Why Pancreatitis in Cats Can Be Expensive To Treat

Five Minutes
Jun 27, 2023

Does your cat have pancreatitis? This relatively common cat disease can come on suddenly and without warning. Treating pancreatitis in cats is possible, but it can be expensive due to the need for hospitalization. This is especially true if it turns out to be chronic pancreatitis, which requires regular rounds of treatment.

Fortunately, the cost of pancreatitis treatment isn’t an obstacle you have to face alone. Pet insurance can help lessen the burden of expensive vet bills. Keep reading to learn more about pancreatitis in cats and how a MetLife Pet Insurance policy could help.

What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an important organ involved in your cat’s digestive system and hormones.1 A healthy pancreas sends enzymes to the small intestine, where they activate and aid in digestion. However, sometimes those enzymes may activate early and begin to digest the pancreas itself. The resulting inflammation can also spread to other parts of a cat’s digestive tract, including the intestines and liver.

What causes pancreatitis in cats?

The exact cause of pancreatitis is unknown — enzymatic dysfunction seems to occur at random and without any known triggers. Risk factors tend to be the same regardless of a cat’s breed, sex, or age. However, pancreatitis can occur alongside other conditions, such as diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.1

Depending on your cat’s medical history, your vet may be able to tell you if they’re at risk of developing pancreatitis.

Is pancreatitis in cats deadly?

It’s not uncommon for cats to develop pancreatitis, but their prognosis depends on the severity. In most cases, cats with pancreatitis who receive early intervention and treatment can make a full recovery. However, more severe forms of pancreatitis can have a worse prognosis, including acute shock or death.1 It’s recommended you bring your cat to a vet as soon as you notice something’s wrong.

A gray cat sleeps on a gray couch with their face pressed against an armrest.

Pancreatitis in Cats: Symptoms and Diagnosis

When it comes to pancreatitis, early recognition and treatment is one of the best ways to improve your cat’s chances of a full recovery. Some of the most common symptoms of pancreatitis in cats can be:1

Identifying any of these symptoms may be a good enough reason to go to the vet, even if it doesn’t end up being pancreatitis. Once there, your vet may recommend multiple tests to help with diagnosis. These can typically include blood tests to look for elevated white blood cell and enzyme counts. Your vet may also use ultrasounds to look for signs of inflammation in and around your cat’s pancreas.1

A more recent development in pancreatitis testing is the Specific Feline Pancreatic Lipase (Spec fPL) test.1,2 This is a newer technique that looks for specific blood serum markers to quickly provide a positive or negative pancreatitis diagnosis.

Pancreatitis in Cats: Treatment Options

Treating pancreatitis in cats may involve intravenous (IV) fluids to maintain a healthy hydration and electrolyte balance, as well as a hospital stay for a few days. Your vet may also administer medication to manage vomiting and inflammation and relieve any pain your cat might be experiencing.1

Cats with more severe pancreatitis can be at risk of going into systemic shock. In this case, your vet may administer more aggressive doses of fluids and medication.1 This may also require extended hospitalization so your cat’s condition can be monitored during recovery.

Although most forms of pancreatitis can be resolved with treatment, this may not always be the case. Some cats can develop chronic pancreatitis — where they experience periodic bouts of inflammation throughout their life, requiring multiple treatment sessions. Your vet may prescribe a special diet to help manage inflammation, especially if your cat has also been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or diabetes.1

Managing the Cost of Pancreatitis in Cats

How much does it cost to treat pancreatitis? That depends on a number of factors, including your geographical location. Clinics located in more populated areas may have higher fees for treatment compared to those in rural areas. Typically, pancreatitis treatment costs somewhere between $400 and $1,500.3 If your cat is experiencing a more severe form of pancreatitis, then your bill may fall on the higher end. For cats with chronic pancreatitis, the cost of multiple vet visits for this treatment can add up — potentially costing thousands of dollars over the life of your beloved pet.

Fortunately, a cat insurance policy can help you afford the care your kitty needs. MetLife Pet Insurance can offer coverage for vet expenses, such as diagnostic testing, hospitalization, and vet-prescribed diets. Get a personalized quote today to see how MetLife Pet could help you.

Pancreatitis May Hurt Your Pet and Your Wallet

Pet Insurance Can Help
 Dr. Hunter Finn

Dr. Hunter Finn has been paid by MetLife to discuss the importance of choosing pet insurance. He is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. He  owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends. 

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “Pancreatitis in Cats,” VCA Animal Hospitals

2 “Pancreatitis in Cats - Pancreas-Specific Lipase,” VCA Animal Hospitals

3 “Pancreatitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment,” Pawlicy Advisor

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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