Pancreatitis in cats - Symptoms and treatment

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The feline pancreatitis It is one of the most common diseases in cats and one that most often goes unnoticed. This is because, unlike what happens in dogs, it does not usually develop acutely, but chronically, so that its clinical manifestations do not appear suddenly and are more difficult to detect..

On the other hand, its most representative symptoms, such as thinness and lack of appetite, are common in many diseases of cats, making diagnosis difficult. If you want to know more about this process, in this AnimalWised article we talk about the pancreatitis in cats, its symptoms and its treatment.

You may also be interested in: Pancreatitis in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Index
  1. What is pancreatitis in cats?
  2. Causes of pancreatitis in cats
  3. What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in cats?
  4. Diagnosis
  5. Treatment for pancreatitis in cats

What is pancreatitis in cats?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, a gland that is near the small intestine (in fact, it is partly attached to it) and that fulfills several functions in the body of animals and humans.

On the one hand, it has an endocrine work, producing hormones such as insulin. On the other, it has an exocrine function, by which it is responsible for manufacturing substances that help digest food.

Causes of pancreatitis in cats

Unfortunately, the cause of feline pancreatits does not usually get to know each other irrefutably, although certain toxins present in many insecticides may be involved, and infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses such as feline infectious peritonitis, or parasites, for example Toxoplasma.

It can also be favored by a diet high in fat or by allergic phenomena, without forgetting trauma to the area..

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in cats?

In cats, pancreatitis most commonly results in a exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, that is to say, that the gland does not become able to correctly carry out its work of production of digestive hormones. In these cases we will see slimming, loss of appetite and, less frequently, diarrhea and vomiting.

Although there may be an acute form, pancreatitis in cats is generally a chronic process, and these symptoms may not be very serious and may go unnoticed. Sometimes, recurrent vomiting can be confused with that caused by ingestion of hairballs, something very common in these friendly felines. In addition, in cats pancreatitis can be accompanied by inflammation in the small intestine and in the liver, being detected in those cases jaundice.


To diagnose pancreatitis in cats, the aforementioned symptoms should be studied, inquiring about their duration and trying to guess the possible causes, by asking the owner of the animal. Afterwards, the animal should be subjected to a physical exploration emphasizing the hydration status of the cat, its body condition, the presence of abdominal pain and the color of the mucous membranes, which will be yellowish in cases of jaundice.

To confirm the diagnosis, a blood test including specific markers to detect pancreatitis. Blood tests are also of great help to know the general state of health of the cat and of other organs that may be affected in cases of pancreatitis, such as the liver..

The ultrasound is much more useful than radiography in these cases, and can reveal the inflamed pancreas of the cat, confirming the diagnosis.

Treatment for pancreatitis in cats

In acute cases, as well as in the most serious, the first thing is to stabilize the patient. Since one of the tasks of the pancreas is to collaborate in the digestion of food, it could be thought that fasting could be indicated in these early stages so as not to overload the pancreas with work, but it is not. In cats, a prolonged fasting can lead to serious problems in the liver and, in addition, patients with this condition usually have a poor body condition, so a food restriction carries a serious risk of malnutrition. Although it is true that in cases of acute pancreatitis, which is much more common in dogs than in cats, a solid fast is necessary, this is accompanied by intravenous administration of serum.

On the other hand, depriving cats with pancreatitis of water is an unforgivable mistake that could end the life of the animal. If the cat vomits while drinking, antiemetics should be given to avoid it or use intravenous serum.

In any case, the diet for cats with pancreatitis must be easily digested, with wet foods specifically indicated that can even be administered through a tube. Opioid pain relievers may also be provided to reduce the animal's pain..

After these first moments, or in cats with chronic pancreatitis in which the symptoms do not cause fear for the life of the cat in the short term, treatment for feline pancreatitis is based on diet. This must be easily digestible and low in fat, there are commercial diets specially formulated for cats with this pathology. Vitamin supplements are also recommended, with products rich in vitamin B12 being especially useful..

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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