Pancreatitis is characterized by inflammation of the pancreas. It can happen suddenly or acutely, as well as chronically over longer periods of time. Pancreatitis can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, such as:



Pancreatitis can be challenging to diagnose. A CT scan is the gold standard in humans, but it has proven less useful in cats and dogs. As the signs of pancreatitis are rather vague and can mimic other disease processes, your veterinarian will likely recommend:


If an underlying cause is evident, such as an infection, treatment is generally geared toward resolving the underlying cause, in addition to providing supportive care. In cases where no underlying cause is evident, or there is no specific treatment, supportive care is the only treatment available. Some cases can be managed on an outpatient basis with diet, anti-nausea medications, and pain relief, while severe cases may require hospitalization.


For pets prone to pancreatitis or with a history of previously diagnosed pancreatitis, a long-term veterinary therapeutic or prescription diet that is highly digestible and low in fat may be necessary to prevent a recurrence.