Q: Your pre-Thanksgiving column discussed pancreatitis in dogs. Do cats get it, too?

A: Yes, cats can also get inflammation of the pancreas. However, the condition in cats often looks very different. Dogs most frequently develop acute pancreatitis with a sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain. In cats, the condition is likely to be more chronic and subtle. It may involve vomiting, diarrhea, and/or weight loss. Symptoms can be intermittent or continuous. It also may occur together with inflammatory conditions of the liver and/or small intestines.

Diagnosing pancreatitis in cats can be challenging. The best way is to run a specialized blood test from a cat who has been fasted for twelve hours. Treatment typically involves therapeutic diets and might require oral medications. If your cat has vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are many conditions that can cause those symptoms, but pancreatitis is certainly one of them.