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Inflammation of the Pancreas in Cats




Inflammation of the pancreas can often be treated in your veterinarian's office. Treatment for pancreatitis is essentially symptomatic and supportive and involves fluid therapy, pain relief, medications to control nausea and vomiting, antibiotics, and sometimes plasma transfusions. Because of the close association between intestinal inflammation and pancreatitis, your veterinarian may also prescribe a short course of corticosteroids until a final diagnosis can be made. If the inflammation is being caused by a medication your pet is taking, the medication will be withdrawn immediately.


It is important to restrict your cat’s activity level following any treatment to allow for healing. Your veterinarian may need to prescribe fluid therapy during this time to prevent dehydration.


If vomiting is persistent, drugs will be prescribed to help control it, and if your pet is experiencing severe pain, pain relievers can be given. (Pain medication should only be given with supervision from your veterinarian.) It may also be necessary to give your pet antibiotics as a preventive against infection. In some serious cases, surgery will be used to remove any blockage that is causing the inflammation, to remove large accumulations of fluid, or to remove severely damaged tissue.


Your veterinarian will also want to perform occasional in office examinations to ensure that progress is being made towards healing.


Living and Management


Hydration is one of the biggest concerns and should be monitored within 24 hours of therapy, and then until the cat has fully recovered. Because pancreatitis in cats is not related to the fat content of their food, patients do not need to eat low-fat foods either to treat or prevent a relapse of the disease. Cats that do not eat are at high risk for a disease called hepatic lipidosis. So contrary to what is typically done with dogs, most feline patients are not held off food and feeding tubes may be placed in the course of the disease if the cat refuses to eat. 


You are free to offer any type of healthy food your cat will eat, particularly canned (wet) foods, and even high fat foods. 


Here are some things to look for in foods:


  • Easily digestible
  • Moderate levels of protein that come from novel sources or are altered to be hypoallergenic
  • Moderate fat levels
  • Canned, unless the cat will only eat dry




While these preventative measures will not ensure that your cat does not develop this inflammation, they may help to avoid the medical condition. These measures include:


  • A reduction in the cat's weight (if it is overweight), and proper on-going weight management
  • Keeping your cat as close to its ideal weight as possible
  • Avoidance of drugs that may increase inflammation


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