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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

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Short hairef

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Has a huge lump in belly

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment.

Oct. 12, 2020

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Diamond

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Calico

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16 Years

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Serious severity

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9 found helpful

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

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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9 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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Intestinal Tumor Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$6,000

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