Cats With Pancreatitis
Cats with pancreatitis is a common disease that veterinarians in America see on a daily basis.
According to the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, it’s estimated that from 2005-2009 there were 738,000 admitted cases of cats with pancreatitis per year.
Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas becomes inflamed or swells up. This makes getting nutrients into your cat difficult and often results in vomiting.
Veterinarian Lisa A. Pierson notes, “Cats with untreated pancreatitis tend to be underweight due to reduced food intake coupled with nausea and vomiting.”
This weight loss can lead to diabetes, which is a worry for many owners who want their animals around for a long time. Many people would rather have a cat that’s heavier but is diabetic, than a cat who is emaciated and healthy.
The most common cause of pancreatitis in cats is a diet high in fat. If you’re feeding your animal table scraps or human food, you should stop immediately. Your pet needs balanced nutrition to stay healthy and if they don’t get enough from their food alone, they will not be healthy.
Another cause of pancreatitis is trauma , such as being hit by a car or attacked by another animal. This can lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis also tends to affect older animals; these are called geriatric cats.
How to diagnose pancreatitis in a cat?
According to the National Library of Medicine publication, as noted earlier, pancreatitis has a few symptoms. In cats that have pancreatitis, some clinical signs are often loss of appetite and weight loss. The cat will usually have an elevated heart rate and fever. They also cannot tolerate being touched all over their body because it brings them pain. When you touch them on their belly and under their tail and around the back end they may become aggressive and try to bite you due to how much pain they’re in. As vets we see many animals who are in this type of pain; we can give them medication for it or put them down if we feel they’re suffering too much.
Abdominal pain in cats usually has an acute onset with a high heart rate, fever, and vomiting.
Diagnosing pancreatitis is through medical imaging like abdominal ultrasound or x-rays. Veterinary medical schools also require students to perform ultrasounds on cadavers before they are allowed to practice on live subjects.
If your veterinarian suspects pancreatitis, you will probably have blood tests done. The results of these blood tests can indicate if there’s pancreatic inflammation in the pancreas.
How is it treated?
Treatment for cats with pancreatitis is usually symptomatic . Veterinarians want to make sure that the animal stays hydrated and doesn’t develop electrolyte imbalances. Most importantly, veterinarians try not to give them any medications that could hurt their pancreas even more! This means Tylenol should never be given to a cat with pancreatitis. Unfortunately this type of pain medication would be the first thing I would want to give an animal in pain.
Veterinarians see many animals with pancreatitis and they are often treated with more than one type of medication. The goal is usually to get the cat back to eating normally, or at least enough for them not to lose weight. If you can get your cat on a regular diet at home, that’s ideal because some animals will refuse all food if it’s mixed with medications their owners have had to purchase from their local pharmacies.
One type of treatment veterinarians use is called “enzyme replacement therapy.” This means giving the cat enzymes taken from pigs. Many cats cannot produce one kind of digestive enzyme necessary for breaking down fat in their pancreas. By injecting the digestive enzymes you increase the cat’s ability to break down fat.
“In cases where a cat is not able to produce an enzyme necessary for breaking down dietary fat, “enzyme replacement therapy” must be used,” states veterinary medical school student Kristina Cooprider.
Natural alternatives to enzyme replacement therapy are also available. One example is giving the cat essential fatty acids. This will help them break down fat, along with having other health benefits like helping reduce inflammation and increasing their energy levels. Balanced nutrition is important for all animals but especially so when they have pancreatitis!
CBD oil is another natural alternative to enzyme replacement therapy. This is a very controversial subject in the veterinary world, but I want to talk about it since I have seen such positive results from treating animals with this oil. CBD’s ability to relieve pain and inflammation make it very beneficial in treating cats with pancreatitis.
However, if you are considering giving this medication to your pet at home, please consult with your veterinarian first. CBD oil seems to work best when used in conjunction with healthy diet changes, just like enzymes or fatty acids would be used.
Cats that have pancreatitis are often given steroids because they help decrease inflammation.
Feline pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas in cats. It can be acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis in cats is a condition that has a high mortality rate. It is often thought to be idiopathic in nature, but just like in humans, diabetes can lead to pancreatitis.
Homeopathic treatment of cats with pancreatitis seems to work best. A good example would be organum sulphuricum. This homeopathic remedy is used for many symptoms including chronic pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis in cats is much more common. This type of pancreatitis usually has a sudden onset and lasts about three days, but can occur up to ten days if not treated.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is treated by homeopathic remedies as well. One example would be chamomilla, which helps with digestive issues.
Another alternative treatment option is acupuncture.
This is becoming more popular in veterinary hospitals across the United States as research continues on its benefits. I have seen success with acupuncture in treating animals for various issues including cats with pancreatitis.
The prognosis of a cat with pancreatitis is usually good if the disease is caught early enough before too much damage has occurred to the pancreas. The goal should be to get them back to eating normally and gaining weight at a healthy rate. Unfortunately many cases are not found until it’s too late, but as vets we do our best to treat these patients and sometimes they even recover!
I wish you and your pet the best of luck. If you have any questions or comments about this condition please leave them below.