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A Holistic Approach To Overcoming Feline Pancreatitis


Treating cats with pancreatitis holistically

For any cat parent out there who has a kitty with pancreatitis my heart goes out to you!  You and your cat’s world probably revolves around an vicious cycle of flare ups, loss of appetite, pain and nausea meds, appetite stimulants, force feeding or small meals, vet visits, sub-cutaneous fluids, and lots of tears, frustration and prayers.  And this cycle can go on for days or even weeks at a time.  It is not a disease for the faint of heart because it can wear you both out.  The common veterinary standard for feline pancreatitis is to “manage” it with long term drugs and fluid therapy.  This approach doesn’t take into consideration the toxic burden from the drugs or the stress it puts on the liver.  It also doesn’t treat the underlying cause. 

So what is feline pancreatitis and what causes it? 

The pancreas is a large gland that is involved with controlling sugar and metabolism and produces hormones that are involved with digestion.    According to pancreatitis is the most common inflammatory diseases of the pancreas that cats get, and the most common causes are due to:

  • improper diet
  • severe injury
  • anesthetic complications
  • infections caused by bacteria species (toxoplasma & Amphimerus)

Clinical Signs & Symptoms:

Cats affected with pancreatitis, may appear as dehydrated, tired and restless. Abdominal pain is uncommon in cats, but may present at a certain level. Diseased cats vomit frequently. Anorexia (Loss of appetite) is another sign associated with a disturbance in the release of pancreatic juices, which are important for appetite. Temperature remains lower then normal.

Moreover, in severe conditions, the cat may exhibit ataxia (Difficulty in movement) and apparent weight loss & even death, if not treated and cared for properly.

Diagnosis of Feline Pancreatitis:

Diagnosing pancreatitis is a delicate job. Cats may exhibit irregular signs and some may also associated with other diseases.  This may include abdominal pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting.  

Laboratory procedures are therefore necessary.  Several biochemical tests such as “TLI”, “PLI” & amylase enzyme level test etc. are helpful in reaching a diagnosis. Abdominal ultrasonography shows changes in size, condition and fluid accumulation around the pancreas, which can be helpful in diagnosing pancreatitis.

Treatment of Feline Pancreatitis:

Due to the nature of the disease, supportive care via fluid therapy is very common, along with pain medications.  I’ve read that it may also benefit cats to skip a few meals while the pancreas is inflamed to give it a chance to calm down.  However, skipping too many meals can lead to hepatic lipidosis, a very dangerous and life-threatening condition.  

The role of proper nutrition

Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, feels the biggest culprit that leads to disease in cats is improper diet.  Most cat food uses feed grade ingredients that are toxic, lack nutrition and are not biologically appropriate for cats to eat.  This list includes products like corn, wheat, soy, rice, potatoes, tapioca, legumes, and quinoa.  These grains and starches create an inflammatory response in the cat’s body over time, and are cheap fillers that commercial pet food companies use in place of quality meat.  If you’re not convinced, read the labels of the cat food products in your pantry or in the stores you shop in.  In the cheapest of foods (found in grocery stores) the first several ingredients on the label are grains and starches, not meat.  (Labels list ingredients in order of volume of the product.) 

When the pancreas is stressed trying to break down foods that cats aren’t designed to eat there is ultimately going to be an inflammatory response.  Therefore, being proactive is your best defense.  

The very best diet for cats is one that is meat based because they are biologically designed to eat meat!  Their jaws, teeth, and digestive tracts prove this.  When given a diet that they are designed to eat, cats don’t develop an inflammatory response that can lead to pancreatitis.  Using digestive enzymes also help relieve some of the burden put on the pancreas.  When mixed into the cat’s food they aide in assimilation and digestion.  

Hershey’s Storyfeline pancreatitis

My cat, Hershey, was diagnosed with pancreatitis back in May of 2010.  The vet at the time prescribed an antibiotic and anti-nausea medication.  In a few days he was fine.  Until he had another bout four weeks later…and again exactly four weeks later!  The vet essentially gave up and recommended we see a specialist, and I had visions of dollar signs flashing in my head.  I knew in my heart the “expert” would run more tests and prescribe drugs for him to be on for the rest of his life.  I also knew this was not the path I was supposed to take for him, so instead I took him to see my Naturapath at Heights of Health.  

Using a technique called muscle testing, which is a type of bio-feedback used to assess the needs and address imbalances in the body, Sonya was able to narrow down the cause Hershey’s pancreatitis to a parasite in his pancreas.  We were sent home with an herbal remedy specifically used for pancreatic flukes, and within two days he was his normal self again.  And the best part is he rarely has a flare up!  On occasion he eats a pine needle found in the courtyard and throws it up with a large amount of yellow bile.  

Several years ago I stopped feeding my cats kibble and switched them to premium canned, freeze-dried and raw food.  My latest challenge is to get Hershey off all canned food because he developed hyperthyroid from the BPA liners.  He’s been difficult to convince, and progress has been slow, but freeze-dried food has become his new favorite.  He rarely gets a flare up, and when he does it rarely involves throwing up bile; it’s usually apparent by his loss of appetite.  I’ve also added a high quality digestive enzyme to all his meals. 

Homeopathy and Pancreatitis

A couple of weeks ago he wasn’t interested in eating yet acted hungry.  After trying everything I pulled out some Pancrea Force by Energetix and gave him 1/2 a capsule mixed with water by syringe.  I also increased the dose of his thyroid supplement by a couple of drops.  About an hour later he was eating, but his appetite was still about 50% of its norm.  Then I had an idea.

I’m a huge fan of classic homeopathy, and purchased a 50 remedy kit this past summer.  One of the remedies indicated for digestive issues is Arsenicum Album.  Working on a hunch (intuition) I muscled tested Hershey for it, and it was a big yes!  I gave him three doses twelve hours apart, and his appetite was back to normal!   During that time I started researching remedies for pancreatitis in cats.  It took quite a lot of digging around, but I finally found some suggestions used on humans and animals.  Wouldn’t you know, Arsenicum Album was on the list, along with Iris Versicolor, Iodum, Phosphorous, Belladonna, Conium, Kali-Iodum, and Mercurius.  Symptoms determine which remedy is used in classic homeopathy, and muscle testing gives confirmation because not all the symptoms within one remedy may match. 

Hope and help!

While many cases of feline pancreatitis are chronic, making dietary changes and using homeopathic remedies or supplements designed to support the pancreas, especially during flare ups, are great ways promote healing and prevention.  If your cat has been on medications for long periods of time it may also be beneficial to detox the liver with a milk thistle supplement.  For all the cat parents who have a cat dealing with this awful disease I hope this gives you hope and some new options to try rather than staying stuck in the same repetitive cycle you find yourselves in now.  

Please help me spread the word about holistic health for cats by sharing this post on your favorite social media channel.  You can sign up here if you’d like to follow our blog.  Do you have a story to share?  Leave a comment below!

Here are some links to explore on pancreatitis and homeopathy:




20 responses to “A Holistic Approach To Overcoming Feline Pancreatitis”

  1. Tracey McLamb says:

    Do you have any other suggestion for the PancreaForce? I’m not finding it on their web site.

    • Pam Roussell says:

      It may have been discontinued. Homeopathy would be my first choice then. There’s a remedy called Pancreatin you can try–many clients have had great success with it. In addition, there are other remedies that work well for pancreatitis.

  2. Katharina Waldner says:

    My one year old girl has an abnormal pancreas and these flare ups. It is been happening since we brought her home aged 3months. It has been a very heart breaking time. We switched to wet food as suggested above and it really did help after a month, no grains, no fillers good quality. So thank you for that. She is have an episode today, it is so sad, letting her Pancreas rest and not stressing about her eating. She likes music, I play it for her and give her lots of love. Will try the remedy above. That’s for you kindness and you positivity.

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Reoccurring bouts of pancreatitis can be due to food sensitivity even if the kitty is eating a wet, grain free diet. Try changing the proteins and see if this helps. Also, try Arsenicum Album 30C or the remedy Pancreatin 30C to address the pancreatitis flare ups. Energetix makes a great product for humans called PancreaForce, too, that’s amazing. Cut the dose to 1/4 capsule 2xday until the flare has passed.

