Unlike humans, animals do not have the ability to let someone know verbally when they are not feeling well. Owners of pets must instead look for signs and symptoms if their pet begins to act differently or like something is wrong. Although it is uncommon for liver cancer to originate in the cat's liver, knowing what symptoms could be associated with the disease can make a difference in the treatment, health and overall life of the cat.
One of the most noticeable symptoms of liver cancer in cats is a form of icterus, which can also be known as jaundice. The cat will appear to have yellowing of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. A cat may also experience vomiting or seizures. The owner may also notice that the cat's faeces are a pale grey colour or that the urine is appears orange in colour. The cat could also experience a noticeable weight loss, as well as vomiting and diarrhoea.
A change in a cat's behaviour is one of the easiest ways an owner can tell something is wrong with her pet. A cat that is experiencing liver problems may appear lethargic and depressed, without the desire to play or walk around with the owner. The cat may also begin to drink water more often, also known as polydipsia. With the increase in water consumption will come an increase in urination, known as polyuria. A loss of appetite may also occur.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Liver cancer in cats can only be diagnosed by a veterinarian. The vet will do a thorough physical examination and will take a detailed history of the cat's health. Also involved in diagnosis are blood tests, chest and abdominal X-rays or ultrasounds, and a liver biopsy. Due to the liver having the ability to function while affected by disease, a cat's liver cancer may not be detected until it is advanced. In order to treat the cancer, a vet may decide to perform surgery to remove the tumour or to have the cat undergo chemotherapy. A supportive therapy is also an option, consisting of medication, a special diet, IV fluids and treatment of additional symptoms as they arise.