Liver and Spleen Cancer Average Cost

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Average Cost

$6,000

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What is Liver and Spleen Cancer?

Liver and spleen cancers can affect cats and other companion animals. They are more common in dogs than cats but can occur in roughly one percent of cats. It is most common in older, male cats. These tumors can be life-threatening and will require medical treatment.

Liver and spleen cancers occur in the liver, spleen, bile duct, or related tissues. Liver and spleen tumors may be benign or they can metastasize, or spread. Tumors that spread are considered cancerous and can affect other organs. Liver and spleen cancer can occur as tumors within these organs or in blood vessels, as both organs have a high concentration of these.

Symptoms of Liver and Spleen Cancer in Cats

Cats with cancer of the liver or spleen may not show any symptoms. It is common for symptoms not to occur until the cancer has either spread significantly, ruptured part of the spleen or liver, or entered a late stage. The most common symptoms are similar to those caused by gastrointestinal issues. These cancers can also affect the neurological system as they spread, leading to issues with mental state and behavior. 

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Discoloration or yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Pain and related vocalizations
  • Lameness 
  • Collapsing or fainting
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Partial paralysis
  • Seizures 
  • Dementia or confusion
  • Depression
  • Pale gums or mucous membranes
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Abdominal mass
  • Internal bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Death 

Types

Various types of benign and metastatic cancers can affect the spleen and liver of cats or other companion animals. The cancer may originate in the spleen or liver, may have occurred in the bloodstream and affected these organs, or might have spread from another part of the body. Types that commonly affect the liver and spleen in cats include:

  • Hemangioma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Mastocytoma or mast cell tumors
  • Mesenchymal tumors
  • Neuroendocrine tumors

Causes of Liver and Spleen Cancer in Cats

The exact cause of cancer in the liver or spleen is unknown. Cancers, in general, are caused by an overgrowth of cells, often in a mutated form. A combination of factors is thought to be the cause of cancer throughout the body, including cases that affect the liver and spleen. Certain risk factors make it more likely that a cat will develop cancer in these organs. Both the feline leukemia virus and the feline immunodeficiency virus increase cancer risks. Cancers are also more common in older cats and tend to affect males more frequently than females. It is also possible for liver or spleen cancer to have spread from cancer elsewhere in the animal’s body. 

Diagnosis of Liver and Spleen Cancer in Cats

With symptoms that can closely resemble gastrointestinal issues, your veterinarian may use multiple diagnostic methods to identify what is causing your cat’s condition. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history and any symptoms you have observed. Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination and may draw blood or collect urine samples for analysis. Standard laboratory testing will be conducted on the blood and urine samples to look for potential causes of your pet’s symptoms. Increases in white blood cell counts, the presence of histamines, or a lack of infection related antibodies may point to cancer. Cancer is most commonly confirmed using x-rays or other imaging techniques. These methods allow your veterinarian to clearly see where the cancer is located and to what extent it has spread. A tissue biopsy may be required if a tumor or mass is located. This biopsy may be obtained by needle or surgical methods depending on the location within the spleen or liver. 

Treatment of Liver and Spleen Cancer in Cats

Various treatment methods may be used if liver or spleen cancer is identified. The method may vary related to the location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread. A combination of treatments may be needed. In some cases, especially if the cancer has spread significantly, treatment may not be an option. Common treatments for liver or spleen cancer include:

Surgical Removal 

Removing the tumor and any associated cancerous cells is the best and most successful method of treating liver and spleen cancer. The liver can withstand a fairly sizeable portion of it being removed if needed. Surgery carries with it some risk and may not be a viable option in all cases, especially if the cat’s health is very poor. Hospitalization will be required if surgery occurs and your pet may need several weeks to recover. 

Chemotherapy 

This is a common cancer treatment, but its use to treat liver and spleen cancer has not been proven. Chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgical removal of the tumor, or it may be prescribed if surgery is not an option. Chemotherapy carries a moderate risk, mostly associated with poor health. Your pet may need several chemotherapy treatments. 

