Pancreatitis is hard to definitively diagnose in cats. Therefore, it is not as well described as pancreatitis in dogs. Acute pancreatitis seems to be rare in cats but pancreatitis does seem to occur chronically in cats, probably much more often than we realize.
Pancreatitis in cats is signaled by a reluctance to eat, vomiting, jaundice
and weight loss. There is an
association between feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and chronic pancreatitis in cats so an effort to
discern if this is a problem may be a good idea. Toxoplasmosis has also been implicated as a possible contributing factor in chronic pancreatitis in cats so testing for this may also be worthwhile, especially since it is more treatable than FIP.
During the acute illness it can be beneficial to use pain relieving
medications. Pancreatitis is pretty
painful in dogs and they seem to do much better with pain relief. It is likely the same is true in cats. The use of Fentanyl (Rx) patches has made chronic pain relief easier to accomplish in cats. If there are signs of dehydration or lethargy it is probably beneficial to use intravenous or subcutaneous fluid
therapy (there is some indication that IV fluids are better in these types of illnesses). If the pancreatitis is causing a cat not to eat it may be necessary to use parenteral feeding techniques such as a feeding tube surgically implanted into the intestines after the portion which the pancreas empties into.
This is a tough condition to deal with. Low fat diets are supposed to
be helpful for long-term control. If your cat will accept a lower fat diet
this would be a good thing to consider.
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