Treating Feline Adenocarcinoma With Chemotherapy

There can be nothing more devastating than a pet being diagnosed with feline adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is a malignant form of cancer, which is seen to affect the glandular cells that form the lining of the internal organs. At present, there are treatments in the form of chemotherapy that can help the pet recover from the disease.

Symptoms of Feline Cancer

Feline adenocarcinoma can affect any internal organ of the cat. If a cat is suspected to be suffering from adenocarcinoma, look out for the following symptoms:

  • lumps that keep increasing or decreasing in size
  • a wound that is not healing
  • problems in urinating or defecating
  • a change in the bowel habits
  • difficulty in breathing or other respiratory problems
  • unexplained discharge or bleeding from any opening in the body
  • a marked loss of appetite and also weight loss
  • problems in eating and swallowing
  • continued lameness or rigidity
  • unpleasant odor from the cat's mouth or body.

If this disease is diagnosed at an early stage, then it can be treated effectively. The diagnosis of the disease is possible only after detailed blood tests, x-rays and ultrasound tests. In general, the preferred treatment for adenocarcinoma is chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy treatment

If the cat cancer is detected, usually as a lump or growth, in the earlier stages, then chemotherapy is the best choice for treating the disease. The aim of using chemotherapy as the line of treatment in feline adenocarcinoma is to subside the growth of cancerous cells. Most medicines used in the chemotherapeutic treatment work by interfering with the genetic make of the cancerous cells and preventing them from dividing further.

The length of the cat's chemotherapy treatment depends on the stage and the type of adenocarcinoma that has affected the cat. Some of the prescribed drugs can be orally administered to the feline at home, whereas for injecting drugs, the pet must be taken to the clinic. In certain cases, the cat must remain on infusion for the entire day or at regular intervals for the treatment. The progress is closely monitored by collecting blood samples and conducting biopsies.

The duration of the chemotherapy treatment depends on the type of adenocarcinoma and also on the organ that is affected. For some cats, the treatment lasts for a week and depending on the progress it may be repeated after a few weeks or months. In cats where the adenocarcinoma has metastasized (spread into other parts of the body), the treatment may last for the rest of the cat's life.

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has less side effects than radiation therapy. However, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting are some of the side effects of chemotherapy. The cat may suffer due to a compromised immune system, as there is a decrease in the count of white blood cells which makes up the defense system of the body. Some cats experience hair loss, which is likely to re-grow once the chemotherapy is discontinued.

Chemotherapy can greatly improve a cat's quality of life. A veterinary oncologist will decide whether or not the chemotherapy treatment should be continued, depending on the cat's response to the chemotherapy.