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Chronic pancreatitis flareup.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed
Age: 11-15 years
Kasma is currently being treated for chronic pancreatitis...she's been on metronidizone and fromatidine for about a week, prednisone for a few days, and a low-dose liquid cerenia for about a week now, currently taking 0.5 mL every other day (yesterday evening was her last dose). She should be about a 12 pound cat, but over the last three years she's dropped to under 8#'s, prompting the steroids. Over the last few days, the drugs have worked VERY well and she's probably gained about a pound, maybe as much as two. She's a healthy eater, even shen she's not feeling well, but she doesn't process the food- it comes out as diarhea and she seems to be suffering from malabsorption/malnutrition. She eats a combination of raw food and Wellness brand wet cat food. Last night, during the night sometime, she threw up what looks like liquid and her canned cat food. Right now, she's extremely lethargic, her eyes are squinty and a mild discharge is coming from her eyes and nose. She's also huffing a bit every now and then, as if she's trying to clear something from her nose. She hasn't eaten and I haven't given her her morning meds because she's obviously feeling very bad. She's sleeping on my bed, but she seems to be having hiccups or something that makes her stomach sort of kick- mild, no sound or other symptoms. I have a bunch of 0.3mg oral buprenex for when the pancreatitis is causing her pain, and I gave her a dose to help whatever pain she's in question is what do you think this might be and should I risk the stress of an emergency vet, the nearest being over an hour away? She doesn't seem to be in immediate danger, but I don't want to take any chances now that she's finally on the mend from such a long-term illness.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that Kasma is feeling so unwell. Pancreatitis can be very taxing on a cat.

Quite often when a cat has chronic pancreatitis they can have chronic inflammatory bowel disease as well. This can explain the malabsorption problems. Or, it is possible that these problems are connected to the pancreatitis as well.

The treatment that she is on is a typical one for chronic pancreatitis and it sounds like she really was responding well. I find that steroids tend to be very helpful in cases like this.

I get very concerned though when any cat loses their appetite, but even more so when a cat with known pancreatitis issues does not want to eat. It sounds like she is very uncomfortable.

I would not advise waiting in a case like this. It's possible that an emergency vet can administer some subcutaneous fluids and some injectable medications to help get her over this hump. If this is the case, then waiting another 24 hours could be disastrous.

Of course, it is possible that there is something else going on. I have had some patients with what I thought was chronic pancreatitis that ended up having pancreatic cancer or intestinal lymphoma (which is a cancer of the intestines.) It can be very difficult to diagnose these conditions without very expensive tests. My gut instinct though, is that this is probably not cancer seeing as she was responding so well to medications.

You may want to ask your vet about trying Royal Canin gastro food for cats. I have had very good success with using this food pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel issues.

I hope things are ok, and yes, even though it is stressful, I would advise having her seen today.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you. We're leaving now.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Feel free to respond if you have questions after your visit. I pray things go well!

Customer reply:

Actually, can I ask one more quick question...I've been giving her probiotics/enzymes, in the form of Bio Zyme (1/2 tablet 2x a day) could that possibly be causing her distress?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's very unlikely. These are probably doing more good than harm.

Customer reply:

I took her in yesterday, and sure enough you were right-it was a respiratory infection. My vet here in town (whom she saw today, post-emergency visit) tells me there's a virus going around that's been hard on cats. Thank you SO much for the advice, and for the peace of mind it gave me. She's doing MUCH better today, and I'm so relieved it was just a "cold" and very easily treated. It's so hard to know what to do, and when there aren't emergency services locally it's nice to know I have a source of advice to determine if it's worth the stress to pursue out-of-town resources or wait and see! Thank you so, so much!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you so much for the update! I am so glad to hear that this was nothing serious.

I hope Kasma is completely back to normal soon!

Dr. Marie

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.