Pancreatitis is a problem associated with the gastro intestinal tract, and has to do with the pancreas becoming inflamed.
Studies have shown that Pancreatitis has started increasing in cats, and this is going undetected in most cats, because of a lack of a specific and a sensitive test to absolutely confirm the instance of the disease, as well as a general lack of awareness of pancreatitis that occurs in cats, because the symptoms can mostly disguise as a normal condition.
What is the role of the pancreas in a cat?
For cats, the pancreas serves a double purpose. Firstly, it serves as an ‘endocrine’ organ, meaning that it is responsible for the production of hormones that help in keep the body’s functionality regulated.
Australian based vet The Pet Practice said that the most famous of these hormones is called insulin, which helps to keep the sugar levels in the blood under check. The pancreas also serves the purpose of being an ‘exocrine’ organ, meaning that it helps to produce enzymes which help food to get digested properly in the digestion system of the cat. There are many reasons why the pancreas cannot function properly and these lead to severe ailments in the later stage.
For cats though, we do not know the exact reason as to why they get pancreatitis. There are many possible causes though – infection, parasites, severe trauma and other reasons can result in the cat starting to suffer with pancreatitis, and for the most part, no single reason is responsible for this.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis in a cat?
There are no clear symptoms of pancreatitis in a cat, and they vary from case to case. They are however very different from the symptoms that dogs suffer. For dogs suffering with pancreatitis, you might expect to see them vomiting and showing signs of pain in the stomach. But with cats, the symptoms might manifest as a loss of appetite, weight loss, laziness, dehydration as well as diarrhea.
With dogs, pancreatitis happens as a one-off event, that usually reverses itself after the offending issue is eliminated – but with cats, this happens on a regular basis, and this can sometimes spiral way out of control. The reason that it is so tough to diagnose pancreatitis in a cat is because the symptoms are so similar to the symptoms for other diseases as well.
What can you do if your feline pet is suffering symptoms similar to the ones described above?
Firstly, you should take your pet to a good veterinary doctor who will be able to provide their expert advice and help you get an accurate diagnosis of your cat’s condition. There are a bunch of tests that can be performed on your pet to get the correct diagnosis.
The most promising of them is the test which measures PLI which is the serum pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity. This indicator has been shown to be proportional to the occurrence of pancreatitis in a cat. Make sure that you keep medication as well as antibiotics on hand, in case of an emergency.