Feline Bladder Cancer Prognosis

Feline bladder cancer is rare, but life-threatening. Feline bladder cancer tumors can obstruct your cat's urinary tract, making the animal unable to urinate. Bladder cancer can also spread to other parts of the body. Your cat's prognosis will depend on the size of the tumor, whether or not the cancer has spread, and the treatment your cat receives. 

Symptoms of Feline Bladder Cancer

If your cat has feline bladder cancer, he may exhibit a number of symptoms. Symptoms of feline bladder cancer include bloody urine, straining to urinate and increased frequency of urination. Even though your cat may be urinating more often, he may be passing very little urine each time, due to possible blockage of the urinary tract by a bladder tumor. Cats with bladder cancer may strain to defecate as well; they may have trouble breathing, they may cough and they may develop a low tolerance for exercise.

Diagnosing Feline Bladder Cancer

Your vet will need a complete medical history and a thorough physical exam to diagnose feline bladder cancer. The vet may perform a rectal exam to evaluate any damage to your cat's urethra, prostate, bladder and lymph nodes. Several other common conditions, such as a bladder infection, bladder stones and feline idiopathic cystitis can lead to similar symptoms, so your vet will want to perform thorough tests to rule these more likely possibilities out. Blood tests, urinalysis, ultrasounds and X-rays can help your vet verify the presence of bladder cancer.

Treating Feline Bladder Cancer

Your vet may recommend one or more of several options for the treatment of feline bladder cancer. If your cat's bladder tumors can be removed surgically, your vet will recommend this. However, many feline bladder cancer tumors cannot be surgically removed. Chemotherapy drugs can help reduce or eliminate your cat's bladder cancer tumors. Radiation therapy is sometimes used for this purpose.

Feline Bladder Cancer Prognosis

Bladder cancer in cats is often quite advanced before it is diagnosed. If the cancer has already spread, your cat's prognosis will be poor. Your cat may have only a few weeks left. If bladder cancer has not yet spread, however, your cat may be able to recover with treatment and enjoy a year or more of continued life.

Preventing Feline Bladder Cancer

You can help to prevent feline bladder cancer by caring properly for your cat. Obesity is linked to bladder cancer in cats, so make sure your cat eats a healthy diet and gets plenty of exercise. 

Don't dip your cat into a pesticide intended to remove fleas and ticks more often than twice a year. Exposure to the chemicals in these dips has been connected to bladder cancer in cats. You may wish to consider using another form of parasite control to help prevent bladder cancer in your cat.

Pets who have used the drug cyclophosphamide are at higher risk for feline bladder cancer. If your cat has been treated with cyclophosphamide, keep your eyes peeled for the symptoms of feline bladder cancer.