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What is Intestinal Tumor?

Intestinal tumors are most likely to occur in middle-aged to older cats who are over six years of age. Male cats are more likely to develop intestinal tumors than females.

Though uncommon, there are a variety of tumors that can develop in the large and small intestines in cats. These include adenocarcinoma, malignant tumors that affect the gastrointestinal tract; lymphomas, a type of cancer that originates in the lymphocyte cells of the lymph nodes; leiomyosarcomas, a painful type of cancer that occurs in the intestines; mast cell tumors, which originate in the skin; carcinoid tumors, which develop in the mucous lining of the intestines; gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), which begin in the mesenchymal cells in the intestines, and leiomyomas, benign tumors that develop from the smooth tissue in the intestines.

Intestinal Tumor Average Cost

From 557 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Symptoms of Intestinal Tumor in Cats

Symptoms vary slightly, depending on the type of intestinal tumor that is affecting the cats and where in the gastrointestinal tract it begins forming. Malignant tumors that have spread to other organs in the body may also present varied symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Excessive gas (flatulence)
  • Vomiting, perhaps with blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Rumbling noises from abdominal area (borborygmus)
  • Hardened mass felt in abdominal area
  • Straining to defecate (tenesmus)
  • Black colored stools (melena)
  • Distended loops of small bowel that are painful
  • Weakness due to low blood sugar
  • Stools that have bright red, bloody streaks
  • Protrusion of rectal wall through anal cavity (rectal prolapse)
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Causes of Intestinal Tumor in Cats

There are no known causes of intestinal tumors. Because they are normally found in older cats, researchers believe that they could form due to a mutation during cell division. The older a cat is, the greater the number of cell divisions that have occurred, increasing the likelihood of a mutation that causes a tumor to form.

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Diagnosis of Intestinal Tumor in Cats

The veterinarian will perform a physical exam of the cat, feeling for any masses in the abdomen and placing a gloved finger into the rectum in order to feel for any palpable masses in the rectum and anus. The veterinarian will need to know the cat's health history and a detailed list of symptoms in order to correctly diagnose the leiomyoma. 

More common gastrointestinal conditions, such as pancreatitis, parasitic infections, obstruction from a foreign body or inflammatory bowel disease, must be ruled out in order for the cat to receive a proper diagnosis. Tests to rule these conditions out will include a biochemical profile, complete blood count and a urinalysis. A fecal test to look for the presence of blood in the stool will also be completed. An abdominal ultrasound will also be performed. The abdominal ultrasound will be used to look for any masses or thickening of the tissue in the bowels or stomach, which is indicative of a tumor. The veterinarian may also use the ultrasound to guide a thin needle into the cat's abdomen, taking a sample of the fluid in order to look for cancer cells.

A special test that uses dye, known as gastrointestinal contrast radiography, may also be performed. Prior to the test, the cat will be given an oral dose of a dye solution called barium. The dye illuminates the gastrointestinal tract during X-rays. Multiple X-rays will be taken of the gastric tract as the barium passes through the cat's digestive system. This allows the veterinarian to look for and identify the tumor. Rarely, an endoscopy may be performed. During the endoscopy, a small, flexible tube with an attached camera will be inserted into the stomach and/or the rectal area to help the veterinarian visualize the tumor.

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Treatment of Intestinal Tumor in Cats

Surgery

Surgery is the most commonly used treatment for intestinal tumors. The veterinarian will make a small incision into the abdomen in order to remove the tumor. The portion of the intestines that contained the tumor will be removed and the intestines will be resected. The incision will then be closed with sutures.

Dietary Changes

The veterinarian may place the cat on a specific diet that will consist of frequently eaten small meals that are easily digestible and high in nutrition. This diet will allow the food to pass through the digestive tract more easily and help the cat to get the nutrition it needs without food becoming obstructed.

Medication

The cat will be prescribed painkillers in order to control its pain from the tumor. Chemotherapy, a medication used to kill cancer cells, is sometimes recommended but is often not successful.

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Recovery of Intestinal Tumor in Cats

Because intestinal tumors often metastasize to other parts of the body and grow quickly, the prognosis is typically poor. If surgery occurred, the cat will need to wear an Elizabethan cone in order to prevent it from biting its sutures. The veterinarian will need to follow up with the cat to ensure that the incision site is healing well and is free from infection. At each follow-up appointment, a physical exam and ultrasounds will be taken to monitor the intestines for any tumor re-growth.

