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What is Enlarged Spleen?

The spleen is an elongated organ that is on the left side of the stomach in cats. Though the organ isn't essential for living, an enlarged spleen may be a symptom of a more serious or chronic disease that will need veterinary care.

Splenomegaly, or an enlarged spleen, is a symptom of another condition or disease. The enlargement is due to inflammation, which occurs due to infiltration of abnormal cells as a result of the primary condition. The primary condition that is causing the enlargement is typically related to the function of the spleen, such as filtering blood or synthesizing antibodies in the cat's body. The cat's spleen may either enlarge uniformly over the entire organ or enlarge asymmetrically.

Enlarged Spleen Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Enlarged Spleen in Cats

Because the spleen is responsible for storing and filtering blood, removing old cells and foreign bodies from the bloodstream, and helping the immune system function properly, the cat may experience a variety of symptoms that warrant investigation in order to treat the primary cause of the enlargement. 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain/sensitivity
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
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Causes of Enlarged Spleen in Cats

There are a variety of causes of splenomegaly in cats, which include: 

  • Abdominal injury due to trauma
  • Heart failure
  • Heartworms
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Infectious disorders, such as feline infectious peritonitis
  • Cancer, such as multiple myeloma and feline leukemia virus
  • Bacterial infection
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus
  • Splenic torsion (rotation or twisting of the spleen)
  • Fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis
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Diagnosis of Enlarged Spleen in Cats

The veterinarian will examine the cat, feeling for swollen lymph nodes and a swollen abdomen. In some cases, the enlarged spleen will be protruding through the abdominal skin and is noticeable with a visual examination. The veterinarian will need to know the cat's complete health history, all of the symptoms the cat is experiencing, and when symptoms first began.

A complete blood count, biochemical blood profile and a urinalysis will be taken. These tests will help the veterinarian determine the primary condition that is causing the spleen enlargement. The tests will also show how the other organs, such as the kidneys and liver, are being affected by the primary condition. The blood tests will typically also show signs of an enlarged spleen, which include a high white blood cell count, low hemoglobin levels (anemia) and abnormal cells that are causing the inflammation.

Diagnostic tests, such as an x-ray and ultrasound, will be performed. These tests will allow the veterinarian to view the spleen and the surrounding organs for any abnormalities. A fine needle aspiration may also be performed. During this test, the veterinarian will insert a thin needle into the spleen, drawing out a fluid sample for further analysis. In rare occasions, exploratory surgery may be necessary if a diagnosis isn't found with other tests.

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Treatment of Enlarged Spleen in Cats

Treatment of the enlarged spleen will depend on treating the primary condition that is causing the inflammation.

Medication

Corticosteroids may be prescribed by the veterinarian in order to reduce the inflammation in the spleen and other organs. If the enlargement is due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. Autoimmune primary causes will be treated with immunosuppressants, which work to suppress the reaction of the immune system. Cancer may be treated with chemotherapy, which will work to kill the cancer cells in the cat's body. Cats who are severely anemic may need to take iron supplements. Medications to treat fungal infections may also be prescribed.

Surgery

In cases of splenic torsion or trauma, the veterinarian may need to remove all or part of the cat's spleen (splenectomy). This will be done in the hospital under general anesthesia. During surgery, the veterinarian will make a small incision in the cat's abdomen. The entire spleen or affected portion of the spleen will be removed and the blood vessels attached to the spleen will be clamped and tied. The incision site will then be closed. Surgery may also be necessary to remove any tumors or masses that have formed due to cancer.

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Recovery of Enlarged Spleen in Cats

The cat will need to continue to take medication as prescribed by the veterinarian in order to prevent the primary condition from worsening and causing the spleen to enlarge once more. Follow-up appointments to monitor labs and medication will be necessary. If the cat had surgery, it's important to care for the incision site at home to prevent infection from occurring. Keeping the cat calm and stopping strenuous activities is essential in proper recovery.

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Enlarged Spleen Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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Enlarged Spleen Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Lola

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Main Coon

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9 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My Lola has been having diarrhea and vomiting for 1 week took her to the vet and her blood work come normal and her urine come that she has a urinary track infection. They gave her some pills and her vomiting stopped but not the diarrhea. They ended up doing a ultra sound and found she has a enlarged spline and her lymph node are swollen and she has a bowel inflammation. So they gave her the prednisone 15 mg. It’s been 5 days and no vomiting which that god is great but she’s still having diarrhea. And when she’s pooping I guess her feet not holding her coz she fall into it.

June 14, 2018

Lola's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It may take some time for the bowel inflammation to get under control, continue with the prescribed treatment for now since five days is still a short period of time. You should also follow up with your Veterinarian next week to check for progress overall. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 15, 2018

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Bosco

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American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Vomiting
Lump

My nearly 16 yo cat was diagnosed and had surgery for a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer of the mammary ducts. She has since then surpassed her prognosis and returned mostly to her old self, outliving the predicted life expectancy by 17 months. I am so thankful. She has developed at least one other small tumor, that she has had for several months now, that doesn’t appear to be growing very quickly, which after much consideration and discussion with the vet, we’ve decided not to put her through further surgery for this aggressive cancer and her high anxiety levels leaving our home or dealing with other people. We returned home Saturday after a week away, I noticed a swollen lump in her lower left abdominal region, elongated and rounded on the ends. She continues to have regular bm’s, urination, and continues to eat and drink. She however is excessively grooming the inside of that left upper thigh. She has thrown up a few times, usually bile and it rocks her off her feet it is so forceful. Not a completely alien occurrence. The only other odd behavior I have noticed is at times she goes to drink water and she meows at me. I wash her container, gotten fresh water, changed containers, and still she will meow after a small sip. My sister took care of her during our absence but our pet is a one person cat. So the chance of my sis getting a glimpse of her belly much less a touch was slim to none, so she had no idea. Is there anything else this can be other than the spleen? It is visible through the skin, but is not attached, and feels somewhat soft but firm. Thank you!

May 23, 2018

Bosco's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Bosco's spleen is actually in the mid to cranial part of her abdomen, normally, so I'm not sure that what you're feeling is her spleen, especially if it is visible through the skin. That sounds like it may be a new growth of some kind, and while I'm not sure that you will need to consider surgery since her behavior hasn't changed much and you have decided not to pursue further surgery, it might be a good idea to get it checked out to see what it might be. I hope that everything continues to go well for her.

May 23, 2018

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Cayanne

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DOMESTIC

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eati

15 year old cat stopped eating. Went to vet first for a blood test- which showed nothing- then an xray. They are suggesting a sonogram because they think there is a mass or enlarged splean pushing some of the other organs outword. My cat has always had vomiting issues and has had tests done in the past that show nothing. She also has an overactive thyroid. Vet gave her fluid and anti nausia medication and now Shell eat if i feed her but has difficulty on her own. Since nothing showing in her blood- what coykd it be

April 18, 2018

Cayanne's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

It is difficult to say what might be going on with Cayanne without further testing. The ultrasound would be a good idea to look for any abnormalities that may be causing her decreased appetite. I hope that she is okay.

April 18, 2018

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Angel

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Maine Coon

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16 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

No Apparent Symptoms

I have a 16 year old cat who's been diagnosed with splenomegaly. In addition to this recent diagnosis, he was also recently diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, stage one chronic renal failure and is now developing congestive heart failure along with a mass that has developed in his liver within the last month. The initial intent was to have his spleen removed; but his vet has mentioned that given these other conditions, my cat's health could potentially crash after the surgery. My question is if there's alternate treatments that can be done to treat or reduce my cat's splenomegaly.

Oct. 9, 2017

Angel's Owner

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0 Recommendations

There is no universal treatment for splenomegaly as it is a symptom not a condition itself, something else causes the spleen to enlarge. Infections, autoimmune diseases, tumours, torsion, heart failure among other causes may lead to splenomegaly; therefore any treatment should be directed at the primary condition and not specifically at the spleen. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 9, 2017

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Whiskers

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Maine Coon

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Cat seems to hack/cough like a hairball is coming, but nothing comes. It's random. Just started after we moved to another state (also near a coal plant). Vet gave hairball medication but hasn't worked. She crackles/wheezes afterward. She crouches and stretches her neck out and twists her head to the side when she does the coughs. Vet said her lungs sound clear. He said X-ray of lungs look fine, but online it said I shouldn't see branches in her lungs (I see very faint gray lines). The rest of her lungs are black (air). What could this be? He didn't say anything about her heart and just chalked it up to an allergy (because she wasn't coughing there at the clinic). I said it was random times but he dismissed it. I'm afraid it could be asthma.

July 26, 2017

Whiskers' Owner

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On an x-ray you will still see faint grey lines as the trachea, bronchi etc… of the lungs are made up of tissue which partially block the x-rays passing through them, bones block all of the x-rays and air blocks nothing (the film starts clear and the x-rays turn the areas black). There are many different causes for hacking cough including allergies, chemical irritation, heart failure, laryngeal problems etc… If you are still concerned, you may visit another Veterinarian for an examination; ask your original Veterinarian for a copy of the x-ray (so you don’t need to pay again). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Tatu

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european

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lost Weight
Lost Weight, Drinks A Lot,

our 10 year old cat has a huge ascite, an enlarged spleen and a cystic liver, his red blood cells count and all granulocytes are very low. The vet does not know what to do and gave him some diuretics ( dexametazone). Is that the right treatment? I don't want to make him worse. could you please advice?

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Nemo

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Domestic shorthair

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7 Weeks

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite

My kittens skin has gone purple around her abdomen and her lips. She is very tired and only lying on her side. Her stomach is swollen. Very potbellied and it feels like there is a large squishy lump around her stomach about the thickness of a grape. She is breathing but heavily and irregularly but about 40 times a minute. She still eats well but her food is coming out the same as it goes in. Her lower stomach sounds like it's full of air and fluid when I touch it. What is this?

Enlarged Spleen Average Cost

From 558 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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