Cancer Treatment For Cats
The first key to cancer treatment for cats is proper diagnosis. At Indian Trail Animal Hospital, we begin with a full physical exam. We commonly look at blood work and when necessary employ the use of diagnostic imaging such as radiography or ultrasound. We will also perform needle aspirates, which is a diagnostic test where a needle is inserted into the tumor to collect cells for use in determining tumor type. This can be a non-painful and minimally invasive method used for diagnosis. Some tumor types require a core biopsy under anesthesia for diagnosis. In certain cases, cancer specialists may be employed for further diagnostic testing and to be part of our team in treating your cat’s cancer.
Communication with you is important throughout the process of diagnosis and treatment. This includes discussing all possible cancer treatment options for your cat, and the various possible outcomes. Our number one concern is the best interest of your cat. We also evaluate the costs involved, your expectations, possible lifestyle changes, and any possible side effects of treatment to ensure that you are able to make informed decisions.
Treating cancer in cats varies greatly depending on the location and stage of the cat cancer. Traditional cat cancer treatments may involve:
- Oral medication
- Surgical reduction or removal of the tumor
- Intravenous chemotherapy
What To Feed A Cat With Cancer That Is Not Eating
For a cat who refuses to eat, we all tend to offer a variety of delicious table food to encourage them. However, you must be careful doing this as it can cause diarrhea and worsen their condition by causing dehydration.
If your cat seems to be nauseous , you can try to feed it table food, but without giving all the leftovers from your supper!
I recommend starting with something tasteless and easily digestible, such as a plate of boiled chicken and white rice. Food that does not taste or smell will be more easily accepted by a nauseous cat.
General Symptoms Of Cancer In Cats
Symptoms vary by patient and type of cancer, and they can occur at varying paces in cats.
They may be gradual and progress over weeks to months, or more acute and rapid. Any new or ongoing changes should be evaluated by the vet accordingly, says Dr. Lachowicz.
Also look for gastrointestinal symptoms: Pay attention to what is in the litter box, for changes in the consistency, color and odor of feces, as well as urine output, says Dr. Arteaga.
Keep in mind that these symptoms dont necessarily indicate cancer. Only your veterinarian can make a proper diagnosis.
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What Can I Do For A Cat That Is Underweight
For cats that are underweight, you may need to consider giving them a supplement. It only takes a small amount of weight-loss for a cat to be in dangerous territory. If your sick cat is consistently losing weight, then you may need to consider adding a supplement to your diet to get more calories in them. Wysong also has an excellent product called PDG. This is a power made of nutritious organ meats. Its very calorie dense, and you can sprinkle it on your cats food in order to help them maintain weight. It can also be force fed if you get to a point where your cat has no appetite at all and simply refuses to eat.
You can do this by mixing the powder with a bit of water to form a paste and then administering it with a feeding syringe. However, its pretty attractive to cats, and even putting a bit on their tongue with your finger may be enough to entice them to begin eating again on their own. You can learn more about this product here if your cat needs help maintaining their weight. If your cat loses a lot of weight in a short time and you cant seem to get it under control, then its time to go to the vet. Dont wait around, because it could become life threatening for your pet surprisingly quickly.
Its More Important That Cats With Cancer Eat Than What They Eat
Even though feeding an optimal ratio of protein, fat and carbs is ideal, this is not the time to force a diet change. While dry food may be the worst possible nutritional choice for a cat with cancer, it is an option if its the only thing your cat will eat.
Cats with cancer may become finicky about eating, and encouragement may be needed. Adding incentives such as freeze dried meat treats, tuna juice, small pieces of cooked meat, or nutritional yeast can all help encourage cats who have lost their appetite. For more information, read How to Get Finicky Cats to Eat.
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We Gave Preference To Moisture
Our cats ancestors were desert dwellers. They lived in arid environments where fresh prey was often the best source of moisture. A mouse is about 70% water and a fine source of hydration for a desert cat hours away from the nearest watering hole.
Because fresh water was scarce, early wild cats evolved to have low thirst drives and a natural inclination to get their water from the moisture-rich bodies of their prey. This means that they typically dont drink enough water to compensate for moisture-depleted dry food.
Cancer Causing Chemicals In Pet Food Danger Ignored In Fda Acrylamide Update
Do you ever have this creepy feeling that, just maybe, commercial pet food isnt all its cracked up to be? Are you suspicious of pet food company claims that your dog or cat wouldnt be healthy unless they ate food that came out of a tin can or a paper bag?
If youve been wavering on the pet food fence, now, theres another reason to make the move to a healthier pet food and wean your pets off highly processed food: Cutting down on canned food and kibble can also help you cut down on the amount of cancer causing acrylamide you feed your cat or dog.
And thats a good thing.
Because high levels of acrylamide have been found to cause cancer in animals, and on that basis scientists believe it is likely to cause cancer in humans as well.
Just last week, the US Food and Drug Administration posted yet another update about their concern over the cancer causing chemical acrylamide in food, expressing their concern said:
Acrylamide in food is a concern because it can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.
GUIDANCE FOR PET PARENTS
Even though the FDA didnt mention the dietary risk of acrylamides in pet food, the advice they give humans to cut back on foods that are likely to contain acrylamides can be applied to what you feed your dogs and cats as well especially if it is something your pets consume on a regular basis.
Why is acrylamide such a worrisome chemical?
Thats a bad thing.
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Treatment Of Cancer In Cats
It is always extremely difficult when you learn that your cat has developed cancer.
There are often feelings of bewilderment and even guilt , and it inevitably takes time to come to terms with the disease. Although for most tumours the underlying cause is simply unknown, for many , treatment may be available that will significantly improve both the quality and length of life for the cat.
While a diagnosis of cancer is never good news, it is not necessarily a death sentence for a cat. Just as in human medicine, many treatment options are available, although not all cancers respond well to therapy and some may be extremely difficult to manage. The cats quality of life and potential suffering must always be the overriding concern it is worthwhile discussing the options available in depth with your vet before arriving at any decision.
The choice of whether or not to treat, and what to treat with, will depend on many factors. Some forms of therapy are only available at specialist centres, and your vet may suggest that he or she refers you to one of these places.
Signs Of Cancer In Cats
Unfortunately, cancer in cats, like so many other feline diseases, can be hard to detect. Like her wild ancestors, your cat is an expert at hiding her discomfort. After all, a sick cat in the wild is more likely to be preyed upon.
The signs of cancer also aren’t at all straightforward . Except for obvious lumps and other superficial lesions, they tend to be non-specific and similar to the signs of other kinds of internal disease. Here are the most common signs of cancer in cats:
- Weight loss: Losing weight in spite of no obvious change in appetite is among the most common signs cat parents should look out for.
- Poor appetite: Any change in appetite is a red flag that calls for immediate veterinary attention.
- Changes in eating style: Eating messily or chewing with one side of the mouth can be the sign of an oral tumor.
- Lethargy: Moving around less or hiding behavior is common in sick cats.
- Lumps, bumps and skin lesions: These are the most obvious but not the most common.
- Vomiting and diarrhea: Cancer in cats often affects the digestive system.
- Breathing changes: Any changes in respiration are cause for concern. Some cancers can cause fluid or inflammation in or around the lungs.
Any of these should motivate a cat parent to take their pet to the vet immediately.
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Supplements For Cats With Cancer
Vet recommended supplements for cats fighting cancer
Vet recommended supplements for cats with cancer.
Supplements for Cats With Cancer
Though there are supplements that can help cats and dogs in their fight against cancerincluding medicinal mushrooms, lactoferrin, ashwagandha, green tea extract, milk thistle, and turmericthey dont often get used for cats due to the taste and aroma, says Dr. Katherine Kramer, Medical Director at VCA-Canada Vancouver Animal Wellness Hopsital and Director of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine. Cats are so much more difficult to medicate and often cats with cancer are not eating well anyway so I hesitate to add anything that may cause them to turn away from food, Dr. Kramer says. For cats I find I rely more on CBD and essential fatty acids but I do have some cats that will take TCVM herbs.
Here are the supplements vet Dr. Katherine Kramer recommends for cats fighting cancer:
1. Omega-3 essential fatty acids serve as natural anti-inflammatories in cells. There is evidence that these fatty acids can reduce postoperative infections and acute radiation side effects in human cancer patients, as well as being able to kill cancer directly and reduce the proliferation of cancer cells. Multiple studies highlight the benefits of omega-3s for not only cancer, but many inflammatory diseases, says Dr. Kramer. It is important to look for a quality product and introduce it gradually since high doses can cause diarrhea.
Bladder Cancer In Cats
Fortunately, this type of tumor is very rare in cats. However, if a cat shows symptoms of a major UTI without resolution after treatment, it would be important to do additional tests to rule out cancer. The symptoms are very similar.
Male cats and those that are obese are more at risk of developing this kind of cancer.
It is known that between 50% and 70% of bladder tumors in cats are described as transitional cell carcinomas, referring to the cells that line the inner wall of the bladder.
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Breast Or Mammary Cancer In Cats
This type of cancer is very common in cats and affects its mammary glands. 85% of these tumors are reported to be malignant. Its a very aggressive cancer that requires surgery from the start. As in dogs, this type of cancer is more often seen in non-sterilized females, although it is possible in sterilized females.
In fact, sterilizing a female cat before the age of 6 months reduces her risk of developing breast tumors by 91%! Thats not insignificant, is it?!
Cats have 4 mammary glands on either side of their abdomen, and tumors can develop in any of these glands. Sometimes chains of tumors are found in this region too.
General And Palliative Care For The Cat With Cancer
As already noted, it is useful to keep a diary of your cats behaviour, appetite, and any abnormalities you observe, as well as a note of when you administer any medications. This will help you and your vet determine if any additional treatments or investigations are necessary.
Maintaining good nutritional intake is an important part of the supportive care for your cat with cancer, and offering a variety of foods can help to ensure that a good appetite is maintained. In general, good quality commercial foods are the best choice for a cat with cancer, although at times there may be some special dietary requirements to take into consideration. Warming the food may encourage the appetite, but occasionally, depending on the circumstances, temporary use of an appetite stimulant or a feeding tube may be needed to overcome poor food intake. Always talk to your vet if your cats appetite is reduced as this can indicate an underlying problem such as uncontrolled pain or side effects associated with the treatment being received.
Ensuring a good quality of life that is free from pain is the main goal in managing cats with cancer. Supportive therapy can be an important part of this, and such treatments may include use of:
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How To Treat Cancer In Cats
You are probably familiar with the conventional treatments used in humans, namely chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are also an option for our feline companions. Read on for natural options to help your cat through his fight against cancer, such as the PIPTOPET product and proper nutrition packed with antioxidants.
Studies Document The Dangers Of Environmental Tobacco Smoke For Cats
A study at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that felines exposed to cigarette smoke have a significantly higher risk for feline lymphoma than do cats in non-smoking homes.
80 cats who were suffering from cat lymphoma, and 100 who had kidney failure, were followed over seven years:
- Cats exposed to environmental tobacco smoke had more than twice the risk of developing feline lymphoma than did cats in non-smoking households.
- The risk of tumors in cats increased to three times higher if the kitty lived in a home with a smoker for five years.
- If a person smoked a pack a day or more of cigarettes, the risk of cancer in cats increased three times.
- If two or more smokers were present, the risk was four times higher.
Newer studies have shown that feline oral squamous cell carcinoma is much more common in cats living in homes with smokers. This is probably because they lick particulates from smoke off their fur, as mentioned above.
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Supplements: Appropriate For Veterinary Cancer Patients
Caregivers are often keen to provide immune-enhancing, health-boosting supplements to their pets diagnosed with cancer. Limited evidence-based studies are available to substantiate dosage, duration, timing, or risk versus benefit therefore, it is best to proceed with caution.Some supplements have been documented through clinical studies in the cancer patient:Omega-3 fatty acids, which include EPA and DHA, are recommended in various formats:
- Omega-3 fatty acids = > 5% dry matter3
- Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 = 1:1 to 2.5:13
- EPA/DHA = 450 mg/100 kcal of daily energy requirement calculated based on Hills Prescription Diet n/d nutrient profile
Antioxidants are contraindicated during ongoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Although oxidant-induced cellular damage is significant following completion of treatment protocol, human studies have reported conflicting results regarding AOX supplementation.16
- To date, no companion animal studies evaluating AOX supplementation have been reported.
Glutamine is a primary fuel for enterocytes that can become depleted during prolonged anorexichyporexic states, especially with associated GI stress. Many tumors exhibit high rates of GLN consumption.
- GLN has been shown to improve:17
- Protein balance in tumor-bearing animals
- Natural killer cell function.
My Pet Seems Interested In Food What Can I Do To Help Them Eat
Because the syndrome of cancer cachexia can involve more than decreased food intake, even the best efforts in encouraging a pet to eat may not prevent weight loss. This is because cancer can involve alterations in normal metabolism that are not overcome simply by providing calories and nutrients. Certain types of tumors can produce substances that affect energy and protein metabolism. The tumor itself competes for some of the nutrients that should be going to the patient. In addition, the patient’s immune system produces a variety of substances in response to the tumor. For the most part these are beneficial, but they can cause alterations in metabolism that result in decreased appetite, weight loss, and loss of muscle mass.
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Stomach Cancer In Cats
A tumor can develop in the stomach. There is also a type of lymphoma that affects the digestive system. In all cases, a cat with cancer in the stomach would show signs such as weight loss, vomiting and loss of appetite.
It is reported that the majority of stomach tumors are malignant, yet they have the ability to spread throughout the body and create what is called metastasis. This is never good news. Fortunately, these cancers are not common in our kitties.
Taste & Food Aversions
In humans, altered taste is a common side effect of chemotherapy that may be present, but challenging to ascertain, in pets. However, food aversions have been observed in pets undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. To help overcome these aversions:
Use glass or porcelain feed and water dishes in place of metal dishes, which reduces the metallic taste associated with platinum-based chemotherapies this taste is often reported by human cancer patients.15
Alternate the main protein source in the diet, which influences smell and taste and helps overcome aversions.
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