Retrospective Study: Surgical intervention in the management of severe acute pancreatitis in cats: 8 cases (2003–2007)


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Dr. Tolina T. Son, Advanced Critical Care, 9599 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, USA. Email:
Submitted April 15, 2009; Accepted May 24, 2010.


Objective – To evaluate clinical characteristics and outcomes of cats undergoing surgical intervention in the course of treatment for severe acute pancreatitis.

Design – Retrospective observational study from 2003 to 2007 with a median follow-up period of 2.2 years (range 11 d–5.4 y) postoperatively.

Setting – Private referral veterinary center.

Animals – Eight cats.

Interventions – None.

Measurements and Main Results – Quantitative data included preoperative physical and clinicopathologic values. Qualitative parameters included preoperative ultrasonographic interpretation, perioperative and intraoperative feeding tube placement, presence of free abdominal fluid, intraoperative closed suction abdominal drain placement, postoperative complications, microbiological culture, and histopathology. Common presenting clinical signs included lethargy, anorexia, and vomiting. Leukocytosis and hyponatremia were present in 5 of 8 cats. Hypokalemia, increased total bilirubin, and hyperglycemia were present in 6 of 8 cats. Elevated alanine aminotransferase and aspartate transferase were present in all cats. Surgery for extrahepatic biliary obstruction was performed in 6 cats, pancreatic abscess in 3 cats, and pancreatic necrosis in 1 cat. Six of the 8 cats survived. Five of the 6 cats that underwent surgery for extrahepatic biliary obstruction and 1 cat that underwent pancreatic necrosectomy survived. All 5 of the cats with extrahepatic biliary obstruction secondary to pancreatitis survived. The 2 nonsurvivors included a cat with a pancreatic abscess and a cat with severe pancreatitis and extrahepatic biliary obstruction secondary to a mass at the gastroduodenal junction. Postoperative complications included progression of diabetes mellitus, septic peritonitis, local gastrostomy tube stoma inflammation, local gastrostomy tube stoma infection, and mild dermal suture reaction.

Conclusion – Cats with severe acute pancreatitis and concomitant extrahepatic biliary obstruction, pancreatic necrosis, or pancreatic abscesses may benefit from surgical intervention. Cats with extrahepatic biliary obstruction secondary to severe acute pancreatitis may have a good prognosis.