A Triad of Triaditis!
|In the 15 years since I graduated, there have been many advances in one of the areas I have a particular interest in – feline gastroenterology. New intestinal parasites have been recognised, new diagnostic tests have become available, and conditions that we once thought were rare or non-existent in cats have now – through these new testing methods – been recognised as being far more common than we originally thought.|
Pancreatitis – a condition where the pancreas is inflamed – was once thought to happen in dogs but not cats. Nowadays, I diagnose it more frequently in cats than dogs, because a new blood test has allowed us to detect it much more easily. Because of their close internal proximity, the liver, pancreas and bowel can all develop inflammation concurrently in cats – a condition called "triaditis" – triad referring to the involvement of the three organs. Some cats just develop a problem in one or two of these organs, whilst others get "the full whammy" with all three areas being affected at once. This is a relatively common condition – so much so that in the past year, I have diagnosed it in 3 cats belonging to our current and former members of staff.
"Chloe", owned by our head nurse Erain, had longstanding intermittent vomiting, due to inflammation in her bowels, and periodically became much more subdued and lethargic when the inflammation in her pancreas also flared up. Her vomiting was so forceful that on several occasions she fainted afterwards.
"Fleur", a Siamese owned by our ex-nurse Tracy (now training as a "human" nurse) was diagnosed with liver problems a few years ago. More recently, vomiting and diarrhoea also became an issue, at which point we realised she also had bowel involvement and "triaditis".
"Tiffany", a champion Somali show cat owned by our now-retired secretary - Jo - suffered significant weight loss and diarrhoea, and was diagnosed with all three parts of the triaditis complex. In fact, her pancreas had been so badly damaged by the inflammation that it had stopped working altogether, leaving her unable to produce the enzymes needed to digest her food.
All three cats, I am pleased to report, are responding extremely well to treatment. They are on a combination of special diets, anti-inflammatories, vitamin and other dietary supplements...to name but a few! We still don't know for certain what triggers the condition – it may be allergies to certain components of food or an abnormal response of the immune system to gut bacteria.....perhaps in another 15 years I will have all the answers!
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS