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What is Liver Tumor?

Cancer of the liver most often occurs in older cats who are 10 years of age or older; male cats have a slightly greater risk of developing liver tumors than females. Treatment depends on whether the liver tumor is benign or malignant and what organs are involved.

Liver tumors in cats, also known as hepatic neoplasia, occur when a primary tumor develops in the liver, when cancer develops in the blood cells or lymphoid tissue that involve the liver, or when a different type of cancer metastasizes and spreads to the liver. Primary liver cancer is rare in cats and accounts for less than two percent of all cases. The majority of liver cancer occurs when cancer of the spleen, pancreas or intestinal tract becomes metastatic.

Liver Tumor Average Cost

From 459 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Symptoms of Liver Tumor in Cats

Symptoms may vary depending on if the tumor is benign or malignant and if the tumor has metastasized from another primary cancer in the cat's body. These symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased urination
  • Abdominal distension
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and mucous membranes)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Stumbling

Types

There are several different types of primary liver tumors, including:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Hepatocellular adenomas
  • Bile duct carcinomas
  • Mesenchymal sarcoma tumors
  • Neuroendocrine or carcinoid tumors
  • Bile duct adenomas
  • Leiomyoma
  • Hemangioma
  • Bile duct cystadenomas
  • Hepatomas
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Causes of Liver Tumor in Cats

There is no known cause of liver tumors. Researchers believe that age could be a risk factor. The older a cat is, the more cell divisions that its body has gone through, increasing the risk of a mutation. Other possible risk factors include consumption or inhalation of chemicals or toxins, chronic inflammation, and hepatotoxicity.

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Diagnosis of Liver Tumor in Cats

The veterinarian will need to know the cat's complete health history, which will include what symptoms are present and when the symptoms first began. The veterinarian will examine the cat, feeling for any enlarged lymph nodes or abdominal enlargement and listening to its breathing and heart. Because liver tumors are often asymptomatic until they grow and spread to other organ systems, the tumor may be found during a routine exam.

Several labs will be taken, which will include a complete blood count, biochemical profile, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. These labs don't test for liver cancer but can show signs of liver damage or bile duct obstruction, which can lead to further testing. An abdominal ultrasound and chest x-ray will be performed to look for evidence of a tumor or metastasis to the lungs and to eliminate other conditions. To make a definitive diagnosis, the veterinarian will need to do a liver biopsy. This will be done via a needle that is inserted into the liver to remove a sample of fluid or during surgery to remove a small portion of the liver tissue. These samples will then be tested for cancer cells. 

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Treatment of Liver Tumor in Cats

Surgery

Surgery is the preferred treatment for primary liver tumors. Because the liver is regenerative, up to 75 percent of the liver can be safely removed to eliminate the tumor while still preserving function. The cat will be placed under general anesthesia during the surgery. An incision will be made in the abdomen, the tumor will be removed, along with a portion of the liver. The incision will then be closed with sutures. Surgery is normally successful, even for large tumors, when the tumor hasn't spread beyond the liver.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be utilized to slow the progression of cancer that has spread to other organs beyond the liver or for the treatment of primary cancers that have metastasized to the liver. Chemotherapy has a variety of side effects, however, and should only be attempted if these side effects can be managed and if regular abdominal ultrasounds indicate that the chemotherapy is effective in shrinking the tumor.

Medications

Medications for pain management may be prescribed in order to keep the cat comfortable and free from the pain of the tumor. Antibiotics will also be prescribed after surgery to ensure that infection doesn't occur.

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Recovery of Liver Tumor in Cats

When caught early, primary liver tumors have a high success rate after surgery and have a good prognosis. The cat will need to regularly follow up with the veterinarian to monitor the liver for signs of the cancer returning. Cats who have a liver tumor that has metastasized from another primary cancer or have primary liver cancer that has spread have a poor prognosis. The cat will need to be cared for at home and proper care will need to be taken to keep the cat comfortable.

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Liver Tumor Average Cost

From 459 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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Liver 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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Gracie

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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

Serious severity

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2 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Thirsty
Anxious
Eating Often

Our 15 yo female cat was diagnosed with liver cancer after an ultrasound showed multiple tumors. This was after blood tests returned normal. We took her in due to weight loss & voracious eating, which seemed contradictory. Her behavior is mostly normal, but not completely. She wants to always be on our lap, except when she decides to get under the bed (which is open on 3 sides). She also seems "anxious" many times. We are struggling with when to let her go, and tend to think early is better than late, but do these symptoms seem to indicate the 1-2 month prognosis from the vet?

Sept. 12, 2018

Gracie's Owner

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Caesar

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Orange tabby (shorthair)

dog-age-icon

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

Weight Loss
Increased Thirst
Drooling
Acytes

My cat's vet advised that there's a silver dollar sized growth in his abdomen. His blood test revealed jaundice and an increased white blood cell count. He isn't responding to the antibiotics she prescribed. I am curious to know if there are any alternatives to surgery. I read online that milk thistle can help liver cells to regenerate but I'm afraid it may be too late due to the size of the growth (mass). Thoughts or suggestions (any advice) would be greatly appreciated.

Aug. 9, 2018

Caesar's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Milk thistle can be useful to help with liver function and reducing liver enzyme levels, however if there is a mass it wouldn’t be curable with some over the counter plant extract; surgery is most likely indicated due to the the presence of the mass regardless of size. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 10, 2018

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Tinkerbell

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Cat

dog-age-icon

18 Years

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

On Methimazole 5 Mg 2X For A Yr
Thirsty,W.T. Loss, Shedding,Breathi

Not sure about diagnosis from vet. I have labs. Findings say sever diffuse loss of any hepatic architecture, massive enlargement of liver borders, no normal parenchyma remaining.kidneys spleen rn, mild increased muscular layer jejunum???

July 22, 2018

Tinkerbell's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

I can't give an opinion on what might be going on with Tinkerbelll without more information, but those findings for her liver ( i assume x-rays?) describe a very angry liver. For more details on what might be going on with her, it would be best to discuss that with your veterinarian, as they can see her, know more about her history and any other lab work that she may have had done.

July 22, 2018

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Coco

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DOMESTIC

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17 Years

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Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Straining To Urinate
Straining To Defecate

I have a cat who I think is constipated, my vet told me to use Actilax .5mls twice a day and pumpkin in addition to changing to a wet diet. She pooed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but Friday and Saturday she hasn't, and now has blood with her urine (in small blobs of fences too). She is straining to toilet but has a good appetite. She may not be drinking as much water as she normally does. There is a mass near her liver that couldn't be examined properly in the xray because she had too much poo built up. Would she need to be seen by a vet immediately or within the next day?

July 1, 2018

Coco's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Coco is eating and acting generally normal, I would think that she could be seen within the next day. If she is lethargic, or not eating, or crying in pain, then I would have her seen as soon as possible. You can also add some water to her wet food to try and get more water into her.

July 1, 2018

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Coffee

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stray

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Fluid In Abdomen
Breathing Difficulties
Restlessness
Tremor

Hi. I’ve been going through a hard time lately in my life. I had two cats that I originally adopted from a shelter, and I loved them above all. I had a special connection to one of them, the female which I named Coffee. She was a shy cat that must have been traumatized earlier in her life. The shelter expected her age to be 7 years old (born 2011). Because of an accident I wasn’t able to care for them and had no one else. I had to contact the shelter and ask for help. It ended up with them taking them back after 2,5 years together. This happened 2 months ago. Now they told me they had to put Coffee down because she had a liver tumour and she wasn’t gonna survive. She had become very ill very suddenly. Lost a lot of weight. I had her for 2,5 years and took her to the vet two times. The first time because she had diarrhea and because she seemed anxious. Complete blood tests and urine tests were taken. This was autumn 2016. The veterinary examined her abdomen and said it seemed a bit swollen. But then the tests came back great, nothing wrong at all. And se recovered from the illness and was a very happy and healthy acting cat again. But I started noticing that she had small tremors in her legs when she was laying still, not sleeping. Like she had small muscle spasms. This continued for the rest of the years but for some periods of time it got a bit worse and then it got better. She never showed any signs of pain and always seemed calm. I asked a lot of veterinarians and no one knew. It wasnt like epilepsy, it was very small and slow spasms. Now that I know that she had a tumour I start thinking that these symptoms could be because of it? Especially the fluid in her abdomen. She was at the vet a second time 2017 and got most of her fur shaved of because she was a longhair. She looked healthy, in a good shape. The veterinarian didnt mention anything about any fluid this time or anything else being weird. I often reacted to the sound of her breathing which was a little heavy. But she never breathed through her mouth or anything like that. I’ve read that breathing difficulties could be a sign of the liver tumour, why is that? If the cat seems normal, eating well and drinking well, good stools and urine, is happy and playing and jumping around as she was; could that mean she didnt experience a lot of pain until she suddenly got so much worse? Im so sad about my little darling, that she started to get this bad right after she moved back to the shelter. Im blaming myself but there was nothing I could have done. This would have happened eventually anyway.

June 16, 2018

Coffee's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

The problem with some liver tumours is that they don’t really cause an issue until they get past the point of no return and then symptoms may present rapidly, there is no real way to say for certain if the previous issues were related to the liver tumour or not. I wish I could give you some closure on this, but unfortunately I cannot give you a specifics except for this would have occurred eventually either in the shelter or at home with you. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 17, 2018

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Sylvie

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Part maine coon

dog-age-icon

19 Years

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Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Dazed
Excessive Thirst
Leg Weakness

Hi guys... just wondering if anyone has any opinions as to whether my 19yo Sylvie might have had liver cancer / problems. Over the last couple of months(ish) I thought that she was drinking more water than normal but because I am at work during the day and have 3 other cats I wasn't sure. She seemed to be sleeping quite a bit but at that age I didn't blame her. She was also very playful, chasing bits of string etc. Saturday she was 100% normal, jumped up on the table to pinch some treats, went outside for a bit, just Sylvie. Sunday morning I left her sleeping (after a load of fuss and purrs) and went to work. When I got back at 6pm and went indoors I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked in the door. She wasn't in her normal place and I found her looking a bit dazed under the bed. I tried to get her and she managed to walk into the kitchen but her back legs seemed so stiff and she was walking sooo slowely. I put her in the carrier and went down to my friends, when in his place she went to get out of the carrier and she just did a somersault, like her legs weren't working. Straight to the emergency vets who examined her. Eyes, mouth, temperature all normal but she just couldn't make her legs work. The vet felt her all over and said that there was something where her liver would be. It was like something had gone wrong in her brain and she really wasn't with it (the vet didn't think she was in any pain at all). There was really only one decision, hardest thing I've ever had to do but the only one thing I could do for her and I miss her so much it's heartbreaking for me and her daughter. The other thing that wasn't normal is that the next morning when I went to say goodbye I noticed that there wsa a bit of blood around her nose / mouth area. When I went to put her in the box there was a fair amount of blood underneath her which looked like it had come from the back end. I know urine leakage is normal but I have read that blood indicates that there may have been something seriously wring internally. My question is, does this sound like liver problems. I have read that excessive drinking and seizures, leg weakness and the fact that the vet found something noticable in her liver area all point to this. She has now been buried in my garden so autopsy a no no (wouldn't do it to her anyway) but I would value peoples opinions. Thank you Suzi

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Mimi

dog-breed-icon

Long hair tabby

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lost Weight

My Mimi is twelve years old. The vet did a sample blood test on My Mimi the result showed the l liver enzymes are high. An ultrasound was done, the result showed Large, irregular, hyperechoic cystic mass in the liver. Additional small hepatic cyst with no associated nodule/mass. Consideration for the large mass is given to a benign biliary cystadenoma; however, malignant hepatic neoplasia (cystadenocarcinoma, etc.) could also be possible given the elevated liver values. underlying inflammatory bowel disease or other enteropathy could also be possible. The vet wanted to do a fine needle aspiration or biopsy. She is on Demenarin. Can I get some answers regarding the liver? Some people advised me to give colloidal silver, CBD oil, and then Mushroom gold and gold life from pet wellbeing. I don't want to do a biopsy because it is too risky. For now, she is doing okay. Eating and sleeping a lot. She was on the antibiotic I don't know why. The antibiotic makes her throw up. Urine test are clear no sign of bacteria. Stop giving antibiotic

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Bella

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

9 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
Lethargy
Not Eating,
Infected Tooth

Hi my cat has had bloodwork and an ultrasound, needle biopsy and X-rays. The ultrasound and X-ray showed her liver is very enlarged. (15cm) She had a needle biopsy and it showed atypical cells suspicious for carcinoma. She also has an infected tooth that’s loose. She can’t handle anesthesia for the dental work. She has lost weight. Gone from almost 7 pounds to a little over 5 pounds. She hasn’t been eating well for the past 3+ weeks. Very sparsely. I don’t want to put a feeding tube in her. I know she wants to eat because often she approaches the food but I think she has severe pain from tooth because she screams. I don’t know what to do. She’s the sweetest cat. I adopted her after she had her leg amputated. I have taken her to a few doctors with a poor prognosis. I don’t want to put a feeding tube on her, that seems painful.

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Eclipse

dog-breed-icon

Bombay

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss

Eclipse is an approximately 12 year old predominately Bombay black cat. 4 months ago after she lost a lot of weight fast we took her to the vet. He found elevated something in her liver function. Could not find a tumor. We changed her food (she would eat anything) to more protein & watched her. Two months later she was still losing weight, getting very thin. Took her back to the vet. He found a fast growing tumor on her liver. Said nothing could be done except feed her baby meat, liquids & electrolytes. He gave her 2 months. That was 3 weeks ago & as we know it won't be long we are doing everything possible to make her comfortable. She begs for food constantly but only wants the liquids (cooked chicken, fish, etc. mixed with chicken broth). She is peeing a lot, no blood on her stools, wants to be held but is down to skin & bones. What can we do to keep her comfortable through these last few weeks or days before we have to take into the vet?

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Leia

dog-breed-icon

English short hair

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Mass In Abdomen

My 17 year old been losing weight recently. She went from 4kg to 3kg in 9 months. Two days ago she had an X-ray and ultrasound and they found a mass on her liver so her liver is 3 times bigger than it should be. The mass is so big in the X-ray it’s starting to touch her intestines now. Kidney and liver function came back good on blood test. She’s very weak, not eating much and having trouble walking on her back legs. Vet said the tumour can’t be removed. But then it is a charity vet. Well two different charity practice vets said it cannot be removed. Are they just saying this because they don’t have much money as a charity or are they right? They wouldn’t do a biopsy either. If it could be removed I really think she would live for maybe a year or more. There is no evidence it has spread.

Liver Tumor Average Cost

From 459 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

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