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Top Companion Anim Med. 2008 Nov;23(4):185-92. doi: 10.1053/j.tcam.2008.08.005.

Current concepts in feline pancreatitis.

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  • 1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.


Pancreatitis is the most common disorder of the exocrine pancreas in cats and is clinically important in this species. Despite that fact, the pathophysiology of feline pancreatitis is poorly understood, and its etiology remains unknown in the majority of cases. Arriving at a clinical diagnosis of feline pancreatitis remains challenging because cats with pancreatitis exhibit mild and nonspecific clinical signs, which account for the low level of suspicion for this disease by veterinary clinicians. In addition, sensitive and specific tests for the diagnosis of feline pancreatitis were, until recently, not available. Suspicion of pancreatitis should be based on a detailed history and physical examination, hematologic, clinicopathologic, and imaging findings. A diagnosis of feline pancreatitis should be confirmed by measurement of feline pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity, abdominal ultrasound, pancreatic cytology, and/or pancreatic histopathology. Serum amylase and lipase concentrations are of no value, whereas feline trypsin-like immunoreactivity concentrations are of limited value for the diagnosis of feline pancreatitis. Abdominal ultrasound may be useful but requires experience, and normal findings do not exclude pancreatitis. Management of pancreatitis is based on supportive therapy and dietary measures. Finally, management of complications and/or concurrent diseases is also crucial in cats with pancreatitis.

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