Managing Feline Pancreatitis Pain With Meperidine

Feline pancreatitis is a condition that occurs due to an inflammation of the pancreas. The feline pancreas functions in two ways. It provides essential enzymes for the digestion of food and it also produces insulin. When feline pancreatitis occurs, the pancreas activates enzymes in the pancreas itself, which leads to its self-digestion. Once this takes place, cats will start to show symptoms of the condition.

Although several tests are used to diagnose pancreatitis, the diagnosis may often be late or tentative. The treatment depends on the severity of pancreatitis, the number of organs involved and underlying illnesses that the pet may be suffering from.

Meperidine as a Pain Killer

Meperidine is a synthetic opiate analgesic that's used to relieve pain in cats suffering from pancreatitis. The duration of the drug is 1 to 2 hours in cats administered clinical doses. Meperidine is used as a sedative or analgesic to treat pain due to acute pancreatitis, burns and operations. Although meperidine drugs, such as Demerol, are used to treat chronic pain conditions, the drugs may not be safe for use in all pets and the side effects could be severe.

Risks of Using Meperidine in Pets:

  • Meperidine cannot be used in cats that have sensitivity to the drug.
  • Meperidine is known to cause constriction of the airways, which leads to difficulty breathing.
  • It can cause convulsions in cats if administered in high dosages.
  • Meperidine causes bradycardia.

Along with these side effects, meperidine shouldn't be prescribed along with certain medications. In general, pain killers such as meperidine are administered at vet hospitals. It's dosed at 1 to 5 mg per pound of body weight as an intravenous or intramuscular medication. Meperidine is also available in tablet and syrup form. Avoid stopping the medication without completion of the course, unless directed by the vet.

Drug Interactions of Meperidine Include:

  • Sedatives
  • Narcotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Nervous system depressants
  • Anesthetics

Feline Pancreatitis Treatment

Cats suffering from pancreatitis are often given medication to reduce vomiting. The most common treatment is withholding food and water. The pet will be given intravenous fluids to maintain adequate electrolytes. After a few days, the cat will be fed bland food that's easily digested in the intestinal tract. The treatment is also based on the cause of pancreatitis. If the condition is caused by a medical reaction, the suspected medicine will be discontinued.

Mild cases of pancreatitis can be treated successfully, but the chance of recurrence may be high in certain cats. Acute pancreatitis can be fatal and requires early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Although the medication may be expensive and complications such as diabetes are common, dietary changes and nutritional support can bring relief to ailing cats.

Since the cause of acute pancreatitis is not well established, pet owners should adopt preventive measures and feed their pets diets low in fat. It's important to maintain healthy body weight in cats and avoid feeding them table leftovers or treats.