Pancreatitis and expectations

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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:58 pm

Pancreatitis and expectations

Post by JackieF » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:00 pm

Hello, new member from the US here. My sweet, easy-going 14-year-old neutered boy Maude went through a really rough time in January of this year. He stopped eating, was found to have pancreatitis (as well as asymptomatic heartworm disease). The vet told us that getting him to eat was the most critical part of his recovery, so we planned to have a feeding tube placed so we could give him adequate food, fluids, and meds in a non-stressful way. However, he fooled us by starting to nibble a bit the day before the tube placement was planned, and we got overly optimistic (20-20 hindsight) and canceled the procedure. Sure enough, he then got worse and had to be re-hospitalized. He started having nausea/vomiting, so a feeding tube was no longer an option. He was miserable, and an ultrasound showed worsening of the pancreatitis, so we took him home with only sublingual pain meds for hospice care.

Maude literally went for a full 7 days without eating or drinking even the tiniest amount, just round-the-clock opioids. And then one evening he perked up his ears when I said “treaties.” So I got the package, and he ate 7 cat treats! Then he drank water, LOTS of water. And over the next few weeks he ate more, and got strong again. The vet actually cried when he saw Maude next. After starting on transdermal mirtazapine to further nudge his appetite, Maude regained all the weight he had lost. He continues to drink a lot, so I worried about his kidneys, but another ultrasound, urinalysis, and routine bloodwork looked fine.

But of course there’s a problem, or I wouldn’t be posting. Maude has lost his appetite again, despite continuing on the mirtazapine. He still eats a little, mostly only treats now, sometimes the gravy from canned food also. His energy has dropped just a little as well. He’s drinking fine, no vomiting or apparent pain. He’s not hiding or acting different. He still seems to enjoy the things he always has, aside from eating. I believe he has developed chronic pancreatitis and is having a flare-up.

I’d like to hear from others who have dealt with this. How long will a flare last? Should I consider a feeding tube again? I’m trying not to be selfish — I don’t want Maude to suffer!- but he still seems to have a good quality of life right now, and if just getting proper food into him could maintain that... I want to think about these things before I go back to the vet. Thanks for listening, and for any insights you can share.

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