Lung Cancer Average Cost

From 591 quotes ranging from $3,000 - 10,000

Average Cost

$7,000

First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What is Lung Cancer?

There are two types of lung cancer that affect cats: primary lung tumors and metastatic lung tumors. Primary lung tumors, which originate in the lung, are incredibly rare in cats. The number of cases of primary lung tumors in cats has increased in recent years, though the exact reason for the increase is unknown. Metastatic lung tumors are a secondary type of lung cancer that originally forms in another part of the body and spread to the lungs. Both types of lung cancer primarily affect cats that are over ten years of age.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Cats

The symptoms of lung cancer may differ depending on where the cancer originated, how aggressive it is, and whether or not the affected cat has suffered from prior lung disease. Symptoms may manifest in different ways, and some may not appear at all. For example, certain breathing problems and coughing are surprisingly uncommon; less than a third of cats diagnosed with lung cancer have breathing problems.

Look out for any of the following symptoms if you suspect your cat may have lung cancer:

  • Anorexia, or loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Labored or rapid breathing
  • Excessive coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Excessive hiding
  • Fever
  • Excessive meowing
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden lameness

Metastatic cancer that has spread to the lungs may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on where the cancer originated, including:

  • Change in urination and defecation
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Skin sores
  • Unexplained bleeding

Causes of Lung Cancer in Cats

The causes of lung cancer may vary depending on whether or not the cancer is primary or metastatic. However, the primary cause of lung, and many other types of cancer, is exposure to carcinogenic substances in the environment. Cats that live in households with an active smoker are twice as likely to develop cancer as those that live in smoke-free households.

Diagnosis of Lung Cancer in Cats

The vet will initially perform a chest x-ray, but sometimes these can come back normal even if the cat does have cancer because tumors have to grow to a certain size before they will show up clearly. A biopsy will be taken to confirm the presence of cancer. Ultrasounds and CT scans, used in conjunction with fine needle aspiration (FNA), are also diagnostic methods to diagnose several types of cancer. The vet may also take urine and blood samples in order to test for other diseases.

Treatment of Lung Cancer in Cats

Before recommending a course of treatment, the vet will have to determine the stage of the cancer. However, due to the nature of the cancer, treatment is purely palliative in many cases, or done to ease the cat’s pain as opposed to treating the underlying cause. 

For primary lung tumors, surgery is generally required to remove the part of the lung where the tumor is located. During this process, the veterinary surgeon will administer a variety of pain management medications to the cat in addition to epidural anesthesia. There will also be a chest tube in place that will eliminate any air or fluid in the lungs. Since anesthesia is dangerous for older animals, and even more so for animals who suffer from pulmonary diseases, the cat may be placed on a ventilator during surgery. The surgery will normally be followed by chemotherapy or radiation treatment to slow the spread of any remaining cancer cells. This course of treatment has the best prognosis.

For metastatic lung tumors, the vet will recommend treatment based on where the other tumors are located in the body. Certain types of tumors are difficult to remove surgically and may be treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Unfortunately, by the time the cancer spreads to the lungs, it is usually in its aggressive final stages, resulting in a poor prognosis with a high likelihood of tumor recurrence.

In most cases of feline lung cancer, anticancer drugs may be ineffective as pulmonary cancer tends to have a strong resistance to drugs.

Recovery of Lung Cancer in Cats

The cat will be kept in the hospital until its breathing has improved and pain subsides enough to be managed by tablets. The chest tube must be left in place for 12-24 hours following surgery. During the recovery period, the cat will be given pain medication through IV, patches, or tablets (if the cat is awake).

The cat will not be allowed to exercise for up to 2 weeks following the surgery in order for the surgery site to heal completely. An Elizabethan cat collar or bandage may be used in order to prevent the cat from irritating the site. Swelling may occur near or on the surgery site for up to a week after surgery; this is normal.

The vet will prescribe pain medication which must be taken for several days after the surgery. The vet will schedule follow-up appointments as needed for chemotherapy or radiation treatment, as well as to check for tumor recurrence.

If the owner is an active smoker, the best thing they can do for their cat (and themselves) is to stop smoking. Smoking outside will not prevent the cat’s cancer from recurring, since the owner carries the carcinogen in their hair, clothes, and skin.

