Aging Pets Need Special Care

Understanding Feline Pancreatitis

If you have a beloved feline as a companion animal, then you may want to make sure that your cat stays healthy and happy. Regular veterinary visits are necessary, and you also may need to watch out for some signs that your cat is becoming ill. There are a variety of common ailments that you need to be concerned about, and these illnesses do have some specific symptoms that you need to look out for. Pancreatitis is one such disease, so keep reading to learn what it is and also what the symptoms are. 

What Is Feline Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a medical condition that involves the swelling of the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that releases enzymes into the small intestine to assist with digestion. The organ also releases insulin into the bloodstream so that blood sugar levels can be controlled. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the digestive enzymes are stopped from entering the intestinal tract. Instead, they are forced to exit the pancreas and flow into the abdominal cavity. The enzymes work on the fats and proteins that make up the organs in the same manner as they do the foods that work their way through the intestines. As the enzymes act, they cause tissue damage. As the ailment progresses, the organs can begin to bleed into the abdomen and cause an infection or shock issue.

In addition to the improper release of enzymes, insulin production is affected as well. This can cause blood sugar levels to rise substantially. Your feline may then develop diabetes either temporarily or permanently. If the issue is not addressed quickly, then your feline may go into diabetic shock. 

What Are The Symptoms Of The Ailment?

There are several symptoms that you may notice when your cat develops pancreatitis. However, the symptoms are not specific to the pancreas issue. This means that you will need to see your veterinarian so a full health assessment can be completed. Some of the more common symptoms include weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, and fatigue.

The issue will also cause a fever. Cats typically have normal temperatures between 100.4 and 102.5, so a temperature above 102.5 is considered a fever. While temperatures taken rectally are the most accurate, this is often unpleasant for both you and your feline. Consider purchasing and using a pet ear thermometer to keep check on your cat's temperature instead. 

You should understand that there are certain causes of pancreatitis. The causes can help you to understand if your cat may be suffering from the ailment. If your feline has inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes, then pancreatitis can occur as well. Bodily infections can cause the disease too, and so can the use of certain types of insecticides. Trauma to the abdominal region can damage the pancreas and lead to swelling also.

What Are The Treatments For Pancreatitis?

Once your veterinarian identifies the pancreas issue, your cat can be treated for the ailment. Treatments are not typically aggressive and involve minimal medication. If an infection is noted, then antibiotics are given. Also, insulin may be needed to keep diabetes under control, and platelets may be needed if there is an internal injury. 

Fluid therapy is usually provided as well, and steroids may be needed to reduce the inflammation. If steroids are provided, then they will typically need to be provided to your feline until the pancreas returns to its normal size. Imaging tests will be used to investigate the issue and to look at the pancreas and its size. If the problem is a chronic one, then you may need to change your cat's diet. Foods that are easy to digest and low in fat are typically needed.

For more information, contact a vet center such as Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital.