Feline Lymphoma Prognosis

There are many factors that influence the development of feline lymphoma and the final outcome of the treatment. First of all, the incidence of this disease is higher in cats that have FeLV (feline leukemia virus). Feline lymphoma is also frequent in cats that are infected with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Other aspects that need to be taken into consideration when making the prognosis include:

  • Location of the tumor
  • Type of lymphoma
  • Type of treatment that is chosen

Keep in mind that diagnosing and treating feline lymphoma as soon as the symptoms are discovered will influence considerably the prognosis.

Treatment Options for Feline Lymphoma

If the location of the tumor can be pinpointed precisely and there are no problems in accessing it, the preferred treatment options include surgery and radiation therapy. However, such cases are rather seldom, so chemotherapy is the treatment of choice in the majority of the cases. The drugs that are used most frequently for this therapy include:

Chlorambucil may be used in high doses along with prednisolone for treating gastrointestinal lymphoma. You must also take into consideration the fact that chemotherapy may have severe side effects, but this only happens in less than 5 percent of the cases.

Prognosis for Different Types of Feline Lymphoma

There are 3 types of feline lymphoma, each of them having its own characteristics as well as a certain prognosis. Depending on the organs that they affect, these are called:

  • Gastrointestinal lymphoma
  • Mediastinal lymphoma
  • Multicentric lymphoma

These types of lymphoma are furthermore classified as:

  • Low grade
  • Medium grade
  • High grade

This classification is based on how rapidly the tumour develops and how quickly the nearby organs are affected. Cats suffering from multicentric lymphoma react better to treatment than the ones that have the gastrointestinal form. However, this prognosis changes radically if the cat also suffers from FeLV. Mediastinal lymphoma also occurs more often in cats with FeLV, so the prognosis is good in this case, either.

Life Expectancy of Cats with Feline Lymphoma

Chemotherapy seems to be effective in around 70 percent of the cases. The cats that react well to this type of treatment survive for a period ranging between 4 and 6 months. Still, 30 to 40 percent of the cats on which chemotherapy is effective may live for at least a couple of years, if remission is attained. Since the life expectancy can be so great in some situations, you are suggested not to leave your cat untreated if he or she is diagnosed with feline lymphoma.

The drug used in chemotherapy can make the difference, in terms of life expectancy. For example, if only prednisone is used, life expectancy ranges between 45 and 60 days. As mentioned before, it is better to use a combination of drugs for chemotherapy in order to achieve the best results.

Without a treatment, your cat will live for up to 6 weeks since the diagnosis is performed. Keep in mind, though, that FeLV and FIV infections decrease dramatically the effectiveness of the treatment and the life expectancy of your cat. In order to avoid at least a part of the problem, make sure that your cat gets vaccinated against the FeLV.