Cats are more susceptible to lymphoma than humans or other animals. Unfortunately, cats who already suffer from feline leukemia are likely to show additional symptoms, oftentimes developing into lymphoma. While this disease is certainly serious and can be life-threatening, it is possible to manage the illness for some time with the care of an experienced veterinarian, who will not only answer your questions, but also help improve your pet's quality of life by providing excellent care.
This article will show you how to identify and treat feline lymphoma while providing at-home care for your furry friend.
- Feline lymphoma, or cat cancer, causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body that lymph tissue is found. While this can include almost every organ, tumors are most often found in cats' intestinal tracts.
- The disease is most often found in older cats, with male cats being affected slightly more often. The chances of contracting cancer increases in cats that have a history of intestinal illness, vomiting, and weight or appetite loss.
- Feline lymphoma symptoms are numerous. The illness includes lumps that indicate a sizable tumor mass, swelling of the lymph nodes, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, loss of fur or coarseness in the coat, breathing troubles, fluid in the lungs, increased water intake, and increased urine output.
- If a veterinarian suspects a pet cat is infected with feline lymphoma, he will put the animal through a series of tests designed to diagnose health problems. Those tests will include a biopsy. If there is a visible tumor, it may be removed at the time of the biopsy, but this will not cure the cat of the disease since the infection tends to spread quite quickly. Upon receiving the results, he may request your permission to perform further testing to find out additional information, which may allow him to rule out other diseases. Your vet may solicit the opinion of an oncology veterinarian to confirm any test results.
- Once a diagnosis of feline lymphoma is confirmed, the usual course of treatment includes medication and chemotherapy. Again, this will not cure the disease but rather control the symptoms and increase your cat's life expectancy and quality of life.
- Chemotherapy does not cause illness in most cats. While the whiskers will almost certainly fall out, the rest of your cat's coat should remain intact; so overall the additional symptoms and problems are minimal.
- Feline lymphoma can go into remission with a vigorous treatment schedule. While it will almost certainly return, there is no way to know how long the remission will last. Generally speaking, the chemotherapy treatment will give your cat an extra four to six months of quality life.
Unfortunately, even chemotherapy will eventually not be enough to manage health issues and the disease itself. Since feline lymphoma is so intrusive, it is constantly adapting and will eventually become resistant to the treatment and continue to affect cat health. A second remission at this point isn't possible and the problems will cause your pet to continue to get sicker and weaker, eventually leading to death.