Just like dogs and humans, cats get their own version of pancreatitis, known as feline pancreatitis. While basically the same disease, an inflammation of the pancreas, feline pancreatitis does not necessarily show itself via the same symptoms that are present in other animals.
For instance, one of the symptoms of pancreatitis in both dogs and humans is nausea and vomiting. But, it is rare that a cat with feline pancreatitis has this symptom. Cats also do not necessarily have diarrhea, another common symptom. The symptoms that cats do have, such as lethargy and no appetite, can apply to many other diseases in addition to feline pancreatitis. Some cats may have abdominal pain or a high temperature but others do not.
The pancreas is an abdominal organ which produces hormones, one of which is insulin, which is needed to regulate blood sugar levels. It also produces enzymes which are used in digesting food. Pancreatitis, when severe, can damage other internal organs, and even cause death if not treated soon enough.
Feline pancreatitis needs to be diagnosed properly before any treatment can begin. This means if your cat has symptoms of pancreatitis, he needs to be taken to a veterinarian immediately. They will perform blood and urine tests, do a physical examination, and if pancreatitis is still suspected, perform a pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity test. Chances are, the sample will need to be sent away for this test, as very few vets have the capacity to do it themselves.
The causes of feline pancreatitis can be any number of things, such as medications, insecticides, infections, trauma, shock, abdominal surgery, other bowel diseases, or maybe even genetics. Scientists have identified patterns that indicate that Siamese and domestic short hair cats develop this disease more often than other breeds.
If your cat is diagnosed with feline pancreatitis, the first goals will be to hydrate, stop vomiting if it is present, control pain and give nutrients. In some cases, food and water will be not given for a twenty-four hour period and then they will start out with a small amount of food, increasing it more each day as the cat continues to improve.
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