When To Euthanize A Cat

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Not only is it a painful condition for a cat, but it can also be fatal if not treated quickly and effectively.

When To Euthanize A Cat

In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of feline pancreatitis, the treatment options available, and when it might be time to say goodbye.

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Before discussing the details of feline pancreatitis, it is important to first understand the role of the feline pancreas.

Now that you understand the importance of the cat’s pancreas, we can begin to get into the details of pancreatitis itself.

The term pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas organ, which causes a number of dangerous complications.

As we mentioned before, the pancreas is responsible for creating digestive enzymes that help break down food.

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In cats without pancreatitis, these enzymes will be sent directly to the intestines to begin their work.

However, when a cat has pancreatitis, these digestive enzymes can begin to penetrate the pancreas and surrounding tissues.

If these digestive enzymes are prematurely activated by localized inflammation, the enzymes can begin to “digest” any tissue they come in contact with.

This not only causes significant inflammation and pain for the affected cat, but can cause significant damage to the pancreas and surrounding organs.

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Most cases of pancreatitis occur suddenly and without a known trigger, making it difficult to identify the primary source.

Although we do not have an exact answer, there is a list of potential factors that may be behind the development of this condition.

In most cases of feline pancreatitis, it is impossible to determine the exact cause of your acute illness.

Therefore, in addition to treating your cat for this condition, your veterinarian may perform several diagnoses to rule out other complications.

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My cat was diagnosed with pancreatitis a few years ago after a stressful move and I remember the pain she felt every time her belly was touched.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat, we suggest getting it checked out by your vet right away.

There are several diagnostic tools your vet can rely on if they fear pancreatitis in your cat.

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Most vets will usually do both a complete blood count and a rapid pancreatitis test as they can give a full picture of what is going on metabolically.

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A complete blood count can detect any elevated white blood cell count, elevated lipase levels, as well as any liver damage.

The Snap test is a home test that specifically measures pancreatic enzyme levels and will show as normal or abnormal.

This can assess the level of inflammation present in and around the pancreas, as well as whether or not there is bleeding.

Ultrasound is especially common if your cat does not improve after initial treatment or if you have a cat with chronic pancreatitis.

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The main goal is to remove stress from the pancreas and give the organ a rest, allowing the pancreas to stop releasing digestive enzymes.

This means that all food should be withdrawn while your vet stabilizes your cat, who is prone to the painful symptoms caused by his condition.

This will allow your vet to administer IV fluids, IV pain control, antiemetics, antibiotics, and any other supportive care your cat needs.

Once your cat is stabilized and his nausea is under control, your vet can introduce a bland diet into his treatment protocol.

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If your cat has only a mild case of pancreatitis, your vet will be comfortable treating it on an outpatient basis.

This usually involves giving you fluids under the skin, giving you an initial injection for nausea and pain control, and sending you home with medications ranging from antiemetics to antidiarrheals.

Your vet will also send you home with a soft diet to offer once your cat has stabilized, and even instructions on how to syringe feed them if necessary.

However, no matter how minor your cat’s case, you can usually expect to offer treatment for at least 7 days.

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This basically means that you may experience occasional episodes of pancreatitis, resulting in the same gastrointestinal upset and pain as before.

Not all cases of chronic pancreatitis will be as severe as their initial illness, but it can still profoundly affect a cat’s quality of life.

Cats with chronic pancreatitis may need prescription gastroprotectors, appetite stimulants, antiemetics, antidiarrheal medications, and pain management for their many attacks.

Some cats will even need to explore immunosuppressive options if their case is severe enough, and many feline friends undergo steroid therapy.

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In cases of chronic pancreatitis, the cat will have to maintain a close relationship with the veterinarian for the rest of its life.

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If the pancreas is damaged by a chronic flare-up of inflammation, some cats will develop diabetes mellitus as a result.

The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin and glucagon, so any decrease in pancreatic function can alter the organ’s ability to produce these hormones.

If this is the case, the cat will need to be treated for diabetes for the rest of its life.

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Leakage of digestive enzymes can cause significant damage to surrounding tissues and organs in some cats, many of which will have difficulty recovering from the damage.

This is especially true for cats who have liver damage as a result of their condition, along with those who have a case of hemorrhagic pancreatitis (bleeding in or around the pancreas).

Some feline friends had to stay in the emergency room where I used to work for up to 7 days because their case was so severe.

If your cat is not responding to treatment no matter how much support is offered, it may be time to discuss quality of life with your veterinarian.

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Some cats will go into shock as a result of dehydration and secondary infections, especially if they do not receive proper medical attention.

Even some hospitalized cats will still succumb to the disease, as it has the potential to cause massive tissue and organ damage.

This is especially common in cats that have other concomitant conditions, ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to diabetes mellitus.

However, it’s important to note that prompt medical attention dramatically improves your cat’s chances of overcoming this painful condition.

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Aggressive medical care cured even the most severe cases, demonstrating how essential medical intervention is to their survival.

That’s why we suggest not only seeing your cat when symptoms develop, but also relying on your vet’s guidance and recommended treatment plan.

If your cat with acute or chronic pancreatitis does not respond to treatment, it can be difficult to know when it has reached the point of suffering.

Letting go is incredibly difficult in these situations, especially when your cat was healthy before this diagnosis.

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You are the one who knows what is normal for your feline friend and can compare their current quality of life to what they lived before.

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If most of his days seem to be filled with painful gastrointestinal symptoms and restlessness, it may be time to discuss euthanasia with your veterinarian.

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your feline companion just yet, your vet may be able to suggest other treatment options that you still need to explore.

If you’re struggling to decide when it’s time to say goodbye to your cat with pancreatitis, you’re certainly not alone.

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Many cats with pancreatitis are unable to recover from their illness, forcing their parents to make this difficult decision.

We know how difficult it can be to determine whether or not your cat is suffering, so below are some signs that your cat is struggling with their condition.

It may be time to euthanize your cat with pancreatitis if it experiences any of the following complications:

If your cat has any of the above complications, it may be time to discuss quality of life with your veterinarian.

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If you have to make this heartbreaking decision, your veterinarian can offer you support as to why this decision was right for your feline friend.

Immediate medical attention is necessary to give your cat the best prognosis, so we suggest contacting your vet as soon as symptoms occur.

Connie is a veterinary technician who loves all beings and all things animal related. She graduated in 2009 from Carrington College in Stockton with an Associate in Veterinary Technology and worked as a veterinarian for 8 years. She does rescue work and volunteers at spay and neuter clinics to help with efforts to reduce overcrowding and strays. In her spare time, Connie enjoys listening to music, cooking and doing various crafts. We use cookies to make them. By using our site, you accept our cookie policy. Cookie settings

This article was co-written by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in

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