NSAID Pain Relievers 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are a category of pain reliever that is commonly used to reduce fever, pain, and swelling. They can assist with side effects associated with the cancer and related treatments like surgery. They carry a low risk, but proper dosing is needed to ensure the safety and health of your pet. 

Other Medications 

In many cases, other medications will be used in conjunction with other treatments. Antibiotics are often used, especially in cases which tumors have ruptured or caused an infection. Antihistamines are often prescribed with tumors like mast cell tumors, which produce histamine and can cause severe allergic reactions. As with any medication, proper dosing is needed to reduce the risk of side effects. 

Recovery of Liver and Spleen Cancer in Cats

Your pet’s prognosis will depend on several factors. In the case of benign tumors or those that can easily be surgically removed, the prognosis is usually good. Inoperable cancers generally have a poor prognosis. Your cat may require a special diet and additional care while recovering from liver or spleen cancer. Be sure to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions, including those related to medications, nutrition, and follow-up visits. It will be beneficial to your pet to keep their food, water, and litter nearby so they can limit their mobility, especially while recovering from surgery.

Liver and Spleen Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Diddles
Domestic shorthair
12 Years
Moderate condition
2 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Tired
Less appetite

Medication Used

Prednisolone

My 12 year old female cat recently went in for a routine examination (end of August). The vet discovered a sizable mass in her abdominal area. Imaging revealed a tumor in her spleen, not (visibly) spread in any other areas. She was having no clinical symptoms. Despite this, 2.5 weeks later she underwent a splenectomy. She is recovering rather well. However, we just got her results back and the tumor was malignant. I was shocked and saddened by this, because she seems to be doing quite well even though it’s only been a week since her surgery. Now we are waiting on further tests to determine the type of cancer, and if it’s something that will spread despite the spleen removal. My biggest worry is hemangiosarcoma. I know it is very aggressive. Is it likely to be this cancer even though it did not appear to have spread? I’m praying so much that it is something that was contained and removed within her spleen :(

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Nala
Domestic longhair
2 Years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Minimal activity
Weight Loss
Weightloss loss

My Nala wasn't feeling her best so I made an emergency vet visit and that's when we found out she has cancer in her spleen and liver, the doctor and I couldn't belive it be because she is so young, So now she is back at home the doctor gave her steriods and nausea medication to see how she does. She started eating again and is moving around a little but is this the best decision for us to make or should we just put her to rest!? I'm afraid she's in pain and I want to do what is best for her. I guess I was just hoping for a miracle or for the cancer to just disappear 😞

Nala, I just came from the vet with pretty much the same diagnosis. Out of the blue. My male orange ginger, Eli seemed off so I had blood work done and he was anemic and low platelets. 4 days later totally listless and not eating, so I took him in again. Xrays showed enlarged spleen. He will stay for two days and they also are doing steroids, force feeding. :( He lost 2 lbs in 10 days, which is a lot for a cat. I am hoping for the best, but steeling myself for the worst.

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Oggy
Persian
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Diarrhea
Nausea
Loss of Appetite

I found a lump in my cat and sent him to the vet, a huge mass showed and his blood tests were very bad, platelets reached 7500. They put him on antibiotics for 4 days preparing him for an exploratory operation, during the 4 days the lump reduced size but turns out in the Xray, it didn't internally. His liver was also enlarged. After operating, turns out cancer has spread to his spleen, gallbladder and liver, and the doctor said he has low chances to operate and to have chemo. He was shocked with such cancer he has survived to-date. Now my peanut will need injections every 2 days and all we can do is pray, he doesn't eat a lot. I am very saddened and shocked at how this happened, and my biggest worry now is if he get's worst and we need to put him to sleep. Is there any medication I can order? Or any other thing we can do?

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Oggy
Persian
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Diarrhea
Nausea
Loss of Appetite

I found a lump in my cat and sent him to the vet, a huge mass showed and his blood tests were very bad, platelets reached 7500. They put him on antibiotics for 4 days preparing him for an exploratory operation, during the 4 days the lump reduced size but turns out in the Xray, it didn't internally. His liver was also enlarged. After operating, turns out cancer has spread to his spleen, gallbladder and liver, and the doctor said he has low chances to operate and to have chemo. He was shocked with such cancer he has survived to-date. Now my peanut will need injections every 2 days and all we can do is pray, he doesn't eat a lot. I am very saddened and shocked at how this happened, and my biggest worry now is if he get's worst and we need to put him to sleep. Is there any medication I can order? Or any other thing we can do?

