Cat Health: Stomach Cancer

Written by naomi vogel
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Cat Health: Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is fatal, but a comfort is that it is rare. (mean kitty image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com)

Stomach cancer in cats is fatal if diagnosed in the later stages. Unfortunately, it is hard to diagnose in time, because symptoms do not show until the later stages. Pet owners can be comforted and reassured by the fact that feline stomach cancer is very rare and the least common of all cat cancers.

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Types

Several types of stomach cancers are found in cats. According to vetinfo.com, even the most common ones are rare. The more common types found in cats are mast cell tumours, adenocarcinoma and lymphoma. Mast cells are found in the feline digestive tract. If these cells grow uncontrollably for some reason, they can develop into tumours. Adenocarcinoma are gastric tumours caused by a cancer in the glands that spreads to the stomach. When adenocarcinoma spreads to the lymph nodes, it causes lymphoma. Lymphoma can also be caused when a cancerous tumour originates in the lymph nodes, according to vetinfo.com.

Symptoms

Symptoms progress very slowly and are usually noticeable only in the later stages, according to cat-health-guide.org. Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight gain, frequent vomiting, vomiting blood, black or tarry faeces, dehydration, anaemia, lethargy, abdominal pain and lumps in the stomach region. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, take him to the vet immediately.

Diagnosis

Vets will perform several different types of diagnostic tests. Vetinfo.com states that these tests include X-rays, ultrasounds, and feeling and examining the stomach. The vet might also do a gastroscopy, running an endoscope down the cat's throat and into the stomach to look for tumours. For this process, the cat is sedated.

Treatment

Because of nearby organs, radiation and chemotherapy are too risky. The treatment for feline stomach cancer is surgery to remove the tumours. Cat-health-guide.org states that cats undergoing stomach cancer surgery will be hospitalised at the veterinary office for 24 hours after the surgery.

Prognosis

Even with surgery, the prognosis for cats with stomach cancer is not good. The average lifespan for a cat after being diagnosed with stomach cancer is from 12 to 14 months

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