The job of the pancreas is to produce digestive enzymes and secrete hormones used in the metabolic process. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, and when inflamed, the digestive enzymes break away causing damage to the pancreas and the liver.
When a dog has pancreatitis he will show signs of illness that make it obvious to his owner that something is wrong - usually vomiting and abdominal pain. The symptoms in cats however are more mild, easy to miss or be mistaken for something else.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Cats
The most common signs in a cat are lethargy and lack of appetite. However if you are a cat owner you know that cats often sleep and lounge all day and are picky eaters and it is for this reason that cat owners don't sense that something is wrong until it's too late.
Causes of the Disease
Although high in debate, traditional veterinarians tend to believe there is nothing specific that causes this disease in most pets. However, recent studies have shown that in a small percentage of pets pancreatitis has been linked to trauma of the pancreas, viral or parasitic infection, and exposure to organophosphates, which is a toxin commonly found in pesticides. Some medications are also considered to be the culprit of pancreatitis such as; Phenobarbital, Prednisone, other catabolic steroids, and Diuretic drugs.
Dr. Karen Becker tells me that in her experience the majority of cats with pancreatic illness first develop inflammation in their GI tract. You may be familiar with some of these conditions such as gastritis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Becker goes further into detail by saying that the underlying reason for a vast majority of GI tract inflammation in pets is food allergies.
Processed Pet Food and Pancreatitis
A majority of commercial cat food contains allergenic ingredients that a cat's GI tract objects to over time. If you're feeding him the same food 365 days a year, it is possible the cat can developed an allergy to the protein source in the food. Once again, we hear and read about the many evils of processed pet food, which is why pet wellness practices steer pet owners away from processed foods and closer to raw food diets and natural pet health care.
Another problem with processed pet food is it's lack of natural enzymes, which are biologically appropriate for your pet. Biologically appropriate food supplements the enzymes produced by the pet's body which reduces pancreatic stress. When a cat is fed only processed food, over time the cat's pancreas can develop chronic inflammation and stress from over working to produce the enzymes needed to digest it's meals.
The carbohydrate-dense ingredients in most commercial pet foods require high levels of insulin to process. This is also extremely taxing to the pancreas because the other job of the pancreas is to secrete insulin. When a cat's pancreas is over worked and can no longer do its job well, the result is pancreatitis.
Pet Wellness Advice: If Your Cat Has Been diagnosed with Pancreatitis
If your cat is vomiting, sluggish and shows loss of appetite or fever, it is imperative that you seek veterinary attention for your cat. Do not just assume this is a cat's normal behavior. Dr. Becker suggests the cat owner seek the professionalism of an integrative or holistic vet in order to best manage your cat's condition and get him back to good health.
Cat owners should also seriously consider their cat's diet and type of food intake. Turning their meals into natural / raw food is something many pet owners are taking on these days, and with the information we have on store bought pet food and pancreatitis, amongst many other various issues, utilizing the impact of natural pet health care is highly advised.
When your cat's pancreatic situation is stabilized, one of the best things you can do to reduce the risk of another flare up is to supplement his diet with digestive enzymes. You can do this by providing the cat a constant supply of enough digestive enzymes to help him process the food he consumes in order to reduce the workload on the pancreas and reduce organ stress.
a. The pet owner can feed him pancreatic tissue, an option that is quite unappealing to most pet owners.
b. The pet owner can add a digestive enzyme supplement to his cats' meals.
When it comes to domesticated companion animals the best pet wellness practice is to feed a raw diet and practice natural pet health care. There is no way however to provide these pets with the same level of naturally occurring enzymes they would find if they were feeding in the wild, so any domesticated pet can be enzyme deficient and requires a supplement in their daily meals.
Unfortunately, pancreatitis often reoccurs. It's a serious disease that can result in complications like diabetes, hepatic lipidosis, bleeding and clotting disorders, and even brain damage. For these reasons Dr. Becker suggests pet wellness practices be put into action by working with a holistic vet and use natural pet health care to keep your cat strong and healthy and to prevent reoccurring pancreatitis. She also recommends you give your cat a high quality probiotic and transition him to a carb and grain free protein diet to reduce the risk of future episodes of cat pancreatitis.