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Intestinal Tumor Average Cost

From 557 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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Intestinal Tumor Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Diamond

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

16 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My cousins cat Diamond is 16 years old. They found a 2 centimeter tumor on her small intestine which was found from a sonogram.She was not feeling well and had thrown up and I had seen blood spots on the floor. I took her to the emergency vet hospital. They found the tumor. They gave her a steroid shot and a shot for nausea. Her kidney levels had been a little on her blood work. She is feeling a lot better from the steroid. They also found a heart murmur. They also said the heart murmur is a risk with anesthesia She eats and drinks. They suggest surgery. We are afraid due to age and anesthesia if she will make it through the surgery, but they do not know if it is cancerous or not but they feel it needs to be removed if they can remove it because of where it is. We don't want her to suffer. I am so worried. Is it worth the surgery?? Is this a difficult surgery??

Aug. 20, 2018

Diamond's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If the lesion is singular and localized, which it sounds like it is, the surgery should not be complicated. As far as whether the surgery is worth the risk of anesthesia for her, I can't comment on that without being able to see Diamond's lab work or examining her. That would be a good conversation to have with your veterinarian, as they can assess her health and know what the risks for her might be. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 21, 2018

Thank you very much, you made me feel better about it all. One vet seems to think it is isolated but they will not know until they go in for the surgery. Her blood work is good except for the elevation in the kidneys. Most of Diamonds life was spent outside of My cousins house in a court yard with her mother cat. She died several years ago. My cousin moved into another house and then let Diamond live under her carport where she was free to roam. Then a few years ago she moved again near me and she had her under her carport again and I told her she should not roam due to the feral cats around. I finally talked my cousin into letting her live inside. I also took her to the vet for shots because she had never been to a vet, except for when she was a kitten to have her spaded. For never had been to a vet they said she was healthy.This year is the first time she has been really sick. I do think the steroid shot has helped her. She has only thrown up once, but she is eating, drinking and having good bowel movements. Please Pray for Diamond. Her surgery is tomorrow morning at 10:30. Thank you again for your help, God Bless, Tami!

Aug. 21, 2018

Diamond's Owner

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Morgan

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tabby

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Weight Loss
Tumor
Blood In Stool
Colon Mass

My 13 yr old indoor cat xray shows a large mass in her colon area with a large blockage of feces unable to pass through. The xray​ may also indicate that she has tumors in other parts of her body. She has been behaving normally otherwise. She has weight loss, diareeha​ ​ and more recnetly​ been pooping clots of blood rather than feces. We visted​ the vet this morning and gave options including surgery, chemo, and humanely putting her at rest. Surgery seems like an expensive and not too promising option. He gave her a sterio​d shot to help lessen inflammation and she is on a medicated diet for gastro-intestin​al issues. Can she survive this, even for a short amount of time? Should I have the surgery?

July 15, 2018

Morgan's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If the mass is causing luminal blockage of the intestine, many issues may occur especially if you’re not going to go through with surgery; surgery may be a good option depending on the specific location of the mass and other factors. See how Morgan goes for now but continue checking in with your Veterinarian and see each day as it goes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 16, 2018

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Gee Gee

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Mog

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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

Weight Loss
Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Consciousness
Lump In Intestines

My vet has just found a lump in my cat’s intestines. She has lost a lot of weight, more so in the last couple of weeks. She has been given antibiotics and steroids to take down any inflammation. She is about 15 years old so don’t want to put her through invasive surgery but I don’t know what to do. I had to put another of my cats to sleep for exactly the same reason 2weeks ago but the lump they found in her intestines was much bigger. I am still grieving for her and can’t believe we are going through the same.

May 31, 2018

Gee Gee's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

It can be distressing when two cats are affected by similar conditions so close to each other, whilst surgery may not be the favoured option you should still speak with your Veterinarian to determine whether Gee Gee is a suitable candidate for surgery or not based on physical examination and blood tests (just a suggestion). You need to monitor Gee Gee for signs of discomfort as cats are stoic and hide pain well; ensure that Gee Gee is fed a highly digestible diet and ensure that she is comfortable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 1, 2018

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Fifi

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Ragdoll

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Anorexia, Lost Weight And Muscle

My cat has had an ultra sound scan and one of the stomachs lymph nodes has a pitted mass on it, measuring 3x normal size. The instestines are also thickened. Full blood count showed no raised levels of white cells but low cholesterol. All other tests normal. Vet has prescribed steroids and pain killers as suspects cancer/ lymphoma But why no raised white blood cell count?

