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Below are some of the resources that we found to be useful along our learning explorations. Many digestive and systemic enzyme supplements contain animal sourced enzymes, usually pancreatic tissue from pigs. Juvenile bichirs have external gills, a very primitive feature that they share with larval amphibians. The pancreatic duct joins the common bile duct to form the ampulla of Vater which is located at the first portion of the small intestine, called the duodenum. Two of the main pancreatic hormones are insulin , which acts to lower blood sugar, and glucagon , which acts to raise blood sugar. Share on Twitter Tweet. For fish as eaten by humans, see Fish as food.

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Although it's natural to flush and hit the sink without a second glance, taking a peek at what's in the toilet bowl can be Digestive Health 10 Tips for Better Digestive Health Your lifestyle and your choice of foods can affect the way your body digests what you eat. Drinking water, adding fiber, and exercising all contribute Digestive Health Excessive Gas and the Foods You Eat To avoid embarrassing intestinal gas and uncomfortable bloating, know which gas-producing foods to limit.

Reaching for peppermint or ginger may be all you need to get relief. Everyone has intestinal gas, which can lead to uncomfortable bloating and even pain. But how can you tell when excessive gas might be something more s Digestive Health 9 Foods That Help Relieve Nausea Eating may be the last thing you feel like doing when your stomach is upset, but some foods actually ease the symptoms.

Consider giving these a try. Digestive Health 4 Signs Your Hemorrhoids Warrant a Doctor's Visit Painful, bleeding, or long-lasting hemorrhoids may indicate it's time to go see a doctor. Digestive Health Hernia Signs and Symptoms A painful, bulging spot that occurs after hefting a heavy box or working out too hard could be a hernia. They are basically all due to the same inflammatory process. The names reflect the changes that are predominating in any one cat and the preferences of the pathologist describing them.

Hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver is a rather unique problem of cats. When it occurs in pancreatitis or triad disease it is do to your cat just not feeling like eating and being unable to metabolize its fat stores. Follow the link for a complete explanation.

For reasons we can not explain, cats that are not eating have problems shifting over to using their body fat stores. Once enough fat has accumulated in these liver cells to cause them to swell, they can no longer do their normal chores of protein synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism and detoxification of wastes. That will often be reflected in the bloodwork your vet runs by an increase in bilirubin , ALT , ALP alk phos and a decrease in albumen.

Cats with this problem often turn yellow jaundiced. You will notice that first on the inner side of their ears and the whites of their eyes sclera. For your cat to get well, it is extremely important that everything possible be done to tempt it to eat.

Many cats with chronic pancreatic also have chronic or recurrent diarrhea — particularly when biopsies show that their livers are also chronically inflamed. IBD is actually a catch-all term that includes a number of discrete conditions.

If biopsies are taken from your pet due to the suspicion of pancreatic, they should also be taken from those upper areas of the intestine. This is because another chronic problem, lymphocytic-plasmacytic gastroenteritis LPG , can cause the same symptoms. Diabetes is not a part of triad disease. You can read my article about diabetes in cats here.

For a more extensive explanation, go here. They often sit erect, looking off in space, with their paws tucked under them and their eyes partially closed - like the cat above. These cats are lethargic and not interested in their surroundings. Most eat and drink less and, consequently, they loose weight and become dehydrated. If the problem is severe, they often pant or mouth breath. A few vomit or have diarrhea.

A few run fevers. Subnormal temperature below Many are uncomfortable or meow when you prod or squeeze their tummies. In fact, they can eat more than before.

But they never regain their prior weight because they no longer produce the enzymes they need to absorb the food. Food passing through their digestive tract undigested may cause their stools to be loose, smelly and pale.

This leads to bacterial overgrowth with undesirable organisms. Some of these cats get treated with metronidazole which often does bring about temporary improvement. Others get misdiagnosed as having a giardia infection. With good care, the vast majority of cats survive the attack that first brings them to the veterinary hospital.

