Feline Sarcoma Prognosis

Feline sarcoma, also known as soft tissue sarcoma, is a type of cancer that develops in the connective tissues in pets. Although these soft tissue tumors can arise anywhere in the cat's body, they commonly develop on the skin or subcutaneously. There are different forms of sarcoma that develop in cats. Some of them include liposarcoma, fibrosarcoma, spindle cell tumors and hemangiopericytomas. Over the years, research has been indicating that vaccines are associated with development of sarcomas in cats. Such sarcomas are better known as Vaccine Associated Sarcomas. To establish the prognosis of feline sarcomas, the vet will have to first diagnose the cancer to determine its location and severity.

Diagnosis of Feline Sarcoma

Accurate diagnosis of feline sarcoma is very important because it determines the treatment procedures that have to be used. The vet will perform a series of blood tests to determine if the pet has any underlying disease. The signs and symptoms of sarcoma will also help the vet carry out diagnostic tests such as X-rays and scans. Ultrasounds are important to determine the size and density of the tumor. MRI scans are particularly helpful during diagnosis. After these preliminary tests are performed, the vet will conduct a biopsy of the tumor to find out the grade of the cancer present. The vet will also find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, especially the lungs. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the vet will adopt the appropriate treatment protocol to suit the type of sarcoma present.

Treatment of Feline Sarcoma

The most commonly used treatment procedure is surgical removal of the cancerous tumor or cells. If the tumor is located in an area of the body that cannot be easily accessed, the vet will use chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells and shrink the tumor.

Prognosis of Feline Sarcoma

Cats in general respond favorably to chemotherapy. If the tumor can be completely removed, the cat's chance of survival is much higher. If the cancer is very aggressive in nature and has spread to other parts of the body, the sarcoma may prove fatal. In such cases the vet will only use chemotherapy and supportive care to bring relief to the pet from discomfort. Another factor that determines prognosis is the chance of recurrence of tumors. While sarcomas spread in only 10 to 15 percent of sick cats, they can recur in nearly 30 to 70 percent of pets that have already been treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Tumors are generally known to recur within a few months of treatment. While some cats live happy lives for up to two years after successful treatment, a few pets succumb to the disease after several months of initial treatment. As a pet owner, make sure you work with your vet to help relieve the cat's discomfort.

Tips for Pet Owners:

  • Follow up with periodic vet checks to determine the cat's condition
  • Administer all prescribed medication on time
  • Keep the cat in a stress free environment, preferably away from other pets
  • Follow all vet instructions to help the cat recover quickly, post-surgery
  • Feed the pet nutritious and palatable food, as most cats refuse to eat soon after surgery

If your cat has been diagnosed with feline sarcoma, it can be a difficult time for both you and your pet. Work with the vet to determine the best treatment option because your pet depends on you for care and support.