Feline Liver Cancer Symptoms

The feline liver is able to perform routine bodily functions even when partially damaged. The symptoms of liver disorders are thus exhibited when the disease is in an advanced stage. Feline liver cancers develop due to varying causes. While some forms of liver cancer are most common in cats, others may occur due to environmental conditions. Liver cancer usually develops in the form of a malignant tumor that may have spread to the liver from other malignant parts of the body. Although pets of all breeds are susceptible to liver cancer, cats that consume toxic substances or consume certain food additives that may be carcinogenic in nature are at greatest risk.

Types of Liver Cancer in Cats:

  • Tumors that originate in the liver
  • Hemolymphatic cancer
  • Cancer spread to the liver from malignant organs

Symptoms of Feline Liver Cancer Include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid breathing
  • Change in the color of feces and urine
  • Paleness of skin and gums
  • Abdominal discomfort

Other Related Symptoms

Pets suffering from liver cancer caused due to metastases may be suffering from leukemia or mast cell tumors. Such pets may exhibit other unusual symptoms due to the underlying health conditions. Benign tumors that originate in the abdomen often exert pressure on internal organs and cause abdominal pain and low blood sugar. In order to determine the severity of tumors, they're surgically extracted and tested for malignancy.

Diagnosis of Feline Liver Cancer

The vet will perform a thorough physical examination and palpate the abdomen to detect internal swelling or fluid accumulation. A complete blood count test and blood chemistry profile test will also be performed to check the components of blood. Abdominal ultrasounds effectively diagnose internal tumors and inflammation. In order to reduce discomfort and repeated hospitalization, the vet will conduct a biopsy after surgical removal of the tumor. In addition, tests such as X-rays may be performed to determine malignancies in other parts of the body.

Treatment of Feline Liver Cancer

Although most tumors are surgically removed, tumors closely attached to the liver may not be ideal for surgery. Chemotherapy is the most commonly used treatment option to treat the cancer. However, the prognosis of treatment varies according to severity of cancer present and accompanying health concerns. Commonly used chemotherapy drugs for cats include doxorubicin, prednisone and cyclophosphamide. Since the function of the liver is to detoxify the body of medication and chemicals, the cat will require periodic monitoring during treatment. Most treatment options aim to reduce discomfort and pain caused by the disease. Although the prognosis is not very favorable, most cats survive longer with adequate treatment and home care.

Prevention and Home Care

Pet owners should ensure cats are kept away from toxic substances or ingredients. Certain plants and flowers are also poisonous to felines. It's important to read food labels and avoid feeding them cat food that contains several additives, dyes and byproducts. Pet owners should talk with their vet about treatment options for cats suffering from feline liver cancer. Treatment procedures are expensive and pets require several follow up vet checks to determine response.

Most cats respond well to chemotherapy medication. However, the type of medicine and duration of treatment varies according to the severity or grade of feline liver cancer present.