Pancreatitis is a term used to refer to the inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is hard to detect in cats as it is likely to be more subtle in dogs. Pancreatitis can lead to other diseases, and when it does, it might not just threaten your cat’s life but might also lead to death. Pancreatitis in cats comes in two forms: acute and chronic. Pancreatitis in cats should never be taken lightly because it can develop quickly and can cost your cat’s life.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis? What can I do to help my cat? Read on to know more.
What are the causes of pancreatitis?
There is a variety of possible reasons for your cat to have pancreatitis. Although pancreatitis can affect any cat breeds, it is believed that it could be quite prevalent in Siamese and domestic shorthair cats due to their genetics. Certain medications are known to provoke pancreatitis, such as diuretic drug, phenobarbital, prednisone, and catabolic steroids. Too much calcium in your cat’s blood, known as hypercalcaemia, can be also accountable for the disease.
Recent surgery, traumatic shock, parasitic or viral infection, bile duct diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, exposure to toxin, and even small intestine diseases can potentially trigger pancreatitis.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Unlike dogs that display more significant physical symptoms such as discomfort, digestive pain, vomiting, and many others; cats, on the other hand, happen to show very discreet signs. However, these signs are gradual and eventually become incredibly frightening that you should always be vigilant. Cat pancreatitis symptoms include:
- Fatigue and sluggishness or lethargy
- Loss of appetite and very quick weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Heart arrhythmias, which lead to breathing difficulties
- DIC, otherwise known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, which may cause multihaemorrhages to your cat
The diagnosis of pancreatitis can be tricky since it has a lot of similar symptoms with other diseases. A veterinarian will thoroughly examine the history regarding your cat’s health and lifestyle, and conduct a physical examination to prevent other possible problems. A veterinarian might carry out one or more of the following procedures to be able to make a conclusive diagnosis of the disease:
- X-ray/Ultrasound examination
- Complete blood count (CBC), including evaluating the levels of pancreatic enzymes in the blood
There are five basic goals in treating pancreatitis in cats. These are: providing pain relief, correcting the hydration, controlling the vomiting, preventing further complications, and providing nutritional support.
Usually, the first form of treatment is by immediately giving your cat fluids, either by intravenous or subcutaneous methods; this is due to your cat being dehydrated or your cat may have an electrolyte imbalance. Since pancreatitis is a very serious ordeal, pain medication might be used to help your cat ease a bit.
The next step would be controlling your cat’s vomiting. Then gradually introducing him to food will be done by offering her incredibly bland foods that will be convenient for your cat to digest.
To help regain lost nutrients during the initial pancreatitis attacks, vitamin B12 injections will be given. Then providing your cat a constant supply of digestive enzymes will be able to help both her absorption and digestive processes. Also, working with a holistic veterinarian will help manage your cat’s condition back to wellness.
One of the biggest concerns in a cat with pancreatitis is hydration, which should be monitored within twenty-four hours of therapy until your cat has fully recovered. One thing you need to understand is a cat does not need to eat low-fat foods to prevent reoccurrence of the disease since this disease is not the result of fat intake. However, a cat that does not eat will have a high chance of getting hepatic lipidosis. The cat will need to be offered food, and if necessary, a feeding tube will be used if the cat refuses to take in food.
You have the freedom to offer your cat any types of healthy food and particularly food high in fat and/or canned food (wet food). However, the food you have to offer must also be easily digested and contain enough levels of protein that are hypoallergenic or may come from novel sources.
You cannot completely prevent pancreatitis, but doing these methods might help avoid or reduce the risk of developing the said medical condition:
- Keep your cat nearest to his ideal weight as much as possible.
- Non-prescribed medications should be avoided as they might increase inflammation.
- Be extra careful when using pesticides for it may contain toxins that will trigger the disease.
Pancreatitis is a serious medical condition that should not be overlooked. The cost, recovery time, and life expectancy of a cat with pancreatitis are not specifically determined but are most likely dependent on the severity of the disease.
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