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Pancreatitis in cats2015/01/09

Pancreatitis in cats is a worrying condition. Feline pancreatitis is surrounded by myth and mystery, as many of the symptoms are pretty vague- and even until recently (with the advance of modern ultrasound, and new laboratory tests) diagnosis was difficult


What is pancreatitis?

The pancreas is an organ that lies on the right side of the abdomen next to the stomach. It produces enzymes to assist in food digestion, as well as insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar or glucose metabolism. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the condition is called pancreatitis.

It’s sometimes associated with triaditis- Feline triaditis is the concurrent presence of inflammatory disease of the liver (+/- gall bladder), the pancreas, and the intestines in a cat.


Signs of pancreatitis:

The most common clinical signs include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea and decreased appetite. Unfortunately, many cases of pancreatitis in cats go undiagnosed due to the nonspecific, vague clinical signs.



Recently, a new test for measuring serum pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity (PLI) has become available

for cats and we use this test as part of our diagnostic investigation.



Since the cause of pancreatitis is unknown in most cases, treatment is supportive, i.e., aimed at keeping cats comfortable and eating and not vomiting. Cats with pancreatitis will need fluid therapy to maintain adequate hydration. This may be given either subcutaneously or intravenously, depending on how severely the individual patient is affected. In addition, pain medication is critical because a cat in pain will not eat, and the cat needs to eat to stay strong and get better.



Many cats with pancreatitis do well and recover completely. Some cats, however require long-term treatment, especially when there are additional problems with the liver or gall bladder. Homevet is familiar with treating pancreatitis in cats in Hong Kong, so feel free to contact us for advice.