Feline Adenocarcinoma

Feline adenocarcinoma is an aggressive form of cancer that can appear in a variety of locations within your cat's body. Adenocarcinomas are abnormal growths that affect glandular tissue in your pet. Some of the most common sites of adenocarcinoma in cats are the gastrointestinal tract, the pancreas, the lungs and the mouth. The symptoms, diagnosis and treatment procedures for each of these forms of adenocarcinoma are very different.

Symptoms of Adenocarcinoma in Cats

While adenocarcinoma typically strikes in older cats, it can appear at any age.  The exact cause of this form of cancer is unknown, but certain breeds of cats seem to be predisposed to this condition. Siamese and tri-color cats tend to have a somewhat higher rate of adenocarcinoma than other varieties.

Generally, the symptoms of adenocarcinoma typically range within the following list:

  • Lethargy
  • Unusual discharge from any orifice
  • Infections or wounds that do not heal
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Blood or mucous in the stool
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Difficulty moving around
  • Palpable growths anywhere in the body
  • Pain or discomfort upon palpation

In some cases, such as pancreatic adenocarcinoma, symptoms may not manifest themselves until the cancer has spread significantly. For this reason, certain forms of the disease are much more lethal than others. It is important to be aware of your cat's healthy body and behavior so that you are able to recognize any changes to his normal functioning as soon as possible. If you do detect any of the symptoms listed above, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately, along with a list of the warning signs and their starting dates.

Diagnosing Feline Adenocarcinoma

The diagnosis procedure for feline adenocarcinoma typically begins with a general physical examination. Your vet will use the symptoms that you have provided to formulate a hypothesis for his diagnosis. Following the initial exam, your vet will likely take a blood sample for analysis in the laboratory. By looking for unusual hormone and blood cell levels, the veterinarian will be better able to identify the source of your pet's symptoms.

In some cases, a number of other techniques can be helpful in diagnosing adenocarcinoma. Urinalysis exams, stool samples, biopsies, skin scrapings and radiographs or x-rays can all be useful. It is unlikely that your veterinarian will need to conduct all of these tests on your pet, as different types of cancer require unique tests.

Treating Feline Adenocarcinoma

The treatment procedure for feline adenocarcinoma depends upon a number of factors. Perhaps the most important of these factors is your pet's age and overall health. Treatment for feline cancer can be a grueling and dangerous process, particularly for older cats that may already have weakened systems. The treatment also depends heavily upon the location of the adenocarcinoma and its progression. Cancers that have metastasized to other parts of the body are much more difficult to eradicate.

When surgical excision of the growth is possible, this is the preferred method of treatment. Your veterinarian may also recommend medications, chemotherapy and radiation treatment as potential methods of addressing your pet's cancer.

Feline adenocarcinoma is a serious and often-fatal disease. Do your best to recognize the symptoms of this disease as early as possible, and work closely with your veterinarian in order to monitor your pet's health and ensure his overall quality of life remains as high as possible.