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Pancreatic Cancer in Cats




If your cat has collapsed, or is suffering from seizures because of an insulinoma, medical emergency treatment usually will consist of an immediate administration of glucose. If you cat collapses or has a seizure at home, corn syrup can be given for a temporary increase in blood sugar levels, but medical attention is needed for this condition, so consulting with your veterinarian is critical. Your veterinarian may also give your cat glucose containing fluids and/or steroids to counteract the insulin effects.


If your cat's health status, along with imaging of the tumor, indicates that potential value can be gained from surgery, removal of the tumor is usually recommended. Hypoglycemia may be resolved by removing the part of the pancreas that has the tumor on it. However, if there is significant metastases or functional tumor cells in the remainder of the pancreas, additional treatment will still be necessary. Likewise, if the tumors are generalized, or there are other health concerns, medical management may be advised as the primary mode of treatment.


Prednisolone is a steroid that stimulates the formation of glucose and is often a cornerstone of medical treatment. Other medications that might be used to treat insulinoma include:


  • Diazoxide
  • Octreotide
  • Glucagon
  • Chemotherapeutic agents, like streptozocin


Dietary management is frequently used in conjunction with other treatments. In fact, you may be able to minimize the amount of medication, or the need for additional treatments, by feeding your cat small, frequent amounts of moderate protein, low sugar foods, and complex carbohydrate rich foods. Clinically, the most important dietary technique is the frequency of the meals. Essentially, this technique is used to limit the fluctuations in insulin that instigate the hypoglycemic episodes. Controlling symptoms of hypoglycemia is ultimately the goal. Your veterinarian will assist you in developing a diet plan for your cat.


Living and Management


Surgery, along with dietary precautions, can dramatically lessen hypoglycemia and insulinoma symptoms for your cat. In many cases continued medical treatment and dietary management will be necessary. Frequent check-ups to determine the progress of this condition and the treatments being used for it will be necessary for managing a recurrence, and for fine tuning the treatment plan.



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