Feline triad affects the cat’s liver, pancreas and intestine – 05/24/2023 – Gatices
The feline triad is a condition that affects cats and develops from simultaneous inflammation in the liver, pancreas and intestine.
The specific anatomy of felines favors the emergence of this condition. “In cats, pancreatic enzymes and bile secretions are discharged through a single duct. As a result, if this structure becomes inflamed, inflammation of the three organs may occur at once, forming the triad”, says Elisangela Trentin, a veterinarian specializing in felines. and owner of the Bigodes e Focinhos Cat clinic, in Vila Prudente, in the east zone of São Paulo.
Trentin explains that, generally, the triad is a reflection of diseases such as cholangitis (inflammation of the biliary tract) or feline cholangiohepatitis (when the inflammation of the biliary tract extends to the liver), inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas ).
The main symptoms are vomiting, lack of appetite and abdominal pain.
To treat the triad, you need to find out what the underlying disease is, that is, what is causing inflammation in these organs.
“There is control of complications, such as inflammation of the biliary tract and liver. But, in most cases, the underlying diseases that cause the triad cannot be cured, there is only control of the disease”, says Trentin.
Read the interview with the veterinarian below.
What is the feline triad?
The feline triad is a syndrome caused by three diseases concomitantly: intestinal infiltrative diseases (benign or malignant), cholangitis or cholangiohepatitis, affecting the liver and biliary tract, and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). The quadriad has also been reported, when there is involvement of another organ, in this case, the kidney.
What is different about the anatomy of the cat that provides this picture?
The anatomy of the cat’s bile ducts is different from that of dogs, for example, and therefore cats are more predisposed to the triad. In the dog, digestive secretions from the liver and pancreas are discharged into the intestine separately, by different structures. In the cat, pancreatic enzymes and bile secretions are discharged through a single duct. Consequently, when inflammation of this structure occurs, inflammation of the three organs may occur at once, forming the triad.
What causes the feline triad?
The triad is triggered by an intestinal inflammatory process based on benign or malignant diseases, including hypersensitivity to food, parasites, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even some types of cancer, such as food lymphoma, which is the most common.
What are the symptoms?
The most common initial symptom is vomiting, which starts sporadically and increases in frequency over time, and may be associated with diarrhea.
With the evolution of the disease, the animal may manifest lack of appetite, prostration, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and even jaundice, when there are complications such as obstruction of the bile ducts.
How does the veterinarian make the diagnosis?
Abdominal ultrasound detects inflammation of the pancreas, liver and intestines. But for a more accurate diagnosis, to understand the underlying cause, a biopsy is necessary.
How is the treatment done?
Support for patient comfort is important, such as medication for vomiting, analgesics, hydration maintenance, appetite stimulant, antibiotics for infectious conditions, and cortisone-based anti-inflammatories, when indicated.
In the total absence of appetite for more than 72 hours, it is necessary to pass a feeding tube to avoid complications due to a very prolonged fast. Also following with the treatment for the underlying cause, such as control of intestinal parasites, diet change, and even chemotherapy for neoplastic cases.
Is there a cure?
There is control of complications, such as inflammation of the biliary tract and liver. But, in most cases, the underlying diseases that cause the triad have no cure, there is only control of the disease.
These patients become chronic and are dependent on continuous medication. But it is important to emphasize that these are patients who have a good quality of life, with great survival, when properly managed.
Can the feline triad lead to death?
The triad can lead to death when the patient does not receive the necessary support. But when detected early, there is treatment with good responses.
How to avoid the feline triad?
Identify underlying diseases through semi-annual or annual routine exams, such as ultrasound and blood tests, in addition to being aware of vomiting, even if occasional.
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