Common Causes Of Cancer In Pets
Genetics might play a role in whether or not your pet acquires cancer. Bigger dogs, for example, are more prone to acquiring bone cancer than smaller dogs. There are also certain breeds that have a reputation for being susceptible to cancers of various kinds, which is why, whenever you acquire a lovable furry friend, you want to find out all you can about their medical reputation and how you as their owner can help them to stay as healthy as possible!
While we do not have time to examine every breed in this article, there are some cancers that may affect any breed.
As was mentioned in one of our former blogs regarding spaying and neutering, there is some evidence that having your male or female pet neutered/spayed at a young age can help prevent them from getting certain types of cancer.
In female pets, spaying can preclude the possibility of acquiring uterine or ovarian cancer. Likewise, in male pets, neutering can help prevent the possibility of your pet acquiring testicular cancer. That being said, one can see that having a dog or cat who has not been neutered or spayed can mean that the risk for this type of cancer does exist.
The simplest preventative is to monitor how much time your at-risk pet spends outside in the sun.
Recovery Of Stomach And Intestinal Cancer In Cats
Your cat will typically be hospitalized for two days following surgery, and will receive intravenous fluid therapy during this recovery period. Your vet may prescribe anti-vomiting and pain management medication, as well as antacids to prevent stomach ulcers.
On the return home, ensure that your cat has a warm, secure place to rest. Youll need to limit activity for up to three weeks to allow for adequate recovery, and dont allow the cat to irritate the surgery site. If you notice any bleeding, swelling, or irritation of the surgery site, contact your vet immediately.
If your cat requires chemotherapy which will be recommended for most malignant tumors the vet will schedule follow-up appointments to administer chemotherapeutic drugs via injection. These treatments will begin two weeks after surgery and will occur once every two to three weeks for up to five sessions.
Prognosis will depend on the aggressiveness and stage of the cancer at the time of operation, as well as the success of the operation itself. Surgery may be completely curative for benign tumors. Malignant gastrointestinal cancers tend to have a poorer prognosis and a higher recurrence rate.
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Stomach and Intestinal Cancer Average Cost
From 352 quotes ranging from $3,000 – $10,000
What Is It And How Is It Diagnosed
Cancer is a term used to describe disease that is caused by a tumour a collection of abnormal cells within the body that continue to grow and divide without control. This usually results in the development of masses , which are mainly composed of the abnormal dividing cells.
Some tumours do not spread to other parts of the body and tend not to invade other surrounding tissues these are termed benign tumours.
In contrast to this, the term cancer is generally used to describe malignant tumours, which often do invade surrounding normal healthy tissue, and may spread to other sites in the body , typically spreading via the blood stream or lymphatic system.
Because of their more aggressive and invasive nature, malignant tumours are generally more serious than benign tumours, often causing more serious and extensive disease, and are generally more difficult to treat.
Overall, cats suffer with neoplasia less frequently than dogs. Neoplasms may perhaps be seen less than half as frequently in cats compared with dogs. However, when cats do develop tumours they are much more likely to be malignant and therefore much more likely to cause serious disease.
The most common sites of cancer in cats include the skin, the white blood cells , the mouth, the stomach and intestines and the mammary glands.
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What Is Stomach Cancer In Cats
Cancer refers to the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body. Stomach cancer, then, refers to a cancerous mass that grows within the stomach. Stomach cancer in cats may occur as an isolated mass, or may be a component of more widespread disease that affects the entire digestive tract.
There are several different types of cancer that can affect the stomach. Each type of stomach cancer has a different prognosis and will best respond to different types of treatment. Therefore, accurately diagnosing the type of stomach cancer is essential for treatment.
A Unique Problem: The Feline Leukemia Virus
The Feline Leukemia Virus is a unique concern for kitties. Our strategic partner the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® notes that FeLV is one of the most common causes of illness and death in house cats. The virus can severely depress a cats immune system, leading to an aggressive form of cancer called lymphosarcoma.
FeLV is transmissible through bodily fluids and is often contracted through shared food and water bowls, and by direct contact with other infected cats. The ASPCA® suggests that all cat owners should test their fuzzy friend for FeLV and take advantage of a vaccine that helps protect their pet from infection.
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Questions To Ask Before Treatment Begins
Treatment for cancer in cats can be quite disruptive and stressful for the animal. Before any lengthy treatments start you might want to ask your vet the following questions:
- Whats the prognosis without treatment?
- Do you think the cancer is likely to spread or come back after this treatment?
- What are my options in terms of treatments and what are the risks?
- Will my cat fully recover and have a normal life after treatment? If not, how might their life be affected? Will I have to make changes at home?
- How should I get my cat ready for surgery?
- What changes might I see in my cat after treatment?
- Whats my cats life expectancy after treatment?
If you do decide to proceed with treatment, your cat insurance policy with Purely Pets will tell you exactly whats covered.
When To Say Goodbye To Your Dying Cat
So how do you know when its time to say goodbye to your dying cat? Choosing to let your furry friend go is one of the hardest decisions in pet ownership, especially when you are unaware of the signs to look for.
To help you make the most informed decision for your cat, we will get into the signs of when you know its time to say goodbye.
- No longer eating
- Chronic vomiting or diarrhea that wont resolve
- Extremely weak or always sleeping
- No longer getting up to use the litterbox
- Extreme weight loss
- No longer responding to supplementary veterinary care
If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be their way of telling you they are ready to let go.
Euthanizing your cat can be the kindest thing you can do for them at this point, as they may only continue to suffer as the time passes. If you are ever unsure of what is best for your feline friend, your veterinarian can offer the guidance you need.
Saying goodbye to our feline companions is hard, but it can be the purest form of love when they begin to suffer. Be sure to review the information we discussed above on the signs of a dying cat, and you can better understand your senior cat going forward.
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Spotting Cat Cancer Symptoms
First and foremost, fighting cancer in cats begins with spotting symptoms of the disease while it is still in the early stages. However, spotting symptoms can be tricky because cats are very good at hiding illness. Many forms of cat cancer can be externally noticed. Therefore, periodically inspecting your feline friend is key to spotting cancer symptoms. Some of the more common cat cancer symptoms include:
- Any lump that changes shape or size
- Any sore that does not heal
- Change in bowel or bladder habits
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Unexplained bleeding or discharge from body
- Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
- Oral odor
Should you spot any symptoms, we urge you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Only then can they perform the necessary diagnostic tests to determine whether or not cancer is present, and to what extent. Cat cancer can be aggressive, and requires immediate intervention. If cancer is diagnosed early, the prognosis for recovery increases significantly.
How To Know If Your Cat Is Dying
This article was co-authored by Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD. Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota, where she has over 18 years of experience as a veterinarian in a rural clinic. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 60 testimonials and 91% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,227,961 times.
A cat nearing the end of his or her life may exhibit certain behaviors that will let you know it’s almost time. The cat may refuse to eat or drink, have a lower energy level and experience weight loss. Many cats instinctively seek out solitude during their final days. Recognizing the signs that your cat is dying will help you provide the best possible end-of-life care for your pet.
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Cancer In Cats: Types Symptoms Prevention And Treatment
WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about cancer in cats.
Although cancer isnt as common in cats as it is in dogs, it still affects a number of our feline friends. And because cats have a tendency to mask illnesses, it can be harder to detect. This often leads to later diagnoses and more difficult and costly treatments. So we talked to Dave Ruslander, a veterinary oncologist and past president of the Veterinary Cancer Society, about feline cancers and the latest treatments for cats diagnosed with the disease.
Q: How common is cancer in cats? What are some of the more common cancers found in cats?
A: Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs. Its probably half the rate that we see in dogs. But when we see cancer in cats, it tends to be a more aggressive form.
One of the most common cancers we see in cats is lymphoma, which is associated with the feline leukemia virus . Even though theres a vaccine for feline leukemia now, we still see a number of cats that have been exposed to it, and exposure greatly increases a cats chance of developing feline lymphoma.
We also see oral squamous carcinoma, similar to what people get. We see a tumor called fibrosarcoma, or soft tissue sarcoma, which is a tumor developing in muscle or in the connective tissue of the body. Thats the one associated with injections and vaccinations, which some people call injection-site sarcoma.
Q: What are some of the symptoms of feline cancers?
How Long Can Cats Live With Stomach Cancer
The prognosis for a cat with stomach cancer depends on the type of cancer and how advanced the cancer is at the time of diagnosis. A cat with gastric lymphoma can be expected to survive an average of six months with chemotherapy, although a cat that initially responds favorably to chemotherapy can be expected to survive for over a year, on average.
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How Do I Know When My Cat Is Going To Die
Signs Your Cat Is Dying
Chronic Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
If you havent made any changes in your pets exercise schedule or food intake, but they continue to lose or gain weight, they have an underlying illness. A large mass in the abdomen can make your pet look bloated, despite sucking nutrition from the rest of the body, and leaving your pet bony and thin in other areas. Cancers that do not create large growths, but still continue to sap your pets nutrition, can lead to drastic weight loss. Any changes in your pets weight, both sudden and gradual, should be evaluated.
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Does My Cat Have A Brain Tumor
Many brain tumors can be difficult to detect without proper testing and can display similar symptoms to ear infections or other conditions. Often times, symptoms can continue to increase and a diagnosis may be delayed. Time is of the essence and understanding the signs and symptoms of a brain tumor is vital for early detection.
What Is A Tumour And When Is It Cancerous
A tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells that forms a lump. Sometimes these lumps can disrupt organs and make them not function properly and when this happens, it can be incredibly serious for your pet. There are two types of tumours benign and malignant. Benign tumours stay where they are first formed, meaning they are not actually cancerous and are generally relatively straightforward to treat, depending on the placement. The other type of tumour is called a malignant tumour, these are cancerous and can be aggressive and invasive as they spread throughout the body. These types can be serious and may be quite difficult to treat.
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In Older Cats The Odds Of Getting Cancer Are About 50/50
Its estimated that 50 percent of dogs and cats over the age of 10 will have cancer, says Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM , of the Veterinary Cancer Center in Norwalk, Connecticut, and co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Cancer is a disease of age so, as in people, the older we get, the greater the chance that well have cancer. One of the problems is that our pets are living longer so were seeing more cancer. However, cancer can affect a cat of any age, even young and middle-aged cats.
Telltale Signs That Your Cat Has Cancer
Surprisingly, cancer is the leading cause of death among cats that are old. An uncontrolled growth of cells is normally the cause of cancer in cats and it affects several body organs and cells.
Though its exact cause has not officially identified, scientists suspect that the major contributor of cancer in cats is an organism called feline leukemia virus. However, there are factors known to increase the rates of cancer in cats such as second-hand smoking and excessive licking of body parts that have been in contact with a toxin.
Now, before being able to identify these signs and symptoms, it is important to know that there are different types of feline cancer. Therefore, it is also worth noting that the signs and symptoms might be different according to the different types. Cancer in cats can occur in any part of the body and a lot of the times the symptoms can be detected externally. Check if your cat has fallen victim to cancer by looking out for the following symptoms:
Occasional lumps and bumps can be common in cats. This means that not all lumps can be caused by cancerous cells so there is no foolproof way to tell for sure. However, if the bump does not resolve itself over an extended period of time or if it seems to be growing in size, this is most likely a red flag. Consult a vet. A needle biopsy is conducted by a veterinary pathologist to be able to tell whether or not your cat has cancer.
Wounds that heal slowly
Rapid weight loss
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Diagnosis Of Urinary Bladder Cancer In Cats
Diagnosing urinary bladder cancer in cats begins with a physical examination, blood tests and urinalysis to rule out the possibility of a urinary bladder infection. However, a urinalysis can also detect the signs of urinary cancer too, as traces of cancer cells can occasionally be found in the urine. A felines blood work often has a normal result even if he or she does have urinary cancer, but a blood analysis is helpful to evaluate other organs the cancer may be affecting. Your veterinarian may choose to perform a VBTA test, or veterinary bladder tumor antigen test, a type of urine screening test to detect a bladder tumor. The VBTA test will either show a positive or negative result. If the result is positive, your veterinarian may proceed to perform the following diagnostic exams:
An ultrasound of the abdomen can help the veterinarian determine the size, location and activity of the tumor inside the bladder.
An x-ray may be used to detect where the cancer has spread throughout the body, but may prove ineffective for locating the bladder tumor itself without a highlighting element .
A cystogram is a test that introduces a special dye that will highlight the insides of the cat and highlight the tumor on x-ray.
Once the tumor is located, a biopsy can be taken from the mass to evaluate if it is malignant or benign.
How Is Stomach Cancer In Cats Treated
Your vet may be able to perform surgery to remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. However, keep in mind that the effectiveness of surgical treatment will depend on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
After your cat is initially diagnosed with stomach or intestinal cancer, further diagnostic testing may be required to help your vet establish the extent of your cats condition, along with best treatment options.
If your cat has been diagnosed with stomach or intestinal cancer, our veterinary oncology team at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Matthews can offer cutting-edge advanced diagnostics, surgery, and more. Our veterinary oncologists are committed to caring for and treating pets with cancer.
They work closely with our board-certified radiation oncologists, in addition to other specialists to help determine the best possible treatment outcomes for your cats specific circumstances.
We are also experienced in offering support for pet parents and families. We thoroughly review your pets medical history and diagnosis, then sit with you to explain the disease, staging and any additional diagnostics required, treatment options, side effects and prognosis.
Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapies, chemotherapy or other targeted therapies or palliative care where appropriate.
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