Things going along great with kitty until all of a sudden many things are wrong! Feline pancreatitis has no easy cure.
By Claude West (Cat Man)
What the heck is feline pancreatitis and what just happened to my cat? Seems even the veterinarian cannot exactly explain what or why. This condition usually exists when there are other compromised medical conditions with kitty. There may be an ongoing infection in the intestines or condition with the liver at the same time. Making a diagnosis with just a physical examination difficult.
The pancreas is a small organ tucked under the beginning of the small intestine. Its purpose is to:
- Produce hormones like insulin to regulate blood sugar level.
- Digestive Enzymes that help reduce food to simple usable compounds.
It is the second function releasing digestive enzymes into the small intestine that usually is the cause of an inflamed pancreas. Several specific blood tests along with ultrasound imaging have proven valuable in diagnosis of pancreatitis.
Here is Dr. Karen Becker from Mercola.com providing additional information about this disease.
Causes of pancreatitis are under investigation. Pathology indicates the digestive enzymes have leaked back inside the pancreas after they were activated. Thus causing inflammation to the organ.
Some events that may cause feline pancreatitis:
- The presence of inflammatory bowel disease due to food allergens, bacteria or virus.
- Pancreatic stress due to over stimulation and secretion of digestive enzymes.
- Certain disease infections such as toxoplasmosis or feline distemper.
- Treatment with certain medications such as steroids.
- Abdominal trauma from an accident.
- Exposure to organophosphate insecticides commonly used around the house.
Often no underlying cause for feline pancreatitis is ever uncovered. What we are feeding our pets all their life could be the root cause. Cats in the wild do eat a variable diet of small mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles as well as some plants and grasses.
Most commercial pet food contains allergenic ingredients:
- Overcooked proteins from diseased animals, road killed animals and euthanized animals rendered into meat or protein meals.
- Poor protein sources such as chicken beaks and feet.
- Vegetable and grain proteins used to substitute meat proteins such as soy, wheat, rice, and corn meal.
- Artificial food colors such as Red 40 and preservatives like BHT.
Processed food not being natural may cause the pancreas to secrete more digestive enzymes than a normal wild diet causing stress and inflammation to the pancreas. A prolonged chronic condition could cause the pancreas to stop making insulin and then cause a diabetic condition.
Here are some of the usual symptoms your pet may have with feline pancreatitis:
- They become lethargic and often do not open their eyes completely and stare off in space for long periods.
- Decrease in appetite to a point of refusing to eat.
- Nausea and vomiting (more so in dogs than cats).
- Diarrhea (more so in dogs than cats).
A fever is not often associated with the symptoms but could have a fever due to the other conditions besides the inflamed pancreas.
What to do should you do if your cat has pancreatitis? Depending on the severity of the disease and the cat may have to receive IV fluids and antibiotics while staying in the clinic until stabilized before going home. The veterinarian will also recommend a lower in fat diet because studies have shown that a high fat diet causes the pancreas to work harder.
Here is my recommendation for long-term care:
- Low Fat diet temporarily until the cat is stable with the intention to convert to a quality protein diet. Lay off dry cat food and feed only wet cat food.
- Convert to a more natural diet that a cat in the wild would consume such as homemade raw chicken or turkey with supplements.
- Give kitty pet probiotics and enzymes which will relieve the pancreas and promote healing. Here is the best source of probiotics and enzymes for pets.
- There are some commercial alternatives such as frozen raw such as Rad Cat or dehydrated such as Stella and Chewy’s.
Immediately start helping the pancreas by supplementing the cat food with pet probiotics and enzymes. The objective is to stabilize the pancreas and help it with the work load. The supplements will give the pancreas some down time to heal. I recommend continuing this though the life of your pet.
The combination of a proper more natural diet such as homemade raw, frozen raw or dehydrated raw diet with supplements will be the long-term therapy your cat will need for recovery from feline pancreatitis.
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