What Are The Costs of Treating Pancreatitis?
Treating pancreatitis can cost as much as several thousand dollars, and will be more expensive for more severe cases. Treating canine pancreatitis may cost between $800 and $6,000, and is typically somewhere around $2,000. In cats, pancreatitis treatment usually costs around $400 to $1,500.
Does Pet Insurance Typically Cover This Issue?
Unless it’s classified as a pre-existing condition or an illness that occurred before you enrolled, yes, treatments for pancreatitis are generally covered by pet insurance. Here are a few examples:
- Nationwide Pet Insurance offers full coverage for inflamed pancreas issues under their “Whole Pet with Wellness” and “Major Medical” plans, but not under their “Pet Wellness” plan.
- Healthy Paws doesn’t state outright that they cover pancreatitis treatments, but offers an example of a case when they have covered such treatment for a cat.
- Like Healthy Paws, Embrace Pet Insurance also doesn’t directly state that they offer this kind of coverage; they also offer two examples (here’s one, and here’s the other) of covering pancreatitis in dogs.
- American Kennel Club Pet Insurance does list pancreatitis among the illnesses it covers.
Since the majority of pet insurance providers don’t say whether or not they cover pancreatitis, if this is a concern for you, it’s a good idea to contact the individual insurance provider to inquire directly. Moreover, specific insurance coverage for dogs and insurance coverage for cats may differ.
What is Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas, an extremely important organ that is involved in blood sugar control and digestion. Pancreatitis often presents with a variety of symptoms that include, but are not limited to: loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain, as well as fever, diarrhea, heartbeat irregularities, dehydration, and lack of energy. It can be very serious and even life-threatening.
It’s not always clear what causes it. In dogs, there are quite a few potential causes of pancreatitis, such as obesity, toxins, infection, high-fat diet, and liver disease. If dogs eat a large amount of high-fat food at once (such as lots of scraps from the table on Thanksgiving), especially when they’re not used to it, this can also trigger pancreatitis. Certain breeds are also more prone to the issue.
In cats, pancreatitis is not caused by diet. Sometimes, it’s impossible to discover the cause. However, possible causes can be inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease, diabetes, abdominal trauma, organophosphate insecticide exposure, and infections (such as feline distemper). It occurs more commonly in certain breeds, like the Siamese, and in older cats and female cats.
How is Pancreatitis Treated?
Effective pancreatitis treatment depends on noticing and treating the symptoms as soon as possible.
Treatment for Cats
Non-severe pancreatitis is treated simply by keeping the cat alive and supporting their bodies so that the issue can resolve itself at the vet’s office. Allowing the pancreas to heal itself means refraining from giving the cat food or water, while offering IV fluids (to maintain fluid and electrolyte levels). Because pancreatitis is so painful, painkillers often are given as well. Sometimes antibiotics (if there is an infection present) and/or anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal or anti-vomiting medications will also be needed.
Treatment for Dogs
Pancreatitis can be treated similarly as in cats, using fluid therapy and electrolyte and potassium supplements, as well as colloids (which move blood flow through the veins/arteries). Dogs are also prevented from consuming food and water to allow the pancreas to rest. Activity is limited. Anti-vomiting drugs, antibiotics, and painkillers may also be given. In very severe instances of pancreatitis, may be needed as well.Most of the standard treatments for pancreatitis are relatively conservative and therefore low-risk. However, anti-vomiting drugs, painkillers, and antibiotics all have their own side effects. Additionally, if your pet will be undergoing surgery, it’s important to note that surgery always involves risks. Either way, be sure to discuss these risks in detail with your vet before moving forward with any treatm