Feline Neuroendocrine Epithelial Tumors
Feline tumors arising from the neuroendocrine epithelium of hepatic and biliary tissues have been reported.45 The average age is 9 years, and males are overrepresented . The clinical signs are similar to those seen with other hepatobiliary diseases however, less than 30% of cats have a palpable abdominal mass . More than 50% of cats with biliary neuroendocrine tumors are icteric, with elevations in AST, ALP, and ALT activities. Conversely, cats with hepatic neuroendocrine tumors rarely have marked biochemical changes.
Table 4 Selected Clinical Features of Primary Feline Hepatobiliary Tumors*
Treatment for feline neuroendocrine tumors remains anecdotal, but attempted surgical resection has been reported. In one study, more than 80% of cats died or were euthanized soon after surgery. Metastasismost often involving the lymph nodes, lungs, or intestines or with evidence of peritoneal carcinomatosiswas identified in all the cats in which necropsy information was available.45
What Should I Expect If My Cat Has Been Diagnosed With Cancer
Every case is different, and the treatments have different outcomes some might have side effects. With chemotherapy, you will be asked to take extra precautions to not come into contact with your pets urine or faeces after they received treatment. Risk of significant exposure is unlikely but certain people are more at risk (those who are pregnant or breast feeding, children, people trying to conceive, immunocompromised people
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.
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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:
Cancer In Cats May Be Treated With A Combination Of Therapies
There is no one treatment that is best for all cancers. Your vet will more than likely choose the best combination of feline cancer treatments while considering your cat’s quality of life.
A combination of treatments is usually more effective than using just one type. For example, doses of several different chemotherapy drugs make it less likely that your cat’s cancer will become resistant to one drug. It’s also possible to target different places in the body where the cancer may have spread.
Your vet may use surgery and radiation to treat cancer that is localized to one place in your cat’s body. Chemotherapy and radiation are often used to shrink tumors so they can be removed surgically. Or these two therapies may be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that couldn’t be removed.
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Complications Of Liver Disease
Hepatic encephalopathy is a neurologic syndrome caused by liver dysfunction and is seen in a number of liver diseases. Signs suggestive of hepatic encephalopathy include dullness, circling, head pressing, aimless wandering, weakness, poor coordination, blindness, excessive drooling, behavior changes , dementia, collapse, seizures, and coma. Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy includes supportive care and rapid reduction of the poisons being produced by the digestive tract. Severely affected cats can be comatose or semicomatose and should not be fed until their status improves. Treatment is likely to include intravenous fluids to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Enemas may be used to cleanse the intestines of ammonia and other poisons and to introduce nutrients that help decrease poison production. Medications to affect the bacterial populations in the gut may also be used to reduce the absorption of toxic products. Once the cat has been stabilized, treatment helps prevent recurrence. A protein-modified restricted diet may be prescribed. The signs of hepatic encephalopathy can be worsened by intestinal bleeding, infections, certain drugs , cancer, low blood sugar, fever, kidney disease, dehydration, and constipation. Your veterinarian may prescribe additional treatments to address these concerns.
Does Cancer Cause Pain In Cats
There are different ways cancer could cause cats pain, for example if the tumour is enlarged and pressing on other areas of the body or if the tumour becomes ulcerated which might occur with squamous cell carcinomas. Both your referring vet and our specialists will discuss ways to appropriately manage the pain.
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Is Cancer Treatable In Cats And How Is It Treated
The majority of cancers in cats are treatable but only rarely is treatment curative. We aim to prolong life maintaining a good quality of life. Some patients will receive chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy or a combination of those treatments to achieve this. We often refer to these treatments as definitive. In very advanced cases we sometimes opt for palliative treatment making the patient comfortable and slowing down tumour progression as best as possible.
What Is Metastatic Cancer Of The Liver
Metastatic cancer of the liver means that the cancer found in your dog’s liver has spread from somewhere else in your dog’s body. Some of the most common cancers which can lead to metastatic liver cancer in dogs include: lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, intestinal carcinoma, thyroid cancer, osteosarcoma, mast cell tumors, transitional cell sarcoma, mammary carcinoma, and hemangiosarcoma.
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Types Of Cat Liver Disease
There are four categories for types of liver disease in cats. These include:
All of these types of feline liver disease have extremely similar symptoms, so you cannot tell these apart based on how your cat feels.
Inflammatory means there is inflammation somewhere in the liver. This can be primary or secondary. Primary inflammation means that the liver itself is the reason for the inflammation. However, the liver may be inflamed because of other conditions or even because other nearby or related organs are inflamed. The most common inflammatory liver condition in cats is called cholangiohepatitis, which is primary inflammation involving the gallbladder. These conditions range from mild to severe.
Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver disease, is when individual liver cells store too much fat, which stops the liver from being able to metabolize food for energy. While overweight cats are at a higher risk of developing this condition , cats of healthy weight can also develop lipidosis. When this condition is diagnosed, it is usually considered moderate to severe.
Cancer is a possible cause of liver disease in cats and is usually severe.
Infectious liver disease can be caused by a variety of pathogens and is the least common cause of liver disease in cats. It can be mild to severe.
Which Dogs Are Most Susceptible To Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is most often diagnosed in older dogs, but can also affect younger dogs. Hepatocellular carcinoma has not been linked to any specific breeds however, breeds that are predisposed to other types of cancer that can metastasize to the liver include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Poodles and Rottweilers.
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Natural Treatments For Cats And Dogs With Liver Problems
In addition to milk thistle, there are several other nutrients which are beneficial to the liver:
- Curcumin/Turmeric Extract â A potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
- Dimethyglycine â An amino acid that helps rebuild liver cells and encourages the elimination of toxins in the body.
- SAMe – S-Adenosylmethionine Supports liver function through methylation and formation of glutathione.
- Vitamin E – Protects the liver from copper accumulation
- Vitamin B12 â An important vitamin needed for proper digestion and absorption of food.
- Methionine â An amino acid needed for proper detoxification of the liver. Methionine helps metabolize fats, preventing their build-up in the liver. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps maintain glutathione. Glutathione is the liver’s most important detoxifier.
- N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine â An amino acid that is aids in the removal of toxins from the liver.
- Artichoke – Artichoke Leaf helps to normalize liver metabolism and promote bile flow
- Dandelion – Dandelion leaf encourages proper liver function by suppressing fat accumulation in the liver.
- Natrium Phosphate – A tissue salt that helps to assimilate fats and promote the flow of bile from the gall bladder.
- Natrium Sulphate – A tissue salt often recommended to detoxify the liver.
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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Diagnosis Of Liver Cancer In Cats
Because the symptoms of liver cancer resemble those of other conditions, your veterinarian will have to perform a full diagnostic workup to identify the cause of liver dysfunction.
The clinical signs of liver cancer are typically indistinguishable from other liver diseases, such as liver infection, inflammatory hepatitis, and gallbladder disease. Therefore, your veterinarian will need to perform a thorough diagnostic workup to determine the cause of your cats liver dysfunction.
The first step in addressing potential liver disease is a thorough physical exam.
Your veterinarian will perform a complete head-to-tail exam of your cat, including palpation of the abdomen. If your cat has a large, solitary liver tumor, your veterinarian may be able to feel this mass within the abdomen. Your veterinarian will also examine your cat carefully for signs of jaundice, as well as other signs of liver disease or other illnesses.
Blood tests, including a complete blood cell count and serum biochemistry, will also be performed.
Elevations in your cats liver enzymes, including alkaline phosphatase , alanine transferase , aspartame aminotransferase , and gamma glutamyl transferase , are often the first indications of liver disease. Other bloodwork abnormalities may also be observed, depending upon the underlying disease.
If laboratory tests suggest that your cat liver disease, imaging is often the next step.
How Is Cancer Diagnosed
You or your vet may suspect cancer to be an underlying cause of the clinical signs your cat is showing. However, the clinical signs and examination by your vet alone are not sufficient to be able to diagnose the condition.
Additional investigations in the form of radiographs or ultrasound examination are often needed to identify the location and/or the extent of any tumour, but the diagnosis of cancer can only be made by the microscopic examination of tissues by an experienced pathologist. This will usually necessitate a biopsy by your vet, although in some cases it may be possible to make a diagnosis from either a fine needle aspirate or a needle biopsy .
