Lymphoma in Cats

Lymphoma in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Lymphoma in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Lymphoma?

Cats diagnosed with lymphoma tend to be middle-aged or older, although cats can develop lymphoma at any age. While there are no breed dispositions for lymphoma, cats who have had either leukemia or immunodeficiency virus have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.

Lymphoma is a common type of malignant cancer that forms when there is an uncontrolled growth in the number of lymphocytes in the immune system. The primary function of lymphocytes is to protect the cat from foreign bodies or substances that may cause harm. The cancer is most commonly found within the gastrointestinal tract, though it may affect any and all parts of the lymphatic system.

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Lymphoma Average Cost

From 531 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

Symptoms of Lymphoma in Cats

Since lymphoma can occur in various parts of the body, including the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, symptoms may vary depending on the location of the cancer. It is imperative that you take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss associated with loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Panting
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Depression

If the following severe symptoms are present, the cancer is in a crisis stage and requires immediate veterinary attention.

  • Seizures
  • Labored breathing
  • Excessive meowing

Lymphoma that is left untreated has a rapid and high mortality rate. Consult your vet immediately in order to ensure the best prognosis possible.

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Causes of Lymphoma in Cats

Lymphoma is caused when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, begin to proliferate, or multiply rapidly at an uncontrolled rate. These cells produce antibodies that help fight disease. Lymphocytes travel through a network of blood vessels through several parts of the body, including the kidneys, chest, gastrointestinal tract, nose, spine, and skin. This network is known as the lymphatic system.

There is also a predisposition for lymphoma in cats who have previously suffered from leukemia or the immunodeficiency virus, though this link is not fully understood. Cats who live in homes with an active smoker also have a higher risk for developing gastrointestinal lymphoma.

Different forms of the cancer will reflect different symptoms; if the lymphoma occurs in the skin, you may notice redness, flakiness, or excessive itching. If it occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, a mass may form or the abdomen may become distended.

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Diagnosis of Lymphoma in Cats

Your vet will first carry out a physical examination to identify protruding tumor masses. They will likely ask you questions about the cat’s disease history, so be prepared to answer any questions they may have about this or your cat’s symptoms.

Your vet may also use a number of tests in order to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma. These include blood tests, cell count, urinalysis, and biopsy. If cancer is suspected in the gastrointestinal tract, chest, liver, or spleen, your vet may also perform chest x-rays and ultrasounds. The vet may also test for feline leukemia and immunodeficiency viruses.

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Treatment of Lymphoma in Cats

The most effective treatment for cats diagnosed with lymphoma is chemotherapy. This will involve the use of several types of chemotherapeutic drugs. Chemotherapy has the highest chance of putting affected cats into the remission stage.

In some cases, particularly with lymphoma located in the gastrointestinal tract, surgery may be required to remove a physical mass. Radiation treatment may also be used in cats that are unable to undergo chemotherapy.

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Worried about the cost of Lymphoma treatment?

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Recovery of Lymphoma in Cats

Unlike chemotherapy for humans, chemotherapy for cats will not cause hair loss, but may cause unwanted side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fever. Your vet may prescribe additional palliative treatment methods to reduce these side effects, including nutritional therapy, and pain management medication.

You will need to ensure that your cat gets plenty of rest during the recovery period. If your cat has had surgery, do not allow it to irritate the surgery site. Always follow your vet’s instructions or recommended courses of treatment to the letter.

There is no cure for lymphoma, but with early detection, immediate action, and swift treatment, your cat will have a better chance of surviving the disease. Your cat will also have a reduced risk for developing lymphoma if you have them vaccinated against feline leukemia and immunodeficiency virus. Ask your vet about these vaccinations, especially if your cat is middle aged.

Unfortunately, due to the aggressive nature of the disease, cats affected by lymphoma generally have a poor prognosis. This is why early detection and treatment are key when it comes to maximizing survival time as well as quality of life. Cats that are older than seven years should have their blood tested by a vet every six months as a preventative measure.

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Lymphoma Average Cost

From 531 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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Lymphoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Tessy

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tabby

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13 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss, Eating A Lot, Unkempt

My sisters cat was diagnosed with lymphoma 21 mths ago and has not received any treatment. If she has the slow action lymphoma can she survive this long. I am concerned she was misdiagnosed and actually had hyperthyroidism. Is this possible? My understanding is that hyperthyroidism is quite treatable however left too long it can be rater. I appreciate you must suffer from many fools who misdiagnose, but from everything I have read it is virtually impossible for this cat to still be eating (large amounts) and playing almost two years after being diagnosed.

July 16, 2018

Tessy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Twenty-one months without any treatment is a long time, however without examining Tessy myself I cannot say whether or not a misdiagnosis was made; if you suspect that Tessy my have been misdiagnosed you should contact your Veterinarian or another Veterinarian (for a second opinion) for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 17, 2018

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Negro

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Calico

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8 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Seizures Walking

My kitty who is 8’has lymphoma. We been tearing him for 3 months with steroids. 48 hours ago he started walking and falling and having petite seizures. I am giving him Neurontin which helps with the seizures but he continues to walk or try to wal nonstop. I don’t know what to do. I hate to think of euthanasia as I don’t believe in it for animals but I don’t want him to suffer.

July 15, 2018

Negro's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Euthanasia is something which whilst not pleasant to think about, does stop the suffering of an animal and relieves the psychological burden of an owner; it does have its place in veterinary (and human) medicine. Without examining him I cannot determine whether any further treatment would be of benefit and would recommend that you follow up with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 16, 2018

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Lymphoma Average Cost

From 531 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$6,500

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