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What is Anal Gland Cancer?

Treatment for anal gland cancer is not always effective, but the sooner you begin treatment, the better your cat’s chances are for recovery. If you spot any of the signs of anal gland cancer, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Anal sac adenocarcinoma, or anal gland cancer, is not common in cats, but when it does develop it tends to spread quickly to other areas of the body, including the lymph nodes. It can occur in one or both anal glands, and the tumors can range in size depending on the severity of the cancer. You may not be able to spot a mass without the help of a veterinarian, but other symptoms are observable. Many cat owners mistake the symptoms of anal gland cancer with symptoms of another, far less serious anal gland disorder. 

Anal Gland Cancer Average Cost

From 356 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Symptoms of Anal Gland Cancer in Cats

The most common symptom of anal gland cancer in cats is the formation of a tumor or large mass around the anus. However, the tumor may not be visible in some cats, so it’s important to look for other symptoms as well. Some of the other symptoms of anal gland cancer include:

  • Straining during defecation
  • Ribbon-like feces
  • Loss of appetite
  • Scooting across the floor
  • Excessively licking the area
  • General fatigue
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Causes of Anal Gland Cancer in Cats

Unfortunately, there are no known causes for any type of cancer, including anal gland adenocarcinoma. However, it is widely believed that genetics play a large role in determining which cats are at risk of developing cancer. Environmental factors may also contribute to the risk, but this has not been proven through research.

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Diagnosis of Anal Gland Cancer in Cats

If you spot any of the symptoms above, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Describe the symptoms you have witnessed and when you first began to notice them. Based on the description you provide, the vet will know there is an issue with your cat’s anal glands. However, further testing will be needed to determine if it’s a common anal gland disorder, such as impaction, or if it’s cancer.

The vet will begin by performing a rectal examination, during which he should be able to feel the presence of a mass in the anal glands. At this point, the vet may suggest performing a complete blood count test, urinalysis, and blood chemistry profile. This will give the vet a better idea of your cat’s overall health. It will also help the vet determine if your cat has abnormal calcium levels, which is a side effect of some anal gland disorders.

Either a tissue biopsy or fine needle aspirate will need to be performed in order to test the tumor’s cells for cancer. This is a quick procedure that can be done without putting your cat under sedation.

If cancer cells are detected, the vet will need to perform X-rays or CT scans of the chest and abdomen to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

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Treatment of Anal Gland Cancer in Cats

Treatment will depend on how far the cancer has spread, if at all. The most common treatment method is surgical removal of the anal gland tumor. During the procedure, the vet will also remove tissue surrounding the tumor that may contain cancerous cells. In most cases, the cancer will have spread to the lymph nodes near the anal sac, so these will need to be removed as well. 

Chemotherapy may be suggested after the surgery to ensure there are no other cancerous cells forming tumors in other places in your cat’s body. If the tumor cannot be removed for some reason, the vet can treat your cat’s cancer with radiation therapy. This treatment is also helpful when the vet is unable to remove the entire tumor during the surgery.

If your cat had high calcium levels, the vet may need to administer medication and closely monitor him for the next few days to ensure his kidneys are not damaged.

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Recovery of Anal Gland Cancer in Cats

Each case of anal gland cancer is unique, so it’s difficult to predict whether your cat will recover if he has been diagnosed with this disease. If the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, your cat has a much higher chance of fully recovering. In all cases, the sooner you identify your cat’s cancer and begin treatment, the better his chances are of surviving.

If your cat goes through surgery, it’s important to keep the incision area clean while it heals. You should also put a recovery cone or E-collar on your cat to prevent him from licking the affected area.

During cancer treatment, cats may experience nausea and vomiting. Talk to your doctor about changing your cat’s diet during this time to ensure he is getting the nutrients he needs. 

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Anal Gland Cancer Average Cost

From 356 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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Anal Gland Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mouse Cookie

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American Longhair

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

A Little Lethargic

I have a 10 year old male cat. Recently, he has started pooping on the floor, the poop is very soft, greenish and has bright red blood in it.The frequency is normal, only once a day, he doesn't seem to be in any pain, and not straining when he goes. It's happened four times in the last week. He has had two checkups in the last year that were fine. I have not changed foods, what could be wrong? I'm worried he may have some type of cancer.

Aug. 2, 2018

Mouse Cookie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There are a few possible causes for the green faeces and blood which may include infections, parasites, poisoning, colitis, some cancers among other causes; just because Mouse Cookie has had two checkups in the past year doesn’t mean that something hasn’t developed since, you should visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side and possibly have a faecal test for parasites. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Catto

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tabby

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6 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Cancer

Hello, my 6 years old cat has anal gland cancer. Our veteriniarian said the tumors are very bad, and this condition is very rare in cats. My cat had 2 surgeries they removed the tumors, but they are growing back. Is there any chance for my cat to be saved from this type of cancer? Thanks.

March 10, 2018

Catto's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Without knowing what type of cancer, how large the tumors were, and the location of the tumors, I'm not sure that I can comment on whether there is a treatment for Catto. There are veterinary oncologists that specialize in treatment of cancer, however. It would probably be a good idea to have your veterinarian refer you to a veterinary oncologist, as they can give you an idea of any possible therapy that may help. I hope that all goes well for Catto.

March 10, 2018

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Mimi

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European Shorthair

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hello My cat is 11 years old and she is going in bathroom to often ! Also she has an rash in the skin somewhere inside the anus!is this a sign of any type of cancer? I am very worried !

Feb. 22, 2018

Mimi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. I'm not sure if Mimi is urinating or defecating more frequently, but either way, at her age, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to see her, examine her, determine what might ve going on, recommend any testing that might be needed, and give her treatment so that she is more comfortable and healthy.

Feb. 22, 2018

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Cinnabon/Capuchin

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Persian

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7.5

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hi, I live in Dubai - UAE which has very limited veterinary cancer treatment facilities. My cat, Cinnabon, is 7.5 years old and has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and kidney failure, his recent test came back with high levels of calcium. The vet felt around his anal gland for tumors and was able to find one. We are not sure what options are available to us at this point as undergoing anaesthesia is risky for him due to his heart murmur and kidney condition. Can you please advise how we might be able to confirm the diagnosis, what the prognosis looks like, and what options might be available in terms of treatment? Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Kind Regards, Nora

Nov. 24, 2017

Cinnabon/Capuchin's Owner


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1 Recommendations

Anaesthesia is risky in patients with heart conditions and kidney failure; I would recommend visiting the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai where Veterinarians trained in the UK and New Zealand are available with access to a full service Veterinary Hospital. Without examining Cinnabon I cannot give much guidance and a hands on examination is more valuable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.britishvethospital.com

Nov. 24, 2017

Thank you for your prompt response and recommendation. Capuchin is currently being treated at the British Veterinary Clinic, which is where he was diagnosed just today with the potential anal gland cancer. I completely understand that it is difficult to offer guidance without examining the patient, but I would still appreciate any insight you can share with me about the disease, and potential options Capuchin may have considering his pre-existing heart and kidney conditions. Please understand that I am simply looking for more information and details on the disease, in order to better understand it, and understand what this means for Capuchin. He is a member of the family, and as such I am sure you can understand that I am trying to do everything I can for him and to gather as much information as possible in order to make the best decision for him. I look forward to any additional insight you might be able to share with me. Thank you again.

Nov. 24, 2017

Cinnabon/Capuchin's Owner

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Anal Gland Cancer Average Cost

From 356 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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