Cancer in cats intestines symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Cancer in cats intestines

What do we mean by tumor or cancer?

Tumor is defined as abnormal growth and divisions of the tissue cells without control resulting in abnormal masses in a certain tissue in the body. The tumor may still in the tissue in which it begins (benign tumor), or migrate to other body organs through the blood or the lymph nodes (malignant), and this type is considered cancer. So not any tumor is considered cancer as there are cancerous tumors and noncancerous tumors.

What are the types of intestinal cancers?

Cancers which occurs in intestine include adenocarcinoma, stomach, and intestinal cancer(leiomyosarcoma) in cat, lymphoma, mast cell tumor, gastrointestinal Stromal tumor. Lymphoma is the most common type of intestinal cancers. Middle aged to older cats are more susceptible to intestinal cancers. It is observed that intestinal tumors are more common in male than it is in females.

What are the signs and symptoms of intestinal cancer in cats?

The symptoms are related to the gastrointestinal system. In the early stages of tumors the clinical signs are similar to it is in other noncancerous intestinal diseases as viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Symptoms of intestinal tumors (Apudoma) include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting (common in small intestine tumors).
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bloody vomiting.
  • Bright red color blood in cat feces.
  • Hemorrhage in gastrointestinal system make blood colored feces(Melena).
  • Difficulty with defecation.
  • Abdominal masses can be palpated by the veterinarian during physical examination , lesions may be solitary or multi lesions.
  • Increase in the abdomen size may occurs due to fluids accumulation.

If these symptoms appear on your cat ,it should be taken to the veterinarian.

What are the intestinal cancer in cats causes?

Till now there is no known cause for intestinal cancers. There are some factors may increase the rate of intestine cancer occurrence as passive smoking, excessive grooming, exposure to environmental toxins,Infection with feline leukemia virus, and infection with immunodeficiency virus.

 What are the diagnostic methods used for diagnosis of cancer in cats intestines?

  • Knowing type, breed and age of the cat are very important factors in accurate diagnosis.
  • Physical examination of the cat by the veterinarian for detection of any abnormal masses in the abdomen, cat owner should give a brief case history to the veterinarian about the signs which appear on the cat and the onset of symptoms which are helpful in diagnosis.
  • X- rays or ultrasound used for detecting the tumor in the abdomen.
  • Complete blood count, which shows mild to severe anemia as a result of blood loss in feces and vomiting.
  • Cytology (tissue from the tumor itself) is very diagnostic method.
  • Endoscopy.
  • Fecal examination.
  • Examination of aspirated fluid from the tumor, which taken using a fine needle.
  • Diagnostic surgery may be decided by the veterinarian.

Is intestinal cancer can be treated?

Treatment plan is decided by the veterinarian depending on the type, severity, stage of the tumor treated

  • Surgical operation is recommended in case of obstruction of the intestinal tract for the removal of the tumor, in case of multiple areas’ cancer (malignant tumor) surgery isn’t useful Chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy is now commonly used in veterinary cancer medication, conventional chemotherapy, targeted chemotherapy and metronomic chemotherapy using tyrosine kinase inhibitors are available to the small animals, so for successful use clinician must be aware of some principles of each approach, knowing the appropriate administration techniques and the side effects of the drugs used. Chemotherapy makes damage in the tumor cells, so, it can’t divide as a result stopping the tumor spread to other body organs. According to the type and the degree of treated tumor, chemotherapy is administrated alone or in combination with radiation or surgical operation. The two main objectives of chemotherapy are the tumor control and improve the life quality of diseased cat. Chemotherapy is used In case of high grade mast cell tumor, plasma cell tumor, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma.
  • Immunotherapy is used for stimulation of the immune system of the cat to fight the cancer cells, as the tumor suppress its immune system. As an example using monoclonal antibodies.
  • Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID )are used to reduce the inflammation which associated with the tumor, also it helps in the pain relief which may be due to the cancer, medications such as radiation or surgery or a concurrent disease (e.g., osteoarthritis. In some cases of non severe intestinal tumors NSAID helps in the killing of the tumor cells, as in carcinoma.
  • Administration of Antibiotics is recommended for prevention of secondary infections as bacterial, or fungal infections. It has slow risk of side effects, but not affect the cancer itself.
  • Specific dietary recommendation is decided by the veterinarian.

Prognosis of cancer in cats intestines

There are some factors which affect the prognosis of case with intestinal cancers as age, type, breed of the diseased cat. Also, the severity, and the stage of the treated tumor influence the prognosis. Some types of low risk tumors can be treated by surgical approach and non steroidal anti inflammatory drug administration.

But in case of high grade tumors as lymphoma has a poor long-term chemotherapy treatment. Successful full-service practice should be prepared to diagnose, stage, and treat cancer in cat intestine, and should have a relationship with veterinary oncology specialists for purposes of selective case referrals. Cancer cases are often among the most sensitive, and challenging that a practitioner will encounter.


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