Feline pancreatitis Academic Article uri icon


  • Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can be classified as acute or chronic, depending on the presence of irreversible changes upon histopathologic evaluation. Both acute and chronic pancreatitis can be mild or severe. The etiology of most cases of feline pancreatitis is unknown. Some cases have been associated with severe abdominal trauma, infectious diseases, cholangitis, cholangiohepatitis, and organophosphate and other drug intoxication. Whatever the etiology, trypsinogen is activated within acinar cells, leading to a cascade of activation of other zymogens by trypsin, release of active enzymes into the blood stream, and the synthesis and release of multiple cytokines. All of these factors together lead to abnormalities of the pancreas itself and of distant organs. The clinical presentation of cats with pancreatitis is non-specific. Vomiting and signs of abdominal pain, the clinical signs most commonly observed in humans and dogs with pancreatitis, are uncommonly observed in cats with pancreatitis. Routine laboratory findings are nonspecific, but often show elevations in hepatic enzymes, azotemia, and electrolyte imbalances. Radiographic abnormalities can be present, but are often indistinct and rather subjective. Abdominal ultrasonography is a valuable diagnostic tool in feline patients with pancreatitis. Serum activities of lipase and amylase are of no clinical value in cats suspected of having pancreatitis. However, cats with pancreatitis often have elevated serum concentrations of feline trypsin-like immunoreactivity (fTLI). The goals of management are removal of the inciting cause, providing supportive and symptomatic therapy, careful monitoring to detect systemic complications early, and aggressive intervention against these systemic complications. Fluid therapy, appropriate nutritional support, and analgesia are the mainstay of supportive therapy. The prognosis for feline patients suffering from pancreatitis is dependent on the severity of the condition and on the occurrence of systemic or pancreatic complications.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Steiner, J. M., & Goggerle, U.

complete list of authors

  • Steiner, JM||Goggerle, U

publication date

  • December 1998