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Stanley
Domestic shorthair
16 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Poorer grooming, lower energy

Stanley - Liver tumor:

Hi - My cat Stanley is 16.5 years old. His coat looked poor and he was more lethargic than usual, so I took him in for an examination. He was not vomiting and or showing signs of any gastrointestinal problem or jaundice. Stanley has hyperthyroidism, which is under control with medication, and he had put on a couple of ounces. He has a stocky build and is of normal weight for him, about 12 lbs.

The doctor gave Stanley an ultrasound that revealed a liver tumor around a blood vessel. The tumor is not too big, and his liver is not compromised, as the blood panel showed liver enzymes as OK. But the doctor said the tumor is inoperable because of its location and his age. The vessel could burst and Stanley could die what sounded like a terrible death, and it's not predictable as to when. She said he could possibly live for months, or not.

Stanley has slightly elevated kidney values. It's not at the range of kidney failure, but his kidneys are a bit compromised.

The doctor gave him a Convenia shot, as he has chronic upper respiratory symptoms and also has pancreatitis, to bring down inflammation. Stanley had been talking gabapentin for arthritis, along with his Felimazole for the hyperthyroidism, and it made him loopy, so the doctor prescribed buphrenorphine, and he is doing very well with it. In fact, his behavior, which can be obnoxious, has returned to normal, and I am delighted to have my Stanley back. However, the possibility of sudden death is hanging over us.

I have always taken excellent care of my cats and although my funds are limited, I have been willing to spend additional effort and money to give them extended life with reasonable quality of life. I've had cats take chemotherapy generally with good success for months to a year, and Stanley had radioactive iodine treatment in 2012 when we we could not get his hyperthyroidism under control. He was cured for 3+ years before needing to take medication again. I would normally take a cat to one of the veterinary hospitals within a few hours' drive from our rural location, usually UC Davis. Given the prognosis and his age, I'm wondering if there is much chance they could help him or if that effort would be worth the stress to Stanley, although he is a trooper.

Do you think there is any validity to seeking a second, perhaps more expert, opinion for Stanley? I realize he is of advanced age. He just looks so good, is not thin or sickly, and I have had several cats live to or a bit beyond 20, so I wouldn't ordinarily be put off by the age factor if other factors point in the right direction.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Best - Judy

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Barney
Domestic shorthair
17 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

urine smells sweet
Weight Loss
Abdominal Distension
drinking more

6 weeks ago I took my 17 yr old cat Barney to the vet because of a significantly swollen abdomen. Xrays revealed a large mass. Specialty vet hosp did an ultrasound and said the tumor is on his spleen and in their opinion looked very abnormal/most likely cancerous. They also noted nodules on his liver. Drainage of the fluid in his abdomen and review under microscope did not provide any indication of type of tumor. We opted to just keep him comfortable due to his advanced age. 3 weeks after the visit and the abdominal swelling is back. Yesterday had my vet do the tap and they removed over 1100 ml of fluid. Barney seems to move better but I also noticed that his urine now smells quite sweet. I suspect diabetes because he is hungry and eats/drinks but has lost 2 lbs in the 6 weeks since diagnosis. I know there is not much time but cannot imagine euthanasia right now since he seems to be normal other than the fluid build up.

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Princess
long haired domestic persian cross
15 Years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulties
Breathing Difficulties, anemia

My 15 year old precious girl Princess died on the way to the vet yesterday. It was a horrible experience as she died in the basket on my lap in the car that a friend of mine was driving in a state of extreme distress. I wished it could have been different but it all happened so quick. Two days ago her breathing had become more laboured and she had problems lying down for long and just kept standing up. I did not realise that she probably had a build up of fluid in her lungs which would have made lying down in the carrier fatal.

