Brain Tumors in Cats

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Brain tumors in cats represent a health problem that does not occur frequently. However, many of the times such a tumor is noticed, various treatments can be used in order to solve the problem permanently. Keep in mind, though, that cats from all the breeds can be affected by such a tumor.

Types of Brain Tumors

There are two ways of classifying brain tumors in cats. First of all, depending on the place where the tumor originates, there are:

  • Primary tumors
  • Secondary tumors

Primary tumors originate in the brain, while the secondary ones appear during of the metastasis of cancer that started in another organ. Furthermore, the mass of abnormal cells can be classified as:

Even though brain tumor in cats can affect all the breeds, the age and the gender seem to differentiate the occurrence. More precisely, older tomcats are more prone to developing this health condition than any other cats.

Brain Tumor Causes

At the moment, the causes of brain tumors in cats are still unknown, but the following factors are suspected:

  • Chemical substances
  • Diet
  • Environment
  • Immune system disorders

There are also theories that suggest that the cat inherits the brain tumor from one of its parents.

Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Cats

Seizures represent the main sign that indicates that your cat may suffer from a brain tumor, particularly if they occur when the cat is older than 5 years. In addition to the seizures, the following signs are also consistent with brain tumors:

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Abnormal mental status
  • Ataxia
  • Head pressing
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Irritability when touched around the neck
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Vision problems

Cats suffering from brain tumors are known to vocalize more and to purr more seldom.

Diagnosis of Brain Tumors

If the above signs and symptoms are noticed, the cat needs to be taken to a veterinarian, in order to confirm the diagnosis and to start a treatment. One of the first things that the veterinarian needs to know is the background history of symptoms. Furthermore, the veterinarian will examine the head, to make sure that the cat is not injured. Sometimes, such injuries may lead to a buildup of fluid in the skull, fact that can also trigger the aforementioned symptoms. The following tests may be performed as part of the diagnosis:

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Ultrasound imaging
  • X-rays

These tests provide details regarding the location and the type of tumor, if any. However, the most precise test is represented by a tissue biopsy. This test allows the veterinarian to determine whether the cells are abnormal, and thus, part of a tumor.

Feline Brain Tumor Treatment Options

Depending on the dimensions and on the type of tumor, the veterinarian may suggest one of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

All these treatment options have to goal to either decrease the dimensions of the brain tumor, or eliminate it completely. In addition, any complications caused by the brain tumor can be held under control with such treatment options. Medication may be also be subscribed, either for slowing down the development of the tumor or for improving the symptoms of brain tumors. For example, the frequency and the intensity of seizures are drastically decreased if proper medication is used.


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