Cat Gastric Cancer
Veterinarian Reviewed on April 2, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Cat Gastric Cancer
Gastric cancer can affect cats of any age, although it does tend to occur more in cats that are aged 8 years or older. Even though it is one of the more widespread cancers affecting cats, only 1% of the tumors are malignant. Another key point to note is that though any dog or cat can get gastric cancer, dogs are at higher risk and certain dog breeds are at more prone. Gastric cancers are not homogenous and do come in different forms.
Types of Gastric Cancer
• Adenocarcinoma – These cancers originate in or around the stomach but affect the tissue of the cat’s glands. The cancer will often spread to the gastric lymph nodes, the fat found at the base of the stomach, the lungs, liver, spleen or pancreas.
• Mast Cell Tumor – The immune system of the cat includes mast cells whose role is to react to inflammation and allergic reactions due to Cat Allergies. Mast cells are found along the lining of key body organs such as the nose, skin, lungs and the digestive tract. The cells can form a tumor and as a result release copious amounts of chemicals such as histamine and heparin which damage the body as a result of the chemical imbalance.
• Lymphomas – Lymphomas start in when the body’s lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, form tumors as in the case of Cat Lymphoma Cancer. The lymphomas can occur in the gastrointestinal tract. That said, lymphomas are not that common and even when they occur will almost exclusively be found in cats that are eight years old and above.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of feline gastric cancer include Cat Vomiting mixed with blood, Cat Loss of Weight because of the resulting deterioration of the digestive system and Cat Anorexia. Other signs of stomach cancer is scratching and sometimes licking certain areas of the body to try and ease the pain, Cat Increased Urination as well as irregular urine and bowel movement, Cat Dehydration and a poor appetite due to Cat Loss of Appetite. In cats, you can actually feel a tenderness in the area surrounding the stomach if the cat is developing gastric cancer.
This is done in several ways. The vet normally listens to the types of symptoms the cat has been experiencing. Then depending on the information you give, he or she may opt for one or more diagnosis techniques. Radiography or ultrasound can be done around the cat’s abdomen to check for any abnormalities in the cat’s organs.
If Cat Cancer is suspected based on what is observed, further examination must be done with the preferred method being gastroscopy. Here, the cat is first anesthetized before an endoscope is passed down into the stomach. The vet checks again for any cells in the stomach lining that may look suspicious.
If cancerous cells are identified, the cells can be removed through surgery. Removing the tumor surgically is often the best treatment alternative. Others forms of treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy are best used as a last resort given the danger they pose to delicate internal organs. In all cases, treatment is most successful when it is done before the cancer spreads.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan