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Cat Gastrinomas

Veterinarian Reviewed on April 2, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Cat Gastrinomas

Gastrinomas are rare, malignant tumors of the pancreas. Originating in the islet cells, they do not interfere with insulin production. Islet cells are those which produce hydrochloric acid into the stomach. The tumors will cause an excess of digestive juices and can involve the pancreas, stomach, duodenum and small intestine. This will cause the lining of the stomach to thicken.
It usually appears in older cats and has a predisposition for female cats rather than male cats.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms are varied and can be serious. They can affect many of the cat’s bodily functions. They can have Cat Vomiting, have Cat Diarrhea which can sometimes eve be bloody]] and may also have a Cat Loss of Appetite. Cat Depression and pain are not unusual. Cat Increased Thirst and Cat Increased Urination may also occur as well.


When lab studies are done by your veterinarian, your cat will most likely be found to be anemic. Such lab tests may also indicate low albumin, chloride and potassium along with elevation of blood sugar and gastrin.

An endoscopic exam by which a small tube is inserted into the cat’s mouth and into their stomach may indicate the presence of a mass, the only definitive way to diagnose a gastrinoma is by doing a surgical biopsy. These tumors will metastasize.

Treatment Options

If the tumor is operable, it will be removed along with affected
growths on neighboring organs such as the liver and lymph nodes. When the original biopsy is performed, there will also be biopsies of the surrounding tissue done.


While surgical removal is possible, the prognosis for cats with gastrinomas is quite poor. The expected life span is usually six months or less. If there are no signs of metastasis, the prognosis may be better. It will all depend on the test results and the procedure performed.

It may be beneficial to obtain a second veterinary opinion and
consult with a qualified veterinary oncologist before you decide on the type of treatment that would be best for your beloved cat.

Home care

The only thing you can do with your cat after surgery is to keep her as comfortable as possible by following a few simple Cat Palliative Cancer Care guidelines. Remember that it is very important to maintain a good nutritional status for your cat. It is likely that your vet will put your cat on a special Cat Cancer Diets with increased nutritional values. This should be maintained unless your cat has difficulty digesting the food. If this happens, consulting your vet for a change may be necessary.
Pain is always present with any type of Cat Cancer. There is also pain after surgery. Your veterinarian will prescribe pain medicine that should be administered as ordered. You should not wait until your cat shows signs of pain, but rather do your best to prevent it from progressing in the first place.

Observe your cat for changes in elimination. Any signs of blood in the stool or a recurrence of vomiting should not be taken lightly.
If your cat shows any signs of Cat Stress And Anxiety or a disinterest in her normal everyday activities, this should be noted and reported to your vet immediately. You cat will be weak after surgery and depending on the stage of the disease, there is the possibility that your cat will never be quite the same again.
This is one of the cancers that is so serious that you may decide whether or not the treatment will benefit your precious cat at all. If, after consulting with your vet and a veterinary oncologist you feel that any treatment will not bring about a cure, you need to decide what is best for your beloved friend.

Additional Cat Cancer Pages

Cat Cancer | Cat Skin Cancer | Cat Lung Cancer | Cat Pancreatic Cancer | Cat Cancer Prevention | Cat Cancer Diagnosis | Cat Gastric Cancer | Cat Lymphoma Cancer | Cat Squamous Cell Carcinoma | Cat Mouth Cancer | Cat Brain Tumor | Cat Palliative Cancer Care

Read also: Cat Heart Cancer
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
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

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