Feline Pancreatitis – Causes

Pancreatitis in cats may be caused by several factors.  Here are some to consider: 

1)  Inflammatory Bowel Disease – It is thought that bacteria migrate into the pancreas, triggering an infection which leads to inflammation.
2)  Trauma – When I interned at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, I saw several cats develop pancreatitis after falling out of their high-rise apartment windows.  Now I see it develop occasionally after cats are hit by a car.
3)  Toxin exposure, especially organophosphates used in the garden as insecticides. 
4)  Other reported causes that I have yet to observe – Feline distemper, toxoplasmosis and drug induced although this seems to occur more frequently in dogs on azathioprine.  

The really frustrating thing about pancreatitis is that I often never find a definitive cause.  I personally think it is most often related to diet, especially the long-term use of high carbohydrate, grain based diets.  Hopefully research will provide answers soon.       

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.