Lung Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Samantha
Siamese
13 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

13 yr old, otherwise healthy, cat...x-rays show spots/ probable lung cancer.Breathing becoming labored.Prednisone prescribed, 2 days ago. Doesn't seem to help.Cat still eating, behaving relatively normal..other than wheezing, & breathing labored.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
Without knowing the specific type of lung cancer it is difficult to direct treatment; if there are multiple masses, surgery may not be suitable and we need to consider his age. Supportive and symptoms care can be given, but I would suggest a visit to an Oncologist who would be able to shed more light on the diagnosis and the options available for you. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Samantha's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Blue
Russian Blue
Unsure, older than 10
Serious condition
3 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty
Coughing

A month ago, my cat had x-rays and found a large tumor in his lungs. We brought him home and told us we could either do surgery (but risky because he is older and we do not have the money) or we could eventually have him put down. He does not seem like he is in pain but I do not know. He continues to eat and drink fine. His cough has gotten worse and it looks like he has trouble breathing. I do not know what to do since this is a very sad and tough situation for me. Should we put him down soon? I don't want to put him down too early if he isn't in pain, but I also do not want him to suffer. Let me know what you think. Thank you.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
These cases are always difficult, especially if he is coughing and having breathing difficulties already; I would keep an eye on him and make sure that he is comfortable. You need to try and look at Blue as though you weren’t his owner as your love for him may cloud your judgement about what is in his best interests; also think about keeping him alive is in your interest or his? I know it isn’t an easy question to answer but you need to take a step back. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

One of my cats was diagnosed with primary lung cancer. She had stopped eating and x-rays showed a mass on her lungs. She died less than two weeks later. Another cat was coughing. X-rays showed a mass on one of his lungs. He had surgery to remove the one lobe and it turned out not to be cancer at all. It was related to an overactive immune system. Everyone was surprised that it was not cancer. Three years later he is still doing well, being treated for allergies.

I am so sorry that you are in such a situation. I dread losing my cat, who is 16 years old. I know the day will come when I have to make the choice you are now facing. I literally pray for guidance to know when the time is right. It's very cruel that pets only accompany us for such a short time in this life, but I believe, I MUST believe, that we will meet again someday. I hope you find comfort in your time of need and trust that your decision will be the right one. God bless.

Hi I was at work today and got a call from my daughter that my one cat was not right he had a running nose and coughing so she call the vet took the cat into the vet waited for them to come back and tell her that he had lung cancer not a clue until the running nose today he was ten years old was told bring him home with pain medication or put him down we chose to put him down I can’t be selfish just to have him longer and try stuffing pills down his throat when all it would do is help the pain not putting him through that all I can say is you know what and when to do it may my boy Rest In Peace

Add a comment to Blue's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Hazel
American Medium Hair Brown Tortoise Shell Calico
17 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Urinating Outside Litterbox

