Feline Cancer Symptoms

Feline cancer is an increasingly common disease that affects young and old cats alike. Cancer in cats may be found in a variety of forms, with feline lung cancer, feline skin cancer and feline bone cancer as three of the most common types. For cats diagnosed with feline cancer, tumor removal by excision, chemotherapy and other treatment options are available. Identifying and treating your cat's cancer quickly is crucial to protecting your cat's health.

Feline cancer refers to any abnormal growth of cells in your cat's body. While many cancers begin in a particular region or part of the body and metastasize to other areas, other types of cancers may affect the bones, the blood or other whole-body systems.

Symptoms of Cancer in Cats

The symptoms of feline cancer vary depending on the type and severity of the disease. Recognizing the symptoms allows you to have your cat examined by a veterinarian early in the development of the cancer cells, increasing the chances of a successful treatment.

Some of the general symptoms of feline cancer include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite or thirst
  • Random discharge or bleeding from any orifice
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Difficulty moving or eating

If your cat displays one or more of these symptoms for no obvious reason and for longer than a few days, take your pet to a veterinarian for an examination.

Recognizing Feline Tumors

Tumors are oftentimes the most obvious signs of cancer in your cat. Tumors may occur under the skin, on the abdomen and particularly on the breast. Female cats that have not been spayed have an increased risk of developing breast cancer as they age. Tumors may be large or small, fast- or slow-growing, so it is important to give your cat a light examination periodically to watch for any signs of tumor growth. As you pet or brush your cat, gently feel for any lumps or growths under the skin. Report any findings to a veterinarian immediately.

Diagnosing Feline Cancer

A feline cancer prognosis is made following a series of tests and examinations. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough medical history report of your cat, accompanied by a complete physical examination. The vet will also draw blood and conduct lab tests. In many cases, x-rays may be helpful in identifying cancerous areas in your cat's body.

Treating Feline Cancer

There are a variety of treatment options for feline cancer, depending upon your cat's health and age, as well as the type and severity of the cancer. Failing drug treatment programs, surgery and radiation therapy are the next most common treatments. Chemotherapy is less common still, due to the wide range of side effects associated with chemotherapy regimens.

Recognizing feline cancer early is crucial to protecting your cat from a common and potentially fatal health condition. Know the symptoms of feline cancer, and take your cat for a veterinary examination immediately upon recognizing any of them.