April 29, 2018

Fifi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

WBC counts can wax and wane, depending on the body's response to infection or inflammation. If Fifi has an infection but is immune compromised, for instance, her counts may appear normal on lab work. We always look at the entire clinical picture when diagnosing and treating disease, not individual numbers. I hope that she is okay.

April 30, 2018

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Mickey

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Russian Blue

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Runny Stool
Large Kidneys

An x-ray has shown a fairly big mass in or around my 5 year old cat's intestines but it is unclear what kind of mass it is or if it's attached or grown into the intestine. With pain killers and an appetite boosting ointment, Mickey is eating nearly normally and still drinking. Our vet has declared it cancerous, but is it possible that a biopsy or less invasive test could prove otherwise? I'm wary to proceed with treatment for such a vague diagnosis.

April 11, 2018

Mickey's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If a biopsy was to be made of the mass, general anaesthesia and laparotomy would most likely be the method of choice; in a Veterinarian’s mind, if you are going to do all that for a biopsy you may as well remove the mass and send it for histopathology to reduce other surgeries etc… An ultrasound may give some better detail of the mass, but will still leave many questions afterwards. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 11, 2018

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Tom

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dsh

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13 Days

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Stomach Gurgling

11-13 year old neutered male,"Tom". Depressed appetite stool loose sometimes bloody.Did full lab panel (slight decreased albumin)full body X-rays 2 months ago, at weigh in noted Tom had lost approx 3-4 lbs (has been a muscular 16-17 lbs since we rescued him about 10 years ago) Weight loss, decreased appetite continued so return to vet today. Vet palpated abdomen & now says he feels a GI mass. Unsure about next step. Ultrasound and/or surgery or leave him alone to enjoy his time with us. We don't want to put him through trauma-he is so upset after today's visit he won't come out from under the couch.

dog-name-icon

Time

dog-breed-icon

Savannah

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Low Appetite , Low Weight ,

10 month old cat ,low appetite ,slim..did vomit 3 times early am But did get in dog food ..took to the vet , vet found mass, did ultra sound ,did not show cause if mass..wants exploratory surgery..got cat home was loving on him .. cat feel anything on stomach ,even where they shaved for ultra sound..they did give amtibioticz..should we b able to feel mass

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Cookie

dog-breed-icon

Maine Coon, Persian cross

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss & Smaller Appetite,
Noticable Stomach Noises When Near

Over the last month or so, I noticed my Male cat 'Cookie' was losing weight. Just today, he has been diagnosed with a 1mm mass in his small intestine. They are going to remove it next week and send it for testing to see if it is malignant or not. He is 11 years and 8 months old and up till now has NEVER had any health issues. All his other organs are fine and it doesn't seem to have spread. Watch this space, I will update on this site.

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Lucy

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Calico

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Constipation
Throwing Up
Spitting

My cat began experiencing these symptoms back in March, but I had been going through personal issues, so I thought she was just feeling my mood. Then in August, it had gotten bad and she had tried having a bowel movement and throwing up, but more than usual. She went to the vet and they saw she had a mass on her intestines. She’s been on prednisolone since then and has just finished her last refill. What are the chances that the mass could be gone? Lucy is my everything and I can’t bear the thought of putting her down. She’s lost a lot of weight since August, but she’s eating normally. She’s still urinating, but bowel movements are not happening. Could it be from the meds?

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Rudy

dog-breed-icon

Shorthair feline

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Low Blood Sugar
Lethargic
Mass In Colon

Our cat Rudy who is estimated to be around 5 years old began to be very lethargic. Our vet weighed him and he had lost almost 3 pounds which was 1/4 of his weight. All blood results came back normal except blood sugar levels were extremely low. Vet put him on prednisone and that brought levels back to normal. She suggested an ultrasound to find cause fearing it may be a growth on his pancreas which is extremely rare in cats but does cause increased levels of insulin resulting in low blood sugar. The ultrasound showed a mass in his colon but nothing in the pancreas or anywhere else that could be seen. At this point we are leaning towards surgery to remove the mass in the Colon but our hope is that is the cause of the low blood sugar. All the vets have told us that this situation is extremely rare in cats. Any comments or advice?

Intestinal Tumor Average Cost

From 557 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000