Occasionally other techniques are also used to obtain samples of the suspected abnormal cells so that a diagnosis can be made. Blood samples are a routine part of the investigation of any suspected cancer patient partly to detect any adverse effects of the cancer, and partly to detect the presence of any other disease.
With some cancers, occasionally more sophisticated techniques may be required to either make the diagnosis, or to plan the most appropriate treatment. Computed axial tomography or magnetic resonance imaging are becoming more widely available for pets and can be very valuable, especially, for example, in the diagnosis of brain tumours, and in assessing the extent of tumour invasion.
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What Is The Difference Between Stage And Grade
Staging describes a tumours size and how far the tumour has spread from the original mass . It can often be determined by your vet using diagnostic imaging and sampling techniques Grading is usually done by a veterinary pathologist and gives information on the appearance of the cells when looked at under a microscope. There are different methods of grading tumours, but they all aim to classify how different the tumour cells are from normal, healthy cells, and therefore gives us important information about potential prognosis for a patient.
Treatment For Cancer In Cats
The best treatment will depend on the type of cancer, where the cancer is and the overall health of your cat. It also depends on you and your situation. Going forward with cancer treatment can be a roller coaster ride with many up days and down days. And it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes no treatment is a good option.
Cancer may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Often a combination of treatments is used. Let’s look at these a bit more.
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The Different Elements And Nutrition In Traditional Chinese Medicine
To help someone that is sick maintain good health with traditional Chinese medicine, one must take into account the harmony between the five elements, also called the five movements.
Each element is associated with one or more organs. For example, fire represents the heart and water represents the kidneys. There is also wood, metal and earth.
To promote the health of your cat with cancer using Chinese medicine, you will need to pay attention to its diet. The balance between the two opposing forces of Yin and Yang is essential for achieving good health.
A vet specializing in Chinese medicine will be able to guide you in selecting an appropriate diet for your cat, according to its energy balance.
Foods are characterized by their nature and their flavor . Depending on the organs affected by the disease, the vet will recommend specific foods to try to restore the balance of your cats vital energy.
Liver Problems In Cats: An Overview
The liver is a very vital organ to our cats overall health. It breaks down nutrients from food into energy and medications into effective treatments. Vitamins and minerals are stored in the liver until a cats body needs them. It has many roles in metabolismmeaning the liver helps many processes that are crucial to staying alive.
The liver is found just underneath a cats rib cage. A muscle called the diaphragm separates the chest and the abdomen . Between the diaphragm and the stomach is the liver. The gallbladder is a structure within the liver, filled with bile that breaks down food. The liver looks like a round, smooth organ with reddish-brown coloration and multiple parts to it, called lobes.
Because the liver provides so many critical processes, if the liver is diseased, it affects the whole body. Energy from food declines, vitamins and minerals are unavailable, the body cannot effectively process medications, bleeding doesnt stop, and more.
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Recovery Of Liver And Spleen Cancer In Cats
Your pets prognosis will depend on several factors. In the case of benign tumors or those that can easily be surgically removed, the prognosis is usually good. Inoperable cancers generally have a poor prognosis. Your cat may require a special diet and additional care while recovering from liver or spleen cancer. Be sure to follow all of your veterinarians instructions, including those related to medications, nutrition, and follow-up visits. It will be beneficial to your pet to keep their food, water, and litter nearby so they can limit their mobility, especially while recovering from surgery.
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Liver and Spleen Cancer Average Cost
From 310 quotes ranging from $3,000 – $8,000
Treatment Options For Cancer In Cats
Some treatments are widely available in general practice, while others are only available at specialist centres. Depending on what tumour has been diagnosed, your vet may sometimes suggest referring your cat to a specialist with expert knowledge and a greater range of treatment options. There are three main forms of therapy for cancer:
Which treatment is used for any individual cat will depend on factors such as:
- The type of cancer
- The site of the cancer
- The presence of metastases
- What is appropriate for your cat
- What is available/accessible to you
If you have any doubts or questions, ask your vet for more information.
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