Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Most Common Types of Cancer in Cats

The Most Common Types of Cancer in Cats

Many cat owners are surprised that felines and humans sometimes suffer from the same types of cancer.  What often astounds them is learning that one out of every five cats will develop a malignant condition.  Understanding the most common types of cat cancer and their signs helps prepare owners who visit an animal clinic in St. Clair Shores to decide on the best treatment options for their pets.

Most Common Feline Malignancies

Three kinds of cancer in cats are the most common:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma:  Cats are most likely to develop it on areas of the skin that remain exposed, such as the eyelids, nose, and ears.  Cats that are white and that reside in areas with a lot of sun face elevated risk.  Overall, the prognosis for this type of cancer is poor.  However, when it is related to sun exposure and treated at an early state, the results tend to be good.  While the most frequently used treatment is surgery, scientists are looking at new ways to treat cats with this condition to improve their quality of life.

  • Fibrosarcoma:  This type of aggressive malignancy forms in a cat’s fibrous connective tissues.  Veterinarians treat this type of malignancy with surgery, often combined with chemotherapy or radiation.

  • Lymphoma:  Lymphocytes are blood cells that fight infections.  Lymphoma results when these cells reproduce in an uncontrolled manner.  Tumors most often develop in a cat’s intestinal tract, lymph nodes, nasal cavity, liver, or kidneys.  The prognosis for a cat with lymphoma is linked to where it occurs and certain other factors.  However, as many as 75 percent of cats treated with chemotherapy experience remission.

Cat Cancer Symptoms

Even a few decades ago, cancer in a cat was invariably a terminal condition.  Even today, it is difficult to prevent it because experts are unaware of exact causes.  Survival is typically linked to spotting the signs of a malignancy and getting early treatment.

The most common signs of cat malignancies include:

  • Any sore that won’t heal
  • Alterations in urinary or bowel habits
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Significant weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Objectionable odor
  • Trouble eating or swallowing
  • Bleeding or other discharge of unknown origin
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Prolonged lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty passing urine or stool
  • An enlarging mass or lump

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