Do you know the most common forms of feline cancer and how to recognize them? As with humans, early detection of cancer can be critical for the health of your cat. Call your veterinarian if you suspect any of the following:
Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer in cats, particularly older cats. It often targets the small intestines. Having feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus may predispose your cat to lymphoma, as can exposure to secondhand smoke or a poor diet. Symptoms of lymphoma include diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and vomiting. Chemotherapy is the most common form of treatment.
Soft-Tissue Sarcomas are tumors found in a cat’s connective tissue, muscles, or nerve tissue. There are various forms of sarcomas, and they may be located in facial tissue as well as the chest, sides, back, and legs.
If you feel a mass on your cat, it could be a soft-tissue sarcoma and should be reported to your veterinarian. Other symptoms include limping, vomiting, and trouble with urinating. Surgery or radiation therapy may be indicated.
Squamous Cell Carcinomas are malignant tumors that often appear in the mouth and multiply—one of the many reasons why oral care by a veterinarian is essential. In addition, doctors have recommended that six-month checkups can be beneficial once a cat is 8 to 10 years old.
Watch for bad breath, weight loss, jaw swelling, bleeding from the mouth, problems eating, and general discomfort. A biopsy may be indicated along with surgery or radiation therapy.
Mammary Carcinoma can produce tumors anywhere from the armpit to the groin and spread to other parts of the body. The risk of mammary carcinoma increases if a cat is spayed after her first birthday, and Siamese cats are more prone to this form of cancer.
Let your veterinarian know if you feel a palpable mass in the stomach underneath the skin. Your cat may feel discomfort in that area, and the tumor may feel warm. A biopsy can determine if chemotherapy is indicated along with surgery.
General observations: The above list only the most common forms of feline cancer. Report anything unusual to your veterinarian, and always keep an eye on the litter box. Is there an unusual smell? Has the feces color changed? Is there a substantial amount of urine, or is your cat having difficulty urinating? Any of these may signify cancer or other ailments.
May your kitty be happy, healthy, and content. Thank you for being a fabulous pet owner!
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Note: This article provides a general summary. Armarket is not an expert, nor should this article be construed as medical advice. Diagnosis and treatment can vary and should be left in the hands of a qualified veterinarian or animal care specialist.
Source: Fitzsimmons, Paula. “Cancer in Cats: Symptoms, Types, and Treatment.” PetMD: https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/cancer/cancer-cats-symptoms-types-and-treatment-0