PRACTICAL RELEVANCE: Feline triaditis describes concurrent pancreatitis, cholangitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The reported prevalence is 17-39% in ill referral patients. While the aetiology is poorly understood, it is known to include infectious, autoimmune and physical components. What is not known is whether different organs are affected by different diseases, or the same process; indeed, triaditis may be part of a multiorgan inflammatory disease. Feline gastrointestinal tract anatomy plays its role too. Specifically, the short small intestine, high bacterial load and anatomic feature whereby the pancreatic duct joins the common bile duct before entering the duodenal papilla all increase the risk of bacterial reflux and parenchymal inflammation. Inflammation may also be a sequela of bowel bacterial translocation and systemic bacteraemia.
DIAGNOSTIC CHALLENGES: Cholangitis, pancreatitis and IBD manifest with overlapping, vague and non-specific clinical signs. Cholangitis may be accompanied by increased serum liver enzymes, total bilirubin and bile acid concentrations, and variable ultrasonographic changes. A presumptive diagnosis of pancreatitis is based on increased serum pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity or feline pancreas-specific lipase, and/or abnormal pancreatic changes on ultrasonography, though these tests have low sensitivity. Diagnosis of IBD is challenging without histopathology; ultrasound findings vary from normal to mucosal thickening or loss of layering. Triaditis may cause decreased serum folate or cobalamin (B12) concentrations due to intestinal disease and/or pancreatitis. Triaditis can only be confirmed with histopathology; hence, it remains a presumptive diagnosis in most cases.
EVIDENCE BASE: The literature on feline triaditis, pancreatitis, cholangitis and IBD is reviewed, focusing on histopathology, clinical significance and diagnostic challenges. Current management recommendations are provided. Further studies are needed to understand the complex pathophysiology, and in turn improve diagnosis and treatment.
- inflammatory bowel disease