4 Types of Cat Cancer and Their Common Symptoms
November is Pet Cancer Awareness month and sadly, one in five cats will get cancer including lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumor, and bone cancer, which are all common cat cancer.
While a cancer diagnosis is emotionally devastating, some cancers are treatable if caught early. This is one reason your cat has regular wellness visits to the veterinarian. Cat cancer symptoms can be subtle and cats are good at hiding illness.
One of the most common symptoms of cat cancers are “lumps and bumps.” Unusual lumps that change size could be a sign of cancer. A visit to the vet can rule out cancer or can provide a treatment protocol should one be needed.
What causes cancer in cats? Experts believe there are a variety of possibilities including toxins in the environment and the feline leukemia virus. Here are four common types of cancer and their potential causes.
Four Common Types of Cat Cancer
Mast cell tumors: Mast cells are white blood cells that occasionally, can become tumors, which are abnormal swellings. They may be benign or malignant and in many cases they are benign. The only way to know for sure is to make an appointment with your veterinarian and have them take a sample for testing. The cause isn’t known though we do know that there are higher incidences in Siamese cats.
Lymphoma: As you may know, lymphoma is a type of blood cancer developing in the lymph nodes causing them to swell. The lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining the flow of fluids throughout the body including cleansing toxins which means cancerous cells can be circulating throughout your pet’s body. Experts believe one way cats get lymphoma is through exposure to the Feline Leukemia Virus. Luckily, an effective vaccination for Feline Leukemia Virus is available to help reduce this risk so be sure to check with your veterinarian.
Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cells are the type of cells that form your pet’s skin. When you look at them closely, they have tiny lines resembling fish scales. These cells also line interior passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. These cells can develop cancer in your cat’s mouth or on her body. In the mouth, you might see sores and his breath may smell bad. Experts relate it to exposure of secondhand smoke. If your cat develops sores on the skin that won’t heal, that could be a sign of skin cancer. This is another form of squamous cell carcinoma. In either instance, book an appointment for your cat for an examination with your veterinarian if you see any sores on the skin that won’t heal or your cat has exceptionally bad breath.
Bone Cancer: The signs of bone cancer include lameness, swelling, and lethargy. It is fairly rare but tends to be aggressive. Current evidence doesn’t show a reason for cats developing this type of cancer though we do know it’s more common in larger and giant breed cats.
Other Symptoms of Cat Cancer
- Foul odor – healthy cats don’t smell.
- Persistent sores – sores that don’t heal, need to be looked at by a professional.
- Difficulty with bathroom chores
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained bleeding
As you read this list of symptoms, you might think they’re the same for many health concerns and you’re right. External symptoms of cat cancer can be subtle so your best course of action for prevention is a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups at the vet for your cat. The recommendation is twice a year wellness visits for cats 8 and older.
As always if you need help caring for your cat or you’re headed out of town for a few days, contact Karla’s Pet Care, LLC for all your vacation pet sits.