Pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the exocrine pancreas, occurs frequently in both dogs and cats. While the true prevalence of pancreatitis in dogs and cats is unknown, recent studies would suggest that pancreatitis is a rather common and underdiagnosed condition in both dogs and cats.
This disorder of the digestive system is potentially life threatening (particularly in its acute form) but often responds well to treatment.
This is a term that is synonymous with the term "Gastric Dilatation with Volvulus." It is often called GDV. That means that a dog's stomach distends with air, twists and cuts off blood flow, to the point that the dog goes into shock and may die.
Diarrhea is the passing of loose or liquid stool, more often than normal.
Diarrhea can be caused by diseases of the small intestine, large intestine or by diseases of organs other than the intestinal tract. Your ability to answer questions about your pet's diet, habits, environment and specific details about the diarrhea can help the veterinarian narrow the list of possible causes, and to plan for specific tests to determine the cause of diarrhea. (Anatomy of the digestive system: dog / cat)
Small intestinal and large intestinal diarrhea have different causes, require different tests to diagnose and are treated differently. Small intestinal diseases result in a larger amount of stool passed with a mild increase in frequency; about 3 to 5 bowel movements per day. The pet doesn't strain or have difficulty passing stool. Animals with small intestinal disease may also vomit and lose weight. Excess gas production is sometimes seen and you may hear the rumbling of gas in the belly. If there is blood in the stool it is digested and black in color.
Disease of the large intestine including the colon and rectum cause the pet to pass small amounts of loose stool very often, usually more than 5 times daily. The pet strains to pass stool. If there is blood in the stool, it is red in color. The stool may be slimy with mucus. The pet does not usually vomit or lose weight with large bowel diarrhea. A sudden onset of small intestinal diarrhea may be caused by viruses including canine distemper, canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, feline panleukopenia virus or feline coronavirus, in young, poorly vaccinated pets. Small intestinal diarrhea can be caused by bacteria such as salmonella, clostridia or campylobacter although these same bacteria can be found in the stool of normal dogs and cats.
Feeding tubes save lives and are not used as often as they should be for anorexic patients.
Unfortunately, when most people hear the term "feeding tube", they tend to panic - feeling like this is the end of the road for their cat. However, feeding tubes should not necessarily be viewed as a doom and gloom 'last ditch effort' or as a 'heroic measure'.
I often hear people say "oh, I would never put my cat through that!" Unfortunately, these folks are not recognizing the tremendous value of feeding tubes to support ill patients while they heal from a temporary illness or injury. Most cats are not bothered by the tubes at all! The human is the one who is bothered by it as the cat just goes about its daily routine.
Anyone who has ever tried to syringe-feed an ill cat for very long recognizes the stress that is involved for both the cat and the human. Not only is it very time-consuming, but the critical issue is that it is often very difficult to meet the caloric and hydration (water) needs of the cat with this method.
Feeding tubes are not right for every situation and case selection requires thoughtful consideration - keeping the patient's best interest in mind - not the human's. For cats that are suffering from a chronic, terminal illness such as renal failure or cancer, it is my feeling that a feeding tube is not necessarily appropriate to use in these cases. It is a matter of personal choice to prolong the inevitable in our pets and caregivers need to think long and hard before they put a feeding tube in a patient with a terminal illness when euthanasia may be a much more humane and loving decision to make.