  3. Lisa Davis says:

    Thanks for responding! We have literally tried him on every vet approved wet food there is, he will NOT touch it. Even the vet tried when he was staying in the hospital with a kidney issue a few yrs back. He just won’t it eat. So we had already switched to Blue Buffalo Healthy Living kibble a little over a year ago but after he was diagnosed with the pancreatitis a few back, the vet told us to change his diet to the Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein kibble and we have. However we are on our 2nd bag of the latter and it is the Adult Indoor with Chicken kind. Maybe we should try a different kind of meat than the chicken kind. I will try some Gerber Meat babyfood too. He will eat a little chicken or roast beef when I cook it for him. I just want him to get better. He acts fine and has a good appetite but when he throws up it sounds like he is dying and usually it is just bile. He is such a good boy and a very handsome tuxedo kitty. His name is Gator because he used to be a nipper lol. He was born inside my house so I have had him since day one. Thanks again for your help

    • Cee says:

      Mine had UTis. He took him off poultry and fish and give him raw and dehydrated raw food and no more UTIs. He might have an allergy or sensitivity to chicken. Good luck.

  4. Lisa Davis says:

    My has pancreatitis. He weighs 17lbs and is almost 9 yrs old. He has already has antibiotics but the symptoms remain. He has a good day then a bad day of vomiting. I ordered the Arsenicum Album from you but I have no idea how often and how much to give him. Also, he refuses all wet foods. He eats kibble but it is the Blue Buffalo Wilderness which is almost all protein. I thought about cooking him some beef liver about medium rare and nincing it up for him. Would that be a good thing for all his dietary needs? I know cooked chicken isn’t enough. Also what other holistic meds would be good for his condition? Please help

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Your poor baby! It sounds like he has a sugar addiction (to kibble) and a block to wet food. I’ve had great success clearing frequencies energetically that help cats start eating wet food as well as restoring their ability to eat specific proteins that cause stress. Doing an Optimal Cat Health Analysis to assess energetically with muscle testing is the best way to drill down and find out what his body needs to heal itself. Preparing a remedy: Dissolve 3 pellets in 1/2 cup of purified/spring/filtered water. Using a syringe withdraw 1/2 ml; cover the tip with your finger and strike the syringe hard against your palm 10-12 times. This is called succussion and energizes the remedy. Squirt in the side of the mouth, add to food or to 1/2 tsp of half and half cream or broth. You can reuse the remedy for 5 days. 1 dose = 1/2 ml. To fully get over a pancreatitis flare you must stop giving the foods that are causing it. My guess is it’s the carbs (peas/legumes) and the main animal protein (ie: chicken, tuna, salmon, etc.). You’ll want to switch to something different. Or try baby food as a temporary “bridge” food if he’ll eat it? Gerber turkey n gravy, ham n gravy, etc. Cats who love kibble aren’t usually eager to jump to organ meat raw or cooked–it can take time to transition.

  5. Cathymoran says:

    I have a very handsome orange short hair ? I don’t know what he is except pure love . I adopted him approximately 10 years ago . He’s had severe bouts of pancreatitis combined with hyperthyroidism. I ve at my wits end as he wouldn’t eat .or drink . The vet put,him on antibiotics for 2 weeks . I think a quiet episode without vomiting was all of a week. I started him on the arsecium album as well as the pancreatic force enzymes ( he really doesn’t like them) he seems MUCH better.
    How long do I keep him on the supplements

    • Pam Roussell says:

      It’s great that you’re using the homeopathy and PancreaForce! I use them until his appetite is back and vomiting/nausea has stopped. However, I sense there could be food sensitivities at play here. Take a good look at the diet; avoid all dry food and possibly seafood, too, due to naturally occurring BPA that contributes to thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism. Change his proteins up and see if that helps alleviate the vomiting.

      • Cathleen Moran says:

        Thanks for your response. I’m feeding him cooked chicken. I gave him 1/2 capsule of panc force . He vomited it up . Should I give it before or after regular food
        Again I thank you

        • Pam Roussell says:

          My gut tells me that he may be sensitive to chicken. Try switching proteins. In my experience only 1/4 capsule of PF is needed per dose, and it should be given with food because it contains digestive enzymes that help break down the food. You may need to use baby food–what I consider a “bridge food” between having serious flare ups and eating regular cat food again. Try a flavor other than chicken. (Gerber baby food meat only). Is plain cooked chicken his normal diet or is this just supplemental at the moment? You want to make sure all homemade diets are complete and balanced with all the vitamins and minerals cats need; plain chicken meat won’t provide all these.

  6. Sue says:

    Hi our almost 8 year old cat has severe pancreatiti. The vet said his level is over 50. A month ago he soend a few days in the vets being force fed and on IV fluids. 1 month later here at home I am still force feeding him. He refuses to eat. He had started looking a bit better then lost a couple lbs again. Vet has given just appetite stimulant to give him and probiotic. I know he needs a low fat diet. Can I go get freeze dried or raw and just try it? I will look into the digestive enzyme I’ve read about too. I really hope westart seeing an improvement real soon. It seems we may have to make some real decisions soon or the vet makes me feel that way. We dont want him to suffer or be in pain. But I also want to give him the best shot I can at getting well again

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Sue, how heartbreaking to hear your cat is having such a rough time. With a case this severe I recommend doing an optimal cat health analysis (a service I offer) to help you determine the root cause of the pancreatitis. Once this is determined we can find out exactly what tools his body needs to heal itself. I use muscle testing to asses these things. In the meantime, try changing protein types and use digestive enzymes. Baby food is a good bridge food until he’s able to eat regular cat food again. Avoid all dry foods if you haven’t already, too. PancreaForce by Energetix is one supplement I’ve used successfully for serious cases along with the homeopathic remedy Arsenicum Album 30C. His body is extremely out of balance, but hopefully there’s still time and his will to move forward to recovery. Sending lots of love and healing light!

  7. Kathy Welsh says:

    Oliver is a ten year old shorthair which we love and I would like to know if cooked turkey would be ok to feed him He suffers from pancreatic flare ups

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Bless his heart! Typically cooked turkey is fine if he will eat it. Sometimes I have more success feeding Gerber baby food meat because it’s so gentle. Be sure you find and address the cause of his pancreatitis–usually because he’s eating something that doesn’t agree with him or is biologically inappropriate that his body can’t digest. Often time this is due to dry food or high amounts of carbohydrates in the food. Adding digestive enzymes is always helpful for cats with pancreas issues, too.

  8. Lynne says:

    My little cat Phyllis will be 16 this year and was recently diagnosed with pancreatitis. She had been vomiting several times every day for a few weeks. The vet did tests and suggested a couple of cans of gastro friendly Veterinary foods along with medication for 4 days. I was told to dilute the food with a little warm water. This was fine for a while, but Phyllis (who has always been a finicky eater) soon refused these. I have moved on to other canned food–the vet said to make sure they are low fat. Really, I am tired of paying for food she refuses. I am a low income senior. The vet’s bill was $380 (my daughter had to pay this) and I have no idea where to go from here. I don’t want to go back to the foods that probably made her ill like Fancy Feast or Temptations. She still eats a little bit of better quality dry food.
    Any help would be appreciated!

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Lynne, my heart goes out to you and your situation! The very BEST thing you can do to help your cat, watch your budget and prevent future pancreatic flare ups is offer Phyllis a meat-based diet (canned, fresh, rehydrated freeze-dried or raw–there are so many options) that do NOT have any of these items on the food label: corn, corn products, wheat, wheat gluten, rice, potatoes, peas, lentils, beans, quinoa, chickpeas, soy or soy products, barley, etc. These are the culprits that cause cats to get sick because their bodies aren’t designed to digest them. Yet, if you read cat food labels, you’ll find many of these products in cat food! It’s no wonder cats get sick. A great quality, moderately priced cat food brand you could consider is Dave’s Pet Food. Only feed your cat wet food as dry food is loaded with all the products listed above and it’s the worse thing for a cat’s kidneys. I hope this helps!

  9. I’am in san diego, ca. I need referrals to holistic vets that really care. Not into all the meds. I need someone who can help me, please. We are starting her third week of antinflamatory, prednisolone, off pain killers,farotidine,gabapentin,fluid therapy.
    Too much for my little girl and me. Help.

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Hi Jeanette, I’m so sorry to hear your baby is having such a hard time! To locate a holistic vet who does phone consultations try I have also had great success working with clients if you’d be interested in doing a consultation (Optimal Cat Health Analysis). See details under the Services tab or Holistic Health and Muscle testing tab.

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