Triaditis in cats

by Alison Laurie, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness

Triaditis in cats as the term indicates consists of three concurrent conditions:  Pancreatitis, Inflammatory bowel disease and Cholangitis:

  • Pancreatitis: The pancreas is a small, delicate organ situated next to the duodenum the first part of the small intestine. The pancreas is a very important organ integral for the digestion of food, it produces enzymes to assist in the digestion of food and it produces insulin. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes irritated or inflamed. Pancreatitis in cats can be due to bacterial, viral or parasitic infections or sometimes a known dietary overload or change.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD or chronically inflamed intestines develop when cells from the immune system affects the intestinal walls. It can also be linked to recurrent gastrointestinal upsets, bacterial infections, genetic factors, and lymphoma.
  • Cholangitis: Cholangitis is the inflammation of the bile duct, the passageway that carries the bile fluid from the gall bladder to the small intestine. 

Triaditis can originate in any of the organs involved. Cats are prone to Triaditis; this is because their unique anatomy is part of the problem. Unlike dogs, a cat’s main bile duct and their pancreatic duct share one common opening to the small intestine. Ascending inflammation and/or infection from the bowel probably explains why it can be easy for this to spread from one organ to another. Triaditis symptoms can vary quite a lot from cat to cat in terms of its severity and depending on which clinical symptoms are present, as one or all of the "triad" can be involved.

If you observe any of the following symptoms in your cat, then do contact your vet for a check-up as soon as possible:

  • Vomiting 
  • A poor appetite or off food
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dull , unkempt coat
  • Hiding or a sudden change in behaviour


The three "traid" conditions: Pancreatitis, IBD and Cholangitis share many of these clinical symptoms, but there are a few symptoms that are more common with one illness.  For instance, abdominal pain is usually linked to pancreatitis, diarrhoea is most often associated with IBD, and jaundice is usually the result of cholangitis. Chronic Triaditis or repeated bouts can lead to chronic Liver, pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Chronic pancreatitis can cause pancreatic insufficiency and/or diabetes so it is very important to get this condition under some control with advised diets and treatment.

If you are concerned about your cat is displaying any of these symptoms then do contact us for a thorough check up.