing the enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area.

If this occurs, the gastrointestinal enzymes will start to break down fat and proteins in the other organs, in addition to in the pancreas. In effect, the body begins to digest itself. Since of their proximity to the pancreas, the kidney and liver can also be impacted when this development occurs, and the abdominal area will become swollen, and potentially infected as well. If bleeding takes place in the pancreas, shock, and even death can follow.

Inflammation of the pancreas (or pancreatitis) often advances rapidly in cats, however can often be dealt with no long-term damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-lasting without treatment, severe organ, as well as brain damage can happen.

Pancreatitis can impact both dogs and cats. If you want to find out more about how this disease affects dogs, please check out this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Cats

There are a variety of symptoms that may be observed in cats, consisting of:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia).
  • Weight loss (more common in cats).
  • Dehydration.
  • Fatigue and sluggishness.
  • Depression.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Trouble breathing.

Causes of Pancreatitis in Cats

There are numerous possible causes of inflammation to the pancreas. Some of them are:

  • Concurrent inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease. The combination of inflammatory disease of the liver, pancreas, and intestinal tracts is so common in cats that it has its own name — “triaditis.” It is safe to presume that most cats identified with one of these conditions have some degree of the other two also.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Particular types of infections (e.g., toxoplasmosis or feline distemper).
  • Abdominal injury.
  • Exposure to organophosphate insecticides.

One other believed cause, rare because of its geographical probability, is scorpion stings. The venom from a scorpion can cause the pancreas to respond, causing inflammation.

Unlike with dogs, inflammation of the pancreas is not connected to nutritional consider cats. In most cases, no underlying cause for pancreatitis can be identified.

Although pancreatitis can occur in any animal breed, it has actually been discovered to happen more often with cats, specifically the Siamese cat. Inflammation of the pancreas is likewise more typical in females than in males, and more typical in elderly cats.


Your veterinarian will check for the existence of gallstones, and for a condition referred to as reflux. A full blood work up will be ordered to see if there are any nutrient imbalances, and X-ray imaging will be used to look for evidence of any blunt damage to the pancreas. Pancreatic and liver enzymes will be measured to analyze for boosts of either in the bloodstream. Insulin will me measured to look for normal levels, because inflammation can cause insulin producing cells in the pancreas to be harmed, possibly causing diabetes.

In some cases, an ultrasound will be performed to search for mass tissue developments, cysts, or abscesses in the body. A needle biopsy might likewise be brought with the ultrasound.

The outcomes of particular tests for pancreatitis (fPLI or SPEC-FPL) can diagnose numerous cases of feline pancreatitis, but sometimes exploratory surgery is needed.

Treatment for Pancreatitis in Cats

Inflammation of the pancreas can frequently be treated in your vet’s office. Treatment for pancreatitis is essentially symptomatic and supportive and involves fluid therapy, pain relief, medications to manage nausea and vomiting, antibiotics, and in some cases plasma transfusions. Because of the close association in between digestive tract inflammation and pancreatitis, your vet may also recommend a short course of corticosteroids till a final diagnosis can be made. If the inflammation is being caused by a medication your family pet is taking, the medication will be withdrawn immediately.

It is important to limit your cat’s activity level following any treatment to permit recovery. Your vet may have to prescribe fluid therapy during this time to prevent dehydration.

If vomiting is relentless, drugs will be recommended to help manage it, and if your animal is experiencing severe pain, pain relievers can be offered. (Pain medication should only be given with supervision from your vet.) It may likewise be needed to provide your animal antibiotics as a preventive versus infection. In some severe cases, surgery will be used to remove any clog that is triggering the inflammation, to remove big build-ups of fluid, or to remove severely harmed tissue.

Your vet will likewise want to perform periodic in workplace assessments to guarantee that development is being made to healing.

Living with Pancreatitis and Prevention for Cats

Hydration is one of the most significant concerns and ought to be kept track of within 24 hours of therapy, and then until the cat has actually fully recuperated. Since pancreatitis in cats is not connected to the fat content of their food, patients do not need to eat low-fat foods either to treat or prevent a regression of the disease. Cats that do not eat are at high risk for a disease called hepatic lipidosis. So contrary to what is typically done with dogs, a lot of feline patients are not held off food and feeding tubes might be put in the course of the disease if the cat refuses to eat.

You are free to provide any type of healthy food your cat will eat, especially canned (wet) foods, and even high fat foods.

Here are some things to search for in foods:

  • Quickly digestible.
  • Moderate levels of protein that come from novel sources or are altered to be hypoallergenic.
  • Moderate fat levels.
  • Canned, unless the cat will just eat dry.

While these preventative measures will not make sure that your cat does not establish this inflammation, they might assist to avoid the medical condition. These measures consist of:

  • A reduction in the cat’s weight (if it is obese), and proper on-going weight management.
  • Keeping your cat as near its perfect weight as possible.
  • Avoidance of drugs that may increase inflammation.
Reyus Mammadli
Having engineering and medical education, in recent years actively engaged in the study of the development, reproduction of domestic animals. Special attention is paid to the treatment and prevention of diseases of Pets.
Pet Health
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