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Pancreatitis in cats – Symptoms and treatment

La feline pancreatitis It is one of the most common diseases in cats and most often goes unnoticed. This is because, unlike what happens in dogs, it does not usually develop acutely, but chronically, so that its clinical manifestations do not appear suddenly and are more difficult to detect.

On the other hand, its most representative symptoms, such as thinness and lack of appetite, are common in many diseases of cats, making diagnosis difficult. If you want to know this process better, in this article we talk about the pancreatitis in cats, their symptoms and their treatment.

What is pancreatitis in cats?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, a gland that is near the small intestine (in fact, it is partly attached to it) and that fulfills several functions in the organism of animals and humans.

On the one hand, it has an endocrine task, producing hormones such as insulin. On the other, it has an exocrine function, which is responsible for making substances that help digest food.

Causes of pancreatitis in cats

Unfortunately, the cause of feline pancreatitis it is not usually known irrefutably, although certain toxins present in many insecticides may be involved, and infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses such as feline infectious peritonitis, or parasites, for example Toxoplasma

It can also be favored by a diet high in fat or by allergic phenomena, without forgetting the traumatisms in the area.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in cats?

In cats, the most common is that pancreatitis derives in a exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, that is to say, that the gland does not get to be able to correctly carry out its work of production of digestive hormones. In these cases we will see thinning, loss of appetite and, less frequently, diarrhea and vomiting.

Although there may be an acute form, in general, pancreatitis in cats is a chronic process, and these symptoms may not be very serious and go unnoticed. Occasionally, recurrent vomiting can be confused with those caused by the ingestion of hairballs, something very common in these cute felines. In addition, in cats pancreatitis can be accompanied by inflammation in the small intestine and in the liver, detecting in those cases jaundice.


To diagnose pancreatitis in cats, the aforementioned symptoms should be studied, inquiring about the duration of them and trying to guess the possible causes, by asking the owner of the animal. Afterwards, it is convenient to subject the animal to a physical exploration emphasizing the state of hydration of the cat, its body condition, the presence of abdominal pain and the color of the mucous membranes, which will be yellowish in cases of jaundice.

To confirm the diagnosis, a blood test including specific markers to detect pancreatitis. Blood tests are also helpful to know the general health of the cat and other organs that may be affected in cases of pancreatitis, such as liver.

La ultrasound It is much more useful than radiography in these cases, and may reveal the inflamed pancreas of the cat, confirming the diagnosis.

Treatment for pancreatitis in cats

In acute cases, as well as in the most serious, the first thing is to stabilize the patient. Since one of the tasks of the pancreas is to collaborate in the digestion of food, it could be thought that fasting could be indicated in these early stages so as not to overload the working pancreas, but this is not the case. In cats, a Prolonged fasting can cause serious problems in the liver and, in addition, patients with this condition usually have a poor body condition, so a restriction of food carries a serious risk of malnutrition. Although it is true that in cases of acute pancreatitis, which is much more common in dogs than in cats, a fasting of solids is necessary, this is accompanied by the administration of intravenous serum.

On the other hand, depriving cats of water with pancreatitis is an unforgivable mistake that could end the life of the animal. If the cat vomits when drinking, antiemetics should be provided to avoid it or to use intravenous serum.

In any case, the diet for cats with pancreatitis should be easily digested, there are specific moist foods that can be administered, even by means of a probe. Opiate analgesics can also be provided to reduce the animal’s pain.

After these first moments, or in cats with chronic pancreatitis in which the symptoms do not cause fear for the life of the cat in the short term, The treatment for feline pancreatitis is based on diet. This must be easily digestible and low in fat, there are commercial diets specially formulated for cats with this condition. Vitamin supplements are also recommended, and products rich in vitamin B12 are especially useful.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pancreatitis in cats – Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter in our section of Other health problems.

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