Pancreatitis in Cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Pancreatitis in Cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Pancreatitis in Cats

Pancreatitis in cats or the inflammation of the pancreas is a very common gastrointestinal disorder. The pancreas constitutes the part of the endocrine and digestive systems, integral for the digestion of food, enzymes that digest it, and the production of insulin. If the pancreas gets inflamed, this flow of enzymes into the digestive tract becomes disrupted, forcing these enzymes into the abdomen.

These enzymes will break down proteins and fats in other organs of the body. This is how the body begins to eat itself. Because of their close proximity, it affects the liver and the kidney. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, the cat can undergo a shock and even death.

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Causes of pancreatitis in cats

We do not know what are the direct causes of pancreatitis in cats. Some doctors believe that this could be some genetic predisposition causing a defect in an animal’s defense mechanism that causes the pancreas to digest itself.

Others believe that it could be triggered by the ingestion of insecticides or other toxins. Some even believe excess fat in a cat’s diet could be the cause.

Some possible causes for the inflammation of the pancreas are:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver disease
  • Parasitic infection
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Some infections such as toxoplasmosis or feline distemper
  • Diabetes mellitus

When we say that toxins could cause the pancreas to react, we are also referring to venom from an animal, such as a scorpion. Although these are rare and the incidence of getting stung or bitten have to do with geographical location.

It is interesting to note that, unlike dogs, an inflammation in the pancreas is not related to nutritional factors.

Symptoms of pancreatitis in cats

There are several symptoms that may be observed in a cat with pancreatitis:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Labored breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sluggishness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression


The problem with pancreatitis in cats is that its symptoms are very non-specific, this means that they are common to other diseases as well. To diagnose, a full history of the feline will be needed.

Treatment for this is symptomatic and it usually involves pain relief, fluid therapy, medication to control nausea and vomiting, as well as some plasma transfusions.

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