Cat Lymphoma Treatment with Cryotherapy

Cat lymphoma, also known as lymphosarcoma, is a type of cancer that's often associated with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Cats suffering from FeLV are more susceptible to lymphomas. Since lymph nodes or lymphocytes are present all through the cat's body, pets suffering from lymphoma can develop cancerous tumors in any part of the body. The location of lymphoma often determines the severity and type of symptoms present. The most common forms of lymphoma in cats include the gastrointestinal form, mediastinal form and the multicentric form. Older cats are at greater risk of developing lymphoma of the gastrointestinal tract.

Lymphoma in Cats

In order to obtain a definite diagnosis of feline lymphoma, the vet will perform a series of diagnostic tests such as x-ray, ultrasound, blood count tests and tests for FeLV. Internal tumors are subject to fine needle aspirate tests and full thickness biopsy. During diagnosis, the vet will determine the type of lymphocyte cells present to choose the best treatment option for individual pets. The pet will also be tested for various underlying health concerns to assess the cat's overall health.

Treatment of Lymphoma in Cats

The treatment protocol varies according to the grade of cancer present. Surgical removal of the tumor is often necessary to avoid further complications. However, exclusive surgical treatment cannot cure lymphoma, and thus chemotherapy is always administered post-surgery. Since lymphoma develops in any part of the body, it's important to determine if surgery is beneficial. If the lymphoma involves vital organs of the body, surgical intervention may not be ideal. Radiation therapy is also used to treat cats suffering from cancer that's specific to a certain part of the body. The cat will be sedated before radiation therapy is administered. Radiation therapy uses photons to penetrate the nucleus of cancerous cells and tissues. Since it destroys cancerous cells, radiation therapy is also used as a post-operative procedure to eliminate malignant cells that couldn't be surgically extracted.

Cryotherapy for Cats

Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, is another treatment option used to treat cats suffering from cancer. This procedure involves the application of extreme cold temperatures with the help of liquid nitrogen to destroy malignant cells. The pet may require local or general anesthesia during cryotherapy, depending on the location of cancer. In order to perform cryotherapy, the vet will follow ultrasound imaging to determine the exact location of the tumor. Once the affected site is shaved clean, the vet will use a cryoprobe to freeze malignant tumors. Most commonly addressed tumors include anal tumors, skin tumors and oral tumors. Apart from freezing the tumor, the vet will also freeze surrounding cells to ensure complete elimination of cancerous cells. Although this procedure is beneficial to pets, the vet will use a combination of other treatment options such as chemotherapy to help the cat survive.

Common Chemotherapy Drugs Include:

  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Prednisone
  • Vincristine


Some pet owners choose to avoid surgical intervention. Such pets survive for a few months. If pets are treated with surgery and chemotherapy, the cat will survive for nearly a year. Although pets experience certain side effects due to chemotherapy medication, the treatment slows disease progression.

Pet owners should talk to a vet oncologist to determine the best treatment option that will keep the pet comfortable. Cats suffering from cancer require additional attention and supportive care.