Feline Liver Cancer Diagnosis

A feline liver cancer diagnosis can be tricky. This is because the symptoms that are directly associated with liver cancer, and not just another disease, often show up long after the cancer first infected the cat's body.

Symptoms of Feline Liver Cancer

Part of diagnosing a disease is examining the symptoms that are present. The symptoms of feline liver cancer are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Pale gray feces
  • Orange urine
  • Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
  • Painful abdomen
  • Increased thirst and urination

These symptoms can easily be associated with a variety of disease found not only in the liver, but in other areas of the digestive tract. Other diseases are often seen at the same time as liver cancer, such as pancreas diseases. This is why it's difficult to diagnose liver cancer. By the time the symptoms are severe enough, it may be too late to successfully treat the cancer.

What to Watch for

The best way to tell if your cat is suffering from a serious illness with ambiguous symptoms such as liver cancer, and to get him properly diagnosed by a vet, is to watch for behavioral changes. An example would be if you notice your cat meowing in pain as you touch his side, or if he normally eats his food at a set time but neglects to eat when you feed him. Observing these behavioral changes and taking action is essential in treating your cat. Early diagnosis, and therefore immediate treatment, significantly increase the chance of overcoming or living a comfortable life with cancer.

Feline Liver Cancer Diagnosis

The first thing a vet will do is take a thorough look at the history of your cat's medical record. After that has been done, a physical examination will be performed. The vet will do a blood test to check the blood count and check the liver enzyme levels, which is a major indicator of liver health.

X-rays of the abdominal area will be performed to check whether or not the cancer has spread outside the liver, and the locations of the tumors. A biopsy will need to be performed in order to be certain that it is indeed cancer that is infecting your cat. This can either be done during the surgical removal of the tumor, or through a fine needle aspirate. A biopsy is simply taking part of the tissue and examining it in the lab for cancer.

The x-rays, and even potentially an abdominal ultrasound, will be able to determine the state of the cancer. The vet will be able to tell whether or not the cancer is localized, and easily removed through surgery. The cancer can also be spread across the entire liver, and other organs around the liver, making it impossible to remove.