Diagnosing, Treating & Preventing Cancer in Cats
It’s important to find and treat cancer in cats as early as possible because many types of tumours in cats tend to form, grow and spread quickly. With the appropriate treatment, long-term prognosis can be improved.
DIAGNOSING CANCER IN CATS
Diagnosing cancer in cats can be complicated. Procedures and tests include:
- Urine tests
- Blood tests
- Ultrasounds: To view the size of organs and/or tumours
- Cytology: Obtain a specimen from the affected area to study the cells
- Physical Examination: Manual palpation (using hands) as well as visual observation
- X-rays (Radiography): To help identify lung, gastrointestinal tract and bladder tumours
- CT Scans: Better than X-rays for viewing possible cancer in the chest cavity, lungs and ribs
- Nuclear Medicine: Imaging technique that makes use of radioactive compounds to look for the presence and spread of cancer in the bones, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen and thyroid
Once the veterinarian has more information, the best course of action can be recommended.
TREATING CANCER IN CATS
The recommended treatment will depend on the type and location of cancer, whether it has spread and what’s available to you.
- Surgery: Usually to remove bumps or lumps
- Chemotherapy: Drug treatment for lymphomas and aggressive tumours
- Radiation Therapy: For brain, nasal and other tumours that can’t be removed
PREVENTING CANCER IN CATS
The actual causes of cancer in cats are still unclear which makes it hard to prevent. Your best weapon is regular, thorough check-ups to ensure early detection. Also:
- Spay cats to greatly reduce the risk of mammary cancer
- Vaccinate cats to prevent the development of feline leukemia which can lead to lymphoma
If your cat has been diagnosed with cancer, talk to your veterinarian as well as a veterinary oncologist if possible to discuss all your options.