Feline Pancreatitis Prognosis

Feline pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas and affects cats of any age or breed. The disease will be difficult to detect due to the symptoms that are non specific. Pancreatitis is also difficult to diagnose. The outlook for cats with a pancreas inflammation may depend on the severity of the disease. Pancreatitis in cats can be acute or chronic.

Causes of Pancreatitis

The pancreas is an organ that is located near to the stomach and the intestines. The pancreas is both an endocrine and an exocrine organ; it produces insulin and digestive enzymes.

There is no determined cause for pancreatitis in cats. Infections with viruses, parasites or toxoplasmosis may be considered possible causes.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis

The clinical signs of pancreatitis will include:

  • Lack of activity
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Abdominal pain due to fluid accumulation in the area
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • General state of weakness
  • Shock, in rare cases
  • Respiratory problems, in rare cases
  • Jaundice, if the liver is affected

Treatment Options

The diagnosis of the pancreatitis may be difficult, as there is no test to determine an inflammation of the pancreas. Blood tests, a tissue biopsy, ultrasounds and x-rays can be used to diagnose pancreatitis. The vet should also perform additional tests to see if the disease has created complications.

The treatment will include fluid therapy as well as dextrose and potassium supplements. The cat may also receive antibiotics and antacids. If vomiting is a symptom, the cat will get anti-vomiting medication. Pain killers should also be administered.

If the cat refuses to eat, he will get food through feeding tubes.

If the condition causes an obstruction of the bile, surgery will be required.

In chronic cases of pancreatitis, diabetes can occur. The vet will establish if insulin shots are recommended or if the condition cannot be treated in a different manner.

Pancreatitis Prognosis

The prognosis for felines with pancreatitis will vary, according to the condition of the cat and on how advanced the disease is.

If the cat displays mild symptoms, he is more likely to respond to treatment and recover. However, there is no guarantee that the condition will not reoccur. The inflammation of the pancreas may become chronic in certain cats.

When the cat has severe symptoms (i.e. shock, low blood glucose, hypothermia or even kidney failure) and the condition is critical, the cat will require hospitalization and extended therapy; the cat may not recover.

Hepatic lipidosis may often occur in cats with advanced pancreatitis and if this is the case, the cat will require extra treatment and nutritional support.

If the pancreatitis is severe or becomes chronic, the cat can develop diabetes mellitus in time. An inflammation of the pancreas will cause damage to the cells that secret insulin in the endocrine pancreas, leading to a high level of blood sugar and diabetes.

If left untreated, the cat may develop symptoms of shock and die suddenly.