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Pancreatitis in a Senior Cat(11)? In Pain?

December 13th, 2012, 07:57 PM
After a few days of frequent vomiting (water/foamy substance) I took my 11 year old (approx) male DSH to the vet. He has now been diagnosed with pancreatitis. He has received a few Sub-Q fluids and two doses of Cerenia to control his vomiting. The vet didn't seem over concerned about his condition and cautioned us to just keep an eye on him to make sure he isnt in pain, I gather pancreatitis can be quite painful.

Here is where I am struggling. I can't tell if he is in pain or not. He is definitely a little more lethargic than normal, but he was never an overly active cat so I'm not sure if thats just because he's feeling under the weather or in significant pain. He's always been extremely cuddly and attached to me and has definitely been very motivated to cuddle lately (he's currently lying in between the computer keyboard and me while I type this. However, we also just returned from a 5 day vacation so I'm not sure if its just him being happy I'm around again.

He doesn't seem to wince or groan if i pick him up or move him around and he doesn't seem to be breathing or walking differently or avoid jumping up/down on counters and tables. He is eating and drinking fairly normally.

I asked the vet for warning signs and they described all this behaviour which is normal behaviour for him. Another one they mentioned was whether or not he was hiding a lot....well since I got him 9 years ago he has made a full time habit out of scouting perfect hiding/sleeping spots otherwise unknown to us humans and spending hours upon hours hidden in them.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Would it be worth it to request the pain meds anyway, just in case he is in pain? Any other tell-tale signs I can look for?

I'd also be interested in hearing anyone else's experience with pancreatitis in their cats. This guys has been healthy as a horse since the day I got him and has started to show some signs of age in the last year so I'm hoping this is manageable since he is my baby.

December 14th, 2012, 11:00 AM
I only have a minute, so here goes:

I would be assured that he's in pain! Generally, Pancreatitis means PAIN!I suspect that many more cats have pain from pancreatitis than show this pain. I think it is best to just assume that pain is present and to attempt to use pain control if pancreatitis is suspected, especially acute pancreatitis. Unfortunately, the choice of appropriate pain relievers is smaller for cats than for dogs. It is possible to use fentanyl patches (Duragesic Rx), tramadol (if oral medications can be used), buprenorphine, constant rate intravenous infusion of ketamine or morphine (must be done carefully in cats) or butorphanol (Torbutrol, Torbugesic SA Rx). a head's up for you.....DON'T accept non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain meds - such as Metacam - (which are now being given out like candy). Cats cannot metabolize them and they are known to cause kidney damage. In my experience, the easiest to administer pain control is Buprenex (buprenorphine), dropped into the mouth, NOT swallowed, but absorbed through mouth tissue.