If your veterinarian can induce your cat to eat, it should do well and return home. Cats hate veterinary hospitals. If you yourself can spend time at the hospital, petting, reassuring and talking to your pet, your cat is more likely to heal. That and loving, individualized, nursing care are the keys to success. Once your cat has been stabilized and sent back home, it will most likely need a special diet and occasional medications throughout its life.

With that special care, it should live a very long time. Your veterinarian will want to perform a physical examination of your cat. There are no specific physical signs that announce pancreatitis. Your cat might indicate to your veterinarian that its abdomen is tender and sometimes, a firm, inflamed pancreas can actually be felt.

Occasionally neurological signs accompany pancreatitis. If it fails to snap back promptly, your vet will know your pet is dehydrated. Your vet may notice that your pet has lost weight since its last visit. Standard blood panels and urine examination will not be very helpful in getting your veterinarian to a diagnosis.

They are the logical starting off point with any sick cat, but the results are never diagnostic. Cats with pancreatitis sometimes have an elevated white blood cell count.

Electrolyte sodium, potassium, chloride changes are common because so many cats with pancreatitis are dehydrated. Liver enzymes ALP etc. High, low or normal blood lipase or amylase are not significant in cats with pancreatitis. About a quarter of cats with pancreatitis are anemic. You can go to this page to see normal blood values for your cat. There are two blood tests that are very helpful in diagnosing pancreatitis in cats.

One is the serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity test and the other, the pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity test. The vast majority of trypsin moves directly from your cat's pancreas to the intestine through the pancreatic duct.

When the amount in the blood is too high, the pancreas is leaking more than it should into the blood stream due to inflammation. There is controversy as to the accuracy of this test. Some feel it is very accurate in identifying cats with pancreatic problems, others less so. This is because other areas of the body, besides the pancreas, produce lipase.

But since , a more sensitive radioimmunoassay test that zeros in on only the lipase produced in the pancreas has become available. Cats with substantial acute pancreatitis and cats with substantial pancreatic scaring insufficiency can usually be identified with this test.

The test is not as effective in detecting cats with mild to moderate disease. The ultrasound machine has become as important to your veterinarian in the 21st Century as the stethoscope was in the 20th. In the hands of a highly skilled ultrasonographer, ultrasound will detect a bit less than half of the cases of acute pancreatitis in cats depending on the skill of the radiologist.

Ultrasound is also quite helpful in detecting the liver and intestinal changes that commonly accompany pancreatitis. It is also an excellent way to rule out other abdominal conditions in your cat that might be mistaken for pancreatitis.

X-rays are not very helpful in diagnosing pancreatitis. Sometimes, the only way to determine what is happening in your cat, is to go in and have a look. Most of the changes that occur in pancreatitis and diseases associated with it occur on the microscopic level.

So you veterinarian will obtain as many snippets of tissue biopsies and needle aspirates as possible to have sent off to a pathologist. Sometimes, the veterinarian can obtain these biopsy samples without surgery by directing a biopsy needle with an ultrasound machine; or using an apparatus called a laparoscope.

But a more common way is to actually surgically open your pet under general anesthesia exploratory laparotomy. The treatments your veterinarian will begin depend on the stage at which you present your cat for care. If your cat is experiencing a severe, acute attack, your veterinarian will do everything possible to stabilize its vital systems.

Nothing can be given to your cat orally when it is in an acute crisis. Your vet will give other medications either through the tube in its vein or by intramuscular injection. Acute pancreatitis is a fast-moving condition that requires careful, continuous, monitoring and quick decisions. If your cat is having difficulties breathing, your vet will probably supply it with oxygen. Control Diarrhea and Vomiting. The majority of cats with pancreatitis do not vomit or have diarrhea. However, if your cat is nauseous, we have medications to control that antiemetics.

Antacids are sometimes helpful as well. If the pet is experiencing diarrhea, there are medications for that as well.

Ron Hines DVM PhD