Pancreatitis in cats can have many levels of severity from mild cases where the cat recovers relatively quickly, cases that last for months on end, and cases that prove fatal. However, early recognition and aggressive treatment can be tremendously beneficial. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition and when to euthanize a cat with pancreatitis.
When to euthanize a cat with pancreatitis
The prognosis for cats with pancreatitis is fair to guarded, depending on the severity of the disease. Cats who have a mild disease can often recover with treatment and supportive care; however, those with severe cases rarely recover completely.
When deciding whether or not to put down your cat with pancreatitis, think about their quality of life. If they become very depressed, stop eating and drinking, become dehydrated, lose weight rapidly, and are experiencing severe pain even with pain medications, then this may be an indicator that they are suffering and that euthanasia is the right option for them.
Euthanasia may also be necessary if there are complications with kidney failure or liver failure.
Is pancreatitis in cats painful?
When a cat suffers from pancreatitis, their pancreas becomes inflamed, which causes them a great deal of pain. Some cats will not show any signs of pain or discomfort whatsoever, but others may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If your cat has been diagnosed with pancreatitis, you should contact your veterinarian immediately so that they can treat your pet accordingly.
Can pancreatitis cause organ failure?
In severe cases, acute pancreatitis is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect cats of any age. When the pancreas becomes inflamed due to pancreatitis, digestive enzymes leak out into the body and cause severe damage to other organs, including the liver and kidneys.
How do I know if my cat has pancreatitis?
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of pancreatitis and get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Symptoms of pancreatitis in cats include:
- Weight loss
- Lethargy or depression
How to treat pancreatitis in cats at home
Pancreatitis is a potentially life-threatening disease that can affect both dogs and cats. It’s characterized by inflammation of the pancreas and usually occurs when your pet eats something that upsets the digestive system.
The good news is that most cases of pancreatitis are mild and easy to treat. However, if your cat shows signs of severe pain, vomiting or diarrhea, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Pancreatitis can become life-threatening if it’s left untreated for too long.
Here’s what you can do to help treat pancreatitis in cats at home:
1. Feeding a bland diet
It’s important to feed your cat a bland diet to avoid irritating his stomach further. Stay away from foods with high-fat content and try not to give him anything that might upset his stomach further.
2. Avoid high-fat foods
Avoid feeding your cat high-fat foods — even small amounts may cause pancreatitis-like symptoms in some cats. Instead, feed low-fat commercial diets or canned food with no fat added.
3. Medicating with antibiotics and pain medications
In severe cases where there are bacteria in the bloodstream causing infection, antibiotics may be needed. Your vet will perform blood tests and prescribe an appropriate antibiotic based on what they find out in those tests.
4. Diluting fluids
If your cat seems dehydrated after vomiting repeatedly, you’ll need to give them subcutaneous fluids so they don’t become dangerously dehydrated while they’re sick with pancreatitis.
5. Herbal medicines
Herbs, such as milk thistle, ginger, and turmeric, are natural remedies for treating various conditions, including chronic pain and inflammation associated with pancreatitis. These herbs have been used for centuries and have no side effects when used properly.
Homeopathy is a holistic treatment method that uses small doses of drugs that produce symptoms similar to those being treated but in a more mild form than conventional medications would provide. This type of treatment works well for cats suffering from chronic pain because it does not require any medication or side effects from conventional drugs.
What causes pancreatitis in cats?
Pancreatitis can occur in cats as a result of other diseases or conditions such as diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), pancreatic tumors, and infectious diseases such as FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), liver disease or liver failure, or trauma to the abdomen.
Here are some other causes of pancreatitis:
- Infectious agents like bacteria or viruses
- Exposure to toxins such as lead or insecticides
- Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fats in the blood)
- Trauma to the abdomen or chest that damages the pancreas directly or indirectly (such as from a blunt force injury)
- Congenital defects such as paucity of pancreatic tissue
How to prevent pancreatitis from recurring in cats
If your cat has been diagnosed with feline pancreatitis, it’s important to know how to prevent it from recurring. Here are some ways you can help your cat stay healthy:
- Feed an appropriate diet
- Limit treats and table scraps
- Avoid high-fat foods
- Keep your cat at a healthy weight
In some cases, cats need lifelong medications after recovering from pancreatitis. These drugs help prevent future attacks by lowering the levels of digestive enzymes in their bodies as well as helping prevent anemia (a blood disorder) caused by pancreatic damage.
Conclusion of euthanizing a cat with pancreatitis
The decision to euthanize a cat with pancreatitis is a difficult one for many owners. Some cats have a good prognosis and can be treated with medication, but others have severe disease that does not respond to treatment. If the cat’s quality of life is poor, the owner needs to make the decision about euthanasia.
If you are unsure whether your cat should be euthanized, discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.