Intestinal Tumor Average Cost

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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.

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)

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.

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.

Treatment of Intestinal Tumor in Cats


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.


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.

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.

Intestinal Tumor Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

13 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


My cat had a large expansive, nodular, mass in left abdominal wall extending to midline. At time of examination, he was acting like a normal cat. The day after examination, he went downhill, sleeping in a box,...etc. My question is could the physical exam caused pain in the area, or broken the mass a bit or is this all just a coincidence. How much pressure is put on a mass during the examination. Just trying to deal with the loss, and understand, as it went downhill so fast, and I put my baby to sleep.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
486 Recommendations
Thank you for your email, and I am truly sorry for your loss. Without knowing what kind of mass Pookie had, I'm not sure whether the exam could have caused trauma. I would think, however, that if the gentle pressure that is used to do an abdominal palpation caused the tumor to rupture or otherwise caused trauma, that it was sadly probably only a matter of time before that happened on its own. You may never know whether that happened during the exam, or if it was a coincidence. Again, I am sorry for your loss of Pookie.

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domestic medium hair
12 Months
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Straining To Defecate

Need some advice. My cat is almost 13 and has a tumor in his colon area. We did ultrasound and colonoscopy and we think it has metastasized. I do have the pathology reports from the biopsies. If there's anyway I can send you a copy of the report that might help.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
486 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Moofie. Unfortunately I don't have any way to receive the pathology reports. It does sound like you have a great veterinary team that has been helping you through this. If he is straining to defecate because of a tumor in his colon, he may need to be on stool softeners and a low residue diet to help him pass stool more comfortably. If he isn't already on those things, you can ask your veterinarian if they might be appropriate for his stage of disease, to help him be more comfortable.

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13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


Medication Used

Some compulsive swallowing

Hi, my 13 yr old female cat has had sudden onset vomiting, lethargy, not eating, bloods normal except for slight rise liver function, ultrasound shows slight thickening small intestinal wall,fna shows occasional spindle cells, fine chromatin, large nucleoli. Should we go further with laparoscopy? Could this be toxicity only? Thanks, want to make best decision for her

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1988 Recommendations
It may be that there is a gastrointestinal stromal tumour, but this would need to be confirmed by the Pathologist; I would try to get confirmation before going in for a exploratory laparotomy. Your Veterinarian should guide you to the best course of action taking into account the symptoms and the severity of the thickened small intestine. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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