What is feline pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis in cats is an inflammation of the pancreas, and the cause is not really known. The pancreas is an organ that makes chemicals needed by the cat's body to function properly. These are used to digest food, among other things. In pancreatitis, these chemicals seem to malfunction and cause the inflammation.

   

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What are the symptoms?

Problems with the pancreas will cause several other problems in the body as these important chemicals are no longer produced. These can include feline jaundice, which is identifiable by a yellowing of the cat's skin, frequent vomiting by the cat, a loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, diarrhea, and sometimes your cat may run fevers.

It is hard to diagnose pancreatitis in cats, so your vet may have to run some tests and even then may not be 100% sure that it is the cause.

What is the treatment?

Treatment depends on how bad it has gotten. In the initial stages, the treatment is usually dietary. Some vets recommend just switching to a low-fat diet. Another common treatment is to basically shut down the cat's digestive system by feeding it through an IV. This is to give the pancreas time to heal without having to shoulder its normal workload. Finally, there are drugs such as Reglan that are sometimes given to soothe their digestive systems and prevent inflammation. The vet will need to make a judgment call about how severe it has gotten and choose a treatment accordingly.

If it has not yet gotten too severe, most cats recover from it very well, with feline diabetes and the possibility of recurrence being the only long term risk. If the cat has gotten into the final stages and has very severe symptoms, it is more iffy and in many cases the cats will not recover.

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