Pancreatitis involves an inflammation of the pancreas.
The pancreas sits next to the duodenum and secretes enzymes into the intestine that break down food.
What triggered the inflammation in the pancreas can not always be determined. Possible causes can be intake of fatty foods, drugs or other substances. Cats can develop chronic pancreatitis. It is relatively common for the affected cat to also have liver problems, inflammation of the bile system and intestinal inflammation.
Typical symptoms in a cat with pancreatitis are vomiting, abdominal pain and decreased appetite. The problems usually come on the sly.
Diagnosis is made using blood tests to measure the presence of pancreatic enzymes in the blood. There is a rapid test for this that can be performed at many clinics. Pancreatitis can often also be detected by an ultrasound examination of the abdomen.
The treatment is supportive in the form of drip and pain relief in the acute stage. An easily digestible diet with a good energy content is preferable. The amount of pancreatic enzyme is measured on return visits to see how the injury heals.
Many cats with chronic inflammation of the pancreas also have a deficiency of vitamin B. This can be treated with cobalamin tablets.
The appetite is often affected and nausea can occur in these cats which can be treated medically.