The Diagnosis: Pancreatitis in Cats
Pancreatitis is, by definition, an inflammation of the pancreas. It causes a very painful belly ache and makes cats feel just awful. Sometimes they can even have pain in their hind legs because of it.
No one knows exactly why cats get it, but some veterinary specialists speculate that it may be caused by diet that secretly does not agree with them. Cats can suffer from acute pancreatitis, which can be like a one-time deal of being sick and then recovering. More commonly, cats suffer from low grade chronic pancreatitis which can look like:
- “My cat has always been a picky eater”
- “My cat just vomits for no reason and then goes back to eating”
- “My cat poops little pebbles”
All of these symptoms can be warning signs that the cat may be suffering from pancreatitis. A cat with chronic pancreatitis can have flare-ups that look like acute pancreatitis in cats.
The treatment for pancreatitis depends on the age of the cat and the severity of symptoms, but usually includes pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes a diet change will be necessary, as well. The trouble with diagnosis is that there may be nothing unusual with the routine blood work, and requires some detective work. Most cats recover fully within a week of diagnosis, but for some cats it can take much longer and some cats need to live on medication to prevent or minimize a recurrence. Unfortunately some cats get it so bad that they can die from it, but fortunately this is very rare.