I made the appointment to which i have referred to at the beginning of this description. She had been diagnosed with lymphoma of the spleen about 3 weeks ago and my vet had only given her weeks to months to live so the prognosis was poor. This was a devastating blow as she meant the world to me. She had been on metacam since November 2018 and lactulose to try and sort out an ongoing constipation issue but ended up needing an enema back on 10 February 2019. Since that procedure she was never quite the same. An ultrasound then revealed a lump which was a huge size and had not been discovered during previous examinations. However, my second opinion vet was concerned initially when finding out she had low blood red cell count and elevated high white cell count in blood and urine tests during January and February 2019. After the ultrasound on 28 March 2019 she was prescribed prednicare and although eating and drinking was not urinating much and appeared to be distressed when attempting to use the litter tray. During the last remaining days and weeks, I nursed her and she was able to go out into the garden of where i am currently residing (it had been a stressful 16 months as I was forced to move out of my flat in January 2018; where we first started our special relationship into two further addresses; the second address is where i have been with princess since April 2018). At the moment the grief is unbearable and I blame myself for putting her in the basket.

I believe that I should have recognised signs and been prepared to act more swiftly than i did because in August 2018 she developed lameness in her right leg, I took her to my previous vet who did not know what the problem was at first but then diagnosed osteoarthritis, we discussed putting her on U move advanced 360 and metacam. I decided to approach another vet for second opinions during November and December 2018. A blood test was scheduled for January 2019 as at that time my finance was extremely poor but the second opinion vet said i could comfortably leave it till the January.

Since I adopted her in 2010 at the age of 7, I have always taken her for regular check ups but about June 2016 during a routine health screen the vet discovered she had a heart murmur, I was very upset even though the vet said it was low grade. I think this was probably the start of her deteriorating health conditions when I look back. As the vet did not suggest any treatment I just took her home and we just carried on as normal. She was an indoor cat and was always slightly overweight, I tried to manage that but it was difficult; also she had bouts of constipation since i adopted her which I treated with kat o lax which worked okay at the time.

Although there were ups and downs and i stressed out over her, we had 9 special years together for which i am truly grateful; i was very fortunate to have had Princess in my life and i will miss her immensely.

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Kelso
short-hair
12 Years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

My 12 year old male cat has been diagnosed with lymphoma. First, the growth was in the appendix and it has been removed. Unfortunately, the tumour has spread to his liver and spleen. His vet said surgery cannot be done hence he's been given traditional Chinese meds.

The concern is he is not eating much and is difficult to administer medication. He gets highly stressed out with force-feeding as well. Also, because he is puking out his food, how can he recover?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that this is happening to Kelso. If he is not eating, is vomiting, and is difficult to administer medications to, there may not be many options for him, sadly. There are anti-nausea medications that your veterinarian can give as an injection that might help, but if you aren't able to medicate him, it makes it difficult to treat his signs. I hope that he remains comfortable for a while longer.

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Sooty
Half siamese
15 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

tumor
fliud

What is the chance of survival if this is to be operated on and removed. He has a tumor on his spleen and it is floating in fluid. He is about 15 years old and a black half Siamese. He is not taking any medication just yet and his blood tests come back in 48 hours.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. WIthout knowing what kind of tumor, what kind of fluid,and more about Sooty's health status, I have no way of knowing what his chances of survival are for they surgery. Your veterinarian will be able to give you an idea as to prognosis for recovery, risks, and benefits to the surgery once they get the bloodwork back and see how healthy his organ function is. I hope that he does okay.

