Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Inflammation of the Pancreas in Cats

ADVERTISEMENT

Pancreatitis in Cats

 

The pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system, which is integral for the digestion of foods, producing the enzymes that digest food, and producing insulin. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the flow of enzymes into the digestive tract can become disrupted, forcing the enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area.

 

If this occurs, the digestive enzymes will begin to break down fat and proteins in the other organs, as well as in the pancreas. In effect, the body begins to digest itself. Because of their proximity to the pancreas, the kidney and liver can also be affected when this progression takes place, and the abdomen will become inflamed, and possibly infected as well. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock, and even death can follow.

 

Inflammation of the pancreas (or pancreatitis) often progresses rapidly in cats, but can often be treated without any permanent damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-term without treatment, severe organ, and even brain damage can occur.

 

Pancreatitis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

 

Symptoms

 

There are a variety of symptoms that may be observed in cats, including:

 

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Weight loss (more common in cats)
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

 

Causes

 

There are several possible causes of inflammation to the pancreas. Some of them are:

 

  • Concurrent inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease. The combination of inflammatory disease of the liver, pancreas, and intestines is so common in cats that it has its own name — "triaditis." It is safe to assume that most cats diagnosed with one of these conditions have some degree of the other two as well.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Certain types of infections (e.g., toxoplasmosis or feline distemper)
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Exposure to organophosphate insecticides

 

One other suspected cause, rare because of its geographical probability, is scorpion stings. The venom from a scorpion can cause the pancreas to react, leading to inflammation.

 

Unlike with dogs, inflammation of the pancreas is not related to nutritional factors in cats. In many cases, no underlying cause for pancreatitis can be determined.

 

Although pancreatitis can occur in any animal breed, it has been found to occur more frequently with cats, specifically the Siamese cat. Inflammation of the pancreas is also more common in females than in males, and more common in elderly cats.

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will check for the presence of gallstones, and for a condition referred to as reflux. A full blood work up will be ordered to see if there are any nutrient imbalances, and X-ray imaging will be used to look for evidence of any blunt damage to the pancreas. Pancreatic and liver enzymes will be measured to analyze for increases of either in the bloodstream. Insulin will me measured to check for normal levels, since inflammation can cause insulin producing cells in the pancreas to be damaged, possibly leading to diabetes.

 

In some cases, an ultrasound will be performed to look for mass tissue growths, cysts, or abscesses in the body. A needle biopsy may also be taken along with the ultrasound.

 

The results of specific tests for pancreatitis (fPLI or SPEC-FPL) can diagnose many cases of feline pancreatitis, but sometimes exploratory surgery is necessary.

 

Comments  0

Leave Comment

Sign up for the Cat Care Journal

Monthly expert tips and stage-by-stage advice to help care for your cat.

By subscribing you agree to receive special offers from Pet360 Inc and Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the makers of ARM & HAMMERTM.

Cat Care Questions
Answered By

Q. Why do kittens meow?

A. The truth of the matter is there isn't one clear answer. However, many experts agree...

Read More
Q. Why do kittens purr?

A. A kitten's purr is another complex emotional signal that is designed to communicate...

Read More
Q. Should I speak to my kitten?

A. Yes, by all means, please do. The happiest kittens are those that feel like part...

Read More
View All the Questions

Featured Breed

Alya

Savannah Cat

Featuring Alya
The Savannah is an unusual, exotic breed of domestic cat that looks much like its ancestor, the African Serval, but is smaller in size. One of the features that make this breed so unique...

LEARN MORE