Tom diagnosed with pancreatitis

Tom is a 14 year old cat who was in our hospital recently. He had been off-colour, inappetant (very unusual for Tom) and reluctant to move around. Clinical examination is difficult with Tom as he is not too fond of vets. He was, however, lethargic, dehydrated and painful in his adbomen.

Often pets will present unwell, and their clinical signs are very non specific and can be attributed to a lot of different conditions. For example, there are lots of reasons a cat will not eat. Some reasons may be they can't smell their food, they may have gastroenteritis, a foreign body could be stuck in the bowel, they may have a fever, a urinary tract infection, liver or kidney disease, they may be in pain for arthritis, or have an abscess or even cancer.

If there are no other obvious signs on clinical examination, further testing would be required in order to determine the problem. Blood and urine samples were taken from Tom for testing. The results revealed that Tom had a disease called pancreatitis. A very specific blood test called feline pancreatic lipase is the only way to accurately diagnose this disease.

In cats with pancreatitis we can see very variable signs, lethargy, poor appetite and dehydration are common, we may or may not have a high or low body temperature, yellow gums and eyes (jaundice) are sometimes seen as are vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea. It can occur as a one off condition, or it may be a recurring one.

Treatment is aimed at supportive care, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, vitamin supplements, pain relief and a low fat diet. So far Tom is doing well and he is back home. His owners are continuing to look after him at home and we will be keeping a close eye on him.

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