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Piggy
Cat
12 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Medication Used

Prednisolone

My cat was diagnosed used with inoperable liver cancer and chemo was not recommended due to the advanced state of the disease. He was given prednisolone. My question is, what is the average time frame between being prescribed meds and the condition deteriorating? He is eating well at this point and seems to be in No pain as of yet.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
It depends on the type of cancer, the number and size of tumours (as well as location if obstructing bile ducts etc…), amount of functional liver tissue remaining, any metastasis among other symptoms. I cannot give you a specific time frame unfortunately, your Veterinarian may be able to give you an indication but it would be a vague ballpark at best. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Baby
Shorthair
12 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Jaundice
Ascites
Weightloss

Cat is 12 years old, 4 years ago had liver failure - jaundice etc; drip for 1 week and recovered. It has happened again, but this time much worse. It is a month now and she gets subcut fluids every day, with supplements + SAMe. She was syringe fed special diet until last week when we drained the ascites. Since then she has been eating like she hadn't eaten for a month : ) HUGE HUNGER! Has emerged from hiding and is sociable but still not herself, and less jaundiced than before. I was hoping this was signs of improvement... except the ascites is starting again.
Ultrasound shows enlarged liver (in the last month), but no discernible tumor. All other organs look OK. Next step is a biopsy; but I'm wondering if there is any chance it could be a solvable problem or if it is obvious it is cancer and I'm in denial.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Without examining Baby and reviewing the medical records it is difficult to truly weigh in, however without understanding why the symptoms are occurring we cannot determine a course of treatment or management; a biopsy would be the next logical step if there are no obvious signs of liver pathology (tumours etc…) apart from general enlargement, also an analysis of the abdominal fluid (ascites) may also give an indication to a possible underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I took Baby to get a second opinion and this new vet posited Liver Flukes straightaway. Her bile ducts are engorged as this has been going on for some time - the symptoms first appeared 4 years ago. She has been admitted to hospital and is now on anti-parasitics and antibiotics and bile thinning medication as the bile was thick and viscous. She will begin steroids soon to combat the massive inflammation of the liver. The lab results will not be back until Monday unfortunately.

She is very low batt, but eating very well (ravenously) on her own, and still able to recognise us. Her jaundice is reducing slightly each day. The long term prognosis is not good as the extent of the damage might be too great.

I'm hoping her current fatigue is due to the amount of medication she is under and not a sign of further decline.

It's a shame I didn't find this specialist sooner.

In critical cases, a second opinion might be really valuable.

Thank you. I didn't mention that the ultrasound showed a lot of degradation to the liver. Just drained her ascites again and it's not looking at all hopeful. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

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Bubba
tabby
18 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

One week ago took my 18.5 year old cat to Vet...concluded to put him to sleep. He had been diagnosed 4 years ago with renal kidney disease. Over an 1 week period he lost a significant amount of weight, 2 days before making appointment he started having trouble walking on hind legs and day before had 3 seizures. Considering his medical history and without putting him through extensive test, the Vet just physically examined him. Due to breathe odor and feeling his spleen (felt grainy)...he seemed to think it was possible he might have spleen cancer.
I guess I am feeling GUILTY and would like someone to reassure me that I made the right decision.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Based on the information in your questions, you made the right decision; but without examining Bubba or performing a necropsy I cannot assure your for 100%. From what you had described, it seems that Bubba has done well over the last four years and had lived to a good age for a cat. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sammy
Siamese
12 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Appetite
Loss Of Appetite loss of weight

Hi, my cat is twelve years of age and for almost a month now has become aneroxic and has lost almost half of his weight... The last time I took him to the vet, it was confirmed that 70% chance that he has liver Cancer.. Please is there any treatment for it??

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
It really depends on the cancer and the extent of any spread; surgery may be an option but would need to be discussed with your Veterinarian and age as well as liver function and spread may rule surgery out. Liver support with silybin and SAMe are recommended and are available over the counter. Apart from that, dietary management and supportive care are the only courses of action. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kali
Domestic Short Hair
13 Years
Serious
Has Symptoms
Diarrhea
For 6-10 months I've been taking her in for multiple symptoms, that in hindsight make sense for spleen cancer. Drinking more, urinating more. Occasional vomiting and diarrhea. Allergies were blamed but she's been on limited ingredient diet for some time with no improvement. Randomly congested, but not reacting from medication. Viral herpes was suspected. No seizures, no visible blood so wasn't until an ultrasound before a diagnostic biopsy of her gastrointestinal system revealed a mass on her spleen. Biopsy of the spleen tissue was inconclusive and so went ahead with surgery to remove it and some liver tissue.