Triaditis in Cats

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Key takeaways

Triaditis in cats is a general term describing a simultaneous presentation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cholangitis, and pancreatitis. These are inflammatory conditions affecting the  digestive tract, bile duct, and pancreas, respectively.

  • Symptoms include reduced appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • The combination of the three inflammatory processes likely arises due to the close proximity of the pancreatic and bile ducts entering the intestine, allowing a disturbance in one organ system to quickly affect the others
  • Triaditis is diagnosed based on biopsy of the liver, pancreas, and intestines, and treated with antibiotics and supportive therapies
  • The prognosis is typically fair, however cats that develop complications may have a guarded prognosis
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A closer look: Triaditis in Cats


The gallbladder is where bile produced by the liver is stored and secreted into the intestines to aid in digestion. The pancreas also secretes digestive enzymes into the intestines. The bowels (intestines) are where food is digested and the remaining waste is passed through for elimination as feces. When all three of these organs are chronically inflamed at the same time, this is referred to as triaditis.

Severe triaditis may result in a cat not eating, which can lead to hepatic lipidosis. If a cat has not eaten within two days, or begins to present with yellow skin (jaundice), they require emergency medical attention.

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Risk factors


The three conditions that make up triaditis (IBD, pancreatitis, and cholangitis) are common, and usually mild. While uncomfortable, mild cases are not usually life-threatening, and have a fair prognosis.

Possible causes


The pancreatic and bile ducts open into intestines at the same place, and infection or inflammation of one increases the likelihood of the others being affected simultaneously.

Causes of IBD and pancreatitis are largely unknown, although they are associated with food allergies and dietary indiscretion.

Causes of cholangitis include immune-mediated disorders, cancer, and bacterial/parasitic infections.

Main symptoms


Testing and diagnosis


Diagnostics include:

  • A physical examination
  • Bloodwork
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Urine and fecal examination
  • Biopsies

Triaditis is only definitively diagnosed after a biopsy of a cat’s pancreas, liver, and intestines. In most cases, triaditis is treated based on suspicion of disease from other diagnostic tests, and surgical intervention to gather biopsies is not conducted.

Steps to Recovery


Treatments include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-nausea medication
  • Medication stimulating bile flow
  • Immunosuppressives
  • Antioxidants
  • Supplements
  • Dietary changes

Prognosis for triaditis is fair, and is better with early identification and treatment. Prognosis becomes more guarded if complications develop, including hepatic lipidosis or liver failure.

Severe pancreatitis also has a more guarded prognosis.

Prevention


Triaditis itself is not contagious, but secondary conditions may be. For example, Toxoplasma gondii infection is contagious, and may lead to pancreatitis.

There are no preventative steps for triaditis.

Is Triaditis in Cats common?


IBD, pancreatitis, and cholangitis are common in cats.

Typical Treatment


  • Antibiotics
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Painkillers
  • Steroids
  • Dietary changes
  • Supportive care

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