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The vet said my 20 year old cat has pancreatitis and possibly parasites. Would you give her an antibiotic? How would you treat her?

  • ALT. (sgpt). 112
  • BUN. 51
  • Precision psl. 42
  • Lymphocytes. 954
  • Eosinophils. 1484

What would be your diagnosis and prognosis?

All other levels are normal.

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You need to ask your vet about the treatment of this. Most of us here is common pet owners so all I can do is give you some advice.

Antibiotics is only an option if your cat has a bacterial infection. And as far as I can see this might not be the case in your cat.

Vets do often give steroids to treat pancreatitis in cats. Ask your vet about this to find a treatment that might help your cat.

Get your cat treated for parasites this is simple and easy to do.

Put your cat on a wet food only diet to be sure she gets all the water she needs pancreatitis makes your cat lose water and she might get dehydrated.

Talk to your vet about what options for treatment there are for your cat.

  • Agreed. Only a vet can answer this question. – Mick Jul 24 at 12:38
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Blood results

Just to go through the parts of the labwork you mentioned - but know that it is challenging to interpret the results without seeing the full labwork and clinical history:

ALT. (sgpt). 112

ALT is a liver enzyme, which is an indicator of liver cell injury. That injury can occur due to many reasons, one of which is pancreatitis. Each lab has its own reference range, but in any case this is a normal to only very mildly elevated value. It must be interpreted in conjunction with the other liver enzymes and bilirubin.

BUN. 51

This is a kidney value. It is rare to come across a 20 year-old cat with fully functioning kidneys, so a mild BUN elevation like this is not surprising. Kidney disease can be a cause of loss of appetite and weight loss.

Precision psl. 42

This is a measure of pancreatic inflammation. An elevation is suggestive of pancreatitis, if clinical signs such as vomiting, weight loss, and inappetence are seen. However it is not always diagnostic for pancreatitis as nearby inflammation, e.g. in the adjacent intestine can also cause this to appear elevated.

Lymphocytes. 954

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. A slightly low count like this is fairly unremarkable.

Eosinophils. 1484

Eosinophils are another type of white blood cell, and this is a mild elevation. In a younger cat I would consider an elevation to be almost always either due to allergic or parasitic disease. In older cats we also have to add other disorders such as hyperthyroidism and cancer to the list.


Further diagnostics

I would strongly encourage an abdominal ultrasound, in particular to assess the pancreas, intestines, liver, and kidneys. This will give the vet the clearest picture of what is going on internally, and therefore best direct treatment.

I am assuming the suggestion of parasites came from the slightly elevated eosinophils. Consider testing a faecal sample for parasites to help rule this out. Does your cat ever go outdoors? If so, then having her empirically dewormed would also be reasonable.


Treatment

Pancreatitis is a challenging disorder to treat but if appropriately managed can carry a good prognosis. The treatment can consist of:

  • Fluids, to make sure the pancreas is well perfused. These can be given subcutaneously or intravenously, based on the severity of the case.
  • Anti-nausea medication, such as Cerenia (maropitant) can help manage the signs of pancreatitis such as vomiting. Maropitant can also help with reducing pancreatic inflammation.
  • Pain medication, as we often think pancreatitis can be a source of significant abdominal pain which can lead to further loss of appetite. Transmucosal buprenorphine is a good option in cats.
  • Appetite stimulant, such as mirtazapine, if needed.
  • Antacids, such as famotidine, in some cases.
  • Diet can help - my personal favourite for pancreatitis is a gastrointestinal diet such as Hill's i/d, however you also have to consider other concurrent conditions, and it may be that a kidney diet is more vital.

I rarely turn to antibiotics for pancreatitis (it is almost always a sterile process in cats).

I also do not often turn to steroids as a first line treatment for pancreatitis, although it so happens that many of my pancreatitis patients are on steroids for other concurrent conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal lymphoma. Steroids such as prednisolone can be great for controlling inflammation, but they have to be used judiciously.

Be aware that some cases of pancreatitis can be managed with minimal treatment, while others require aggressive use of fluids and medications to successfully treat.

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