The symptoms of a tumor in cats can unfortunately be unspecific. How serious the cancer is depends on where the tumor is and how far the cancer cells have spread.
However, if you regularly take preventive measures with your cat and know what to watch out for, it is not uncommon for the cancer to be recognized before it is too late for therapy.
What are tumors in cats?
If cells in the body suddenly divide uncontrollably, a tumor grows in cats. Tumors can be benign (benign) or malignant (malignant).
Malignant tumors grow particularly quickly, proliferate in healthy tissue (they behave "invasively") and form so-called metastases. This means that they spread quickly throughout the body.
Benign tumors grow more slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body, but can nevertheless impair healthy body functions.
Tumor in cats: symptoms and warning signs
The symptoms of tumors in cats are similar in both benign and malignant forms. With malignant tumors, however, your cat's general health deteriorates faster and more rapidly than with benign tumors.
The veterinarian should check the following signs immediately:
● weight loss
● Loss of appetite or the opposite, a strikingly large appetite
● Difficulty eating or swallowing
● epileptic seizures
● Non-healing wounds
Discharge or bleeding
● swelling and increase in circumference on the body
● nodules under the skin
● respiratory problems
● lameness or stiffness
● Difficulty stopping urine or feces
Screening for cats: early detection of diseases
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Changes in behavior as a symptom of cancer in cats
In addition, a tumor in cats can also be manifested by symptoms associated with a noticeable change in the behavior of your pet. An otherwise balanced, relaxed cat suddenly looks restless and nervous.
A previously happy, playful cat suddenly withdraws more and more, appears listless or tired. Perhaps you also have the impression that your cat will appear to have aged for a short period of time? Then you should definitely go to the vet.
What are common types of tumors in cats?
Blood cancer tumors are most commonly diagnosed in cats. If lumps and tumors form, these are so-called lymphosarcomas. If the cancer cells swim freely in the bloodstream, the blood cancer is called leukemia.
Some forms of leukemia are caused by the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). Since especially free-time users are at risk of catching it, a vaccination against it is recommended for them.
Other common types of tumors in cats are:
● Squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer)
● basal cell tumor (skin cancer)
● fibrosarcoma (skin cancer)
● Breast cancer (breast cancer)
Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer. Light-skinned animals are particularly at risk, frequent exposure to the sun increases the risk. These tumors usually affect little hairy parts of the body, since they are exposed to the sun without protection.
This includes the edges of the ears and the inside of the ear cups. The nose can also be affected. Regardless of sun exposure, squamous cell carcinoma can also appear in the cat's mouth.
The basal cell tumor is also a type of skin cancer. In addition to the general symptoms, enlarged lymph nodes and nodules on the skin can also be seen here.
A clearly defined lump under the skin can be a warning sign of fibrosarcoma - also a skin cancer.
Small nodules on the abdomen can indicate breast cancer - breast cancer. The limbs often swell and the cat is in great pain when trying to move.
With these 5 signs, your cat must go to the vet immediately
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Suspected tumor in cats? Obtain diagnosis from the vet
If anything looks strange to your cat, be sure to go to the vet. Special care should be taken if your cat has a weakened immune system due to a chronic illness or is older than eight years.
In these cases, a regular health check at the veterinarian is usually worthwhile. Because no matter what type of cancer, the tumors have an easier time with already weakened animals. And the earlier they are recognized, the greater the chances of a cure.
Your vet will scan your cat thoroughly, check her general health and, if necessary, do a blood test or ultrasound to check for possible tumors. Be sure to tell him about possible changes in your cat's behavior and other noticeable symptoms during your visit.
Treating cancer in cats: Your vet can do that
If the tumor in cats is clearly defined, has not yet metastasized, or has attacked too much healthy tissue, surgery is sufficient. The tumor is then cut out generously.
If the cancer cells have already spread or if the tumor is too large to be operated on, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also be considered. Chemotherapy consists of drugs that attack cancer cells.
Unfortunately, the drugs can also affect healthy cells, which can lead to severe side effects. Your veterinarian will therefore consider carefully whether the positive effects are worth the side effects.
With radiation therapy, the tumors are irradiated in a targeted manner and thus destroyed. However, radiation therapy can also shrink very large tumors to such an extent that they can be operated on.