Medication Used

Asthma injection
Royal Canin Renal Diet

I'm curious as to what caused the cancer in my cat? While it's possible she was exposed to my mother and father's smoking for the first few years of her life and it MIGHT have caused it, our other cat who lived along side her and almost as long as her has none of the symptoms she had and he still lives with them. Mom had quit smoking when my cat turned 3 but not my dad though he moved his smoking to outside. My cat and I moved out and into a non-smoking household when she was 8. Fast forward to her being 17 years old. I noticed she was breathing weird shortly after her 17th birthday and took her to the vets for a check-up and blood work for a senior cat exam. They also checked her urine. They told me at the time that the younger kitten in the house was making her more active and wearing her out which would trigger her to breathing hard. Her blood work came back completely healthy. I was told that a cat her age should have at least something wrong and showing up in her blood work. They had to double check it was in fact the same cat. They did say that her urine seemed watered down. That she was drinking an excessive amount of water which could be an early sign she is having trouble filtering her system. So they prescribed her to eat Royal Canin renal diet formula. She actually enjoyed it and ate well. She would still run around the house and play with the kitten or me. She ate, drank, and used the litterbox regularly. So I was at ease. She was a little underweight but they said it was normal for cats her age. Three months later she was eating a lot less and her breathing was worse. She was gasping for air and coughing like a hairball was caught. Sometimes she'd vomit and then piss on the floor. I called in and took her once more. They finally did an x-ray. Her stomach was filling with air from her gasping and getting trapped which pushed onto her lungs. One of her lungs was enlarge, but both were very cloudy. They told me it was possible she had feline asthma but it could also be cancer. They gave her the injection treatment for the asthma and told me to keep an eye on her for 24 hours. I believe it was a steroid injection. If she improves it was asthma and we'd start a treatment plan, if not it was cancer. The next morning while I was on the phone with the Vet tech she had another gasping/coughing fit. I felt it was worse than before. They said it was kinder to let her sleep. Cancer treatment would not cure her at that stage and it would only prolong her suffering, so I made the choice. He mentioned she could have had it for a long while but only recently started to show signs. What would cause her cancer? Suddenly and progressively showing such symptoms and without any bad blood work? Was it the smoking my parents did? She was an indoor only cat. No house plants and she only ate hard food. She was picky and would not eat moist food. She did have bad teeth and gave a fight when it came to brushing her teeth using cat friendly toothpaste.. so it wasn't as frequent as it should have been perhaps. Household chemicals were put up in the bathroom out of her reach. ( She didn't like the bathroom. )I'm trying to think of anything else she could have gotten into or around. We don't use perfumes, but we do use Gain laundry soap and Snuggle dryer sheets. ( Neither of which she messed with as old dryer sheets and the lint was thrown out instantly. ) Is lung cancer even hereditary in cats?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
467 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I"m sorry for the loss of your Hazel. You may never know what caused the cancer in her chest. That type of cancer isn't typically hereditary, and at 17, it may have been something that was slow growing until it started to affect her breathing. The sad part of our pets living longer is that cancer does happen at some point to many animals, in many forms. You made the right decision for her, so that she wasn't suffering. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.

Add a comment to Hazel's experience

Was this experience helpful?

nikita
Savannah
6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

coughs

hi, my girl just turned 6.. 2 months ago.the docs found a mass or tumor on her lung and dont know if its cancer..they are saying to cut it out and part of the lung..is this the right way to go or is there other steps before going right to surgery?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
467 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that is happening to Nikita. Since that is such a radical surgery, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion. I can't examine her or see the x-rays so can't comment on the severity of her condition or her general health status, but an ultrasound-guided biopsy might be another option, depending on the location of the tumor. I hope that she is okay.

Add a comment to nikita's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Kazbah
white turkish angora
14 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

what does it mean to have a slow growing nodule on lung of feline?
how many x rays over each month will prove it to be inflammatory granuloma? If it is cancer, how fast does it grow and when do critical symptoms show?

kazbah was scheduled for radiation iodine treatment when this was detected. When would I know I can proceed with iodine treatment to help eliminate thyroid test and medications and have more chance of stability, Now dealing with kidney issues.

have so much to deal with thyroid, kidney and the questionable mass.Finances are low and I am so worried about him, Overwhelmed
with monitoring his medical conditions. What can I prepare for regarding deterioration while he is doing fairly to pretty well. I am alone , and we are vey attached, grieving the loss of his brother Bongo last year, without surgery or chemo how long can I hope to have him and me him? We have had so much loss. please aid in my anxieties. thank you.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
There are no straight answers to your questions since there are many variables, in order to get a definitive diagnosis you would be looking at either an ultrasound guided fine needle aspirate or attempt to get some cells by performing a tracheobronchial lavage (but this can be unrewarding). Progression and size increases can be an indicator of the type of lesion but vary from case to case; x-ray alone is usually insufficient. Prognosis really depends on the type of lesion present and the general progression. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Kazbah's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Kazba
white turkish angora
15 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

was told feline had medium mass on lung but no biopsy taken how do we know it is cancer he has controlled thyroid disease and beginning of kidney disease this mass was noted on x ray

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1955 Recommendations
Masses found on the lung are suggestive of cancer, especially if they are very dense on the x-ray; an ultrasound guided biopsy may be performed but there are limited options available if it is cancer given Kazba’s age and kidney disease. The kidney disease should be managed with dietary changes to reduce workload on the kidneys. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Kazba's experience

Was this experience helpful?