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What is Throat Cancer?

While various forms of cancer can be quite common in older cats, cancer of the throat and larynx are fairly rare in cats of any age. These cancers, of which lymphoma is the most highly reported, can cause tumors to form throughout the throat and on the larynx, which is the area of the throat that contains the vocal chords. These tumors can be very painful, which can make it difficult for your cat to swallow. and will change the sound of your cat’s voice. Any time your cat has stopped eating normally, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. If this cessation of normal eating is accompanied by changes in the voice, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Throat Cancer Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

Symptoms of Throat Cancer in Cats

Internal medical issues can be very difficult for a pet owner to notice. Many times the only way to determine if your cat is ill is to pay attention for changes in the cat’s behaviors. This is certainly true when a cat is suffering from a rare occurrence of throat cancer. The two main behaviors to watch for in regard to this condition are progressive changes in the sound of the cat’s voice when it vocalizes and an unwillingness or inability to eat. If you observe the following symptoms, it is important that you make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately as your cat may be in significant pain and possibly suffering from a life-threatening condition:

  • Progressive change in voice, hoarseness
  • Inability to vocalize
  • Labored breathing due to obstruction of airways
  • Coughing, which is a rare behavior for cats
  • Lethargy and exercise intolerance
  • Loss of appetite, possibly due to the pain caused by swallowing
  • Loss of weight
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Causes of Throat Cancer in Cats

There are several different kinds of cancer that could result in tumors in your cat, although overall, tumors in the throat and larynx are quite rare. In most cases of cancer in a cat, your vet will likely spend much more time on diagnosis and treatment options than trying to determine what might have contributed to your cat’s development of cancer. The following information, however, may be of help to you as you seek treatment for your cat.

  • Causes are not fully clear for many types of cancer.
  • If your cat has lymphoma tumors in its throat, the cause of those tumors could possibly be connected to feline leukemia virus (FeLV), but this connection is less likely than in the past because most cats now receive FeLV vaccinations. 
  • The feline AIDS virus (FIV) has also been connected to lymphoma in some cases.
  • Some studies have shown a connection with long-term exposure to smoke. 
  • Genetics and environmental exposure to toxins and chemicals likely play a role too
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Diagnosis of Throat Cancer in Cats

Your veterinarian will ask you about the symptoms you have observed in your cat. As a part of a thorough physical examination, if you have described the above symptoms to your vet, the vet will likely examine the throat and larynx using an endoscope. The vet will be looking for anything that might be obstructing your cat’s airway or making it difficult for your cat to swallow. If the vet finds tumors in the throat and larynx, biopsies can be done to determine if the tumors are cancerous. If the vet cannot see any tumors or other obstructions, X-rays of the throat and larynx may be necessary. These x-rays may be ordered even if the vet is able to find tumors with the endoscope, in order to determine the size and exact location of the tumors. In addition, the vet will likely take blood, urine, and feces samples for testing as well.

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Treatment of Throat Cancer in Cats

Treatments will vary based upon the location of tumors, the kind of cancer, the rate of growth and invasiveness of the cancer, how advanced the cancer is, the age and health of the cat, and the willingness of pet owners to undertake what can be very costly treatments. In addition, it must be noted that aggressive cancer treatments will likely be a very difficult experience for your cat. Your veterinarian is your best resource for determining how to treat your cat’s condition. In most cases of throat cancer in cats, one or more of the following treatments will likely be used.

  • Surgical removal of the tumors
  • Chemotherapy, which can sometimes cause nausea and vomiting
  • Radiation therapy, which can sometimes cause mouth inflammation
  • High-quality nutritional diet to aid in the healing process
  • Medications for pain management

Because throat cancer in cats is quite rare, there is very little data that can help a veterinarian and pet owner make educated predictions of long-term prognosis for cats with throat cancer. 

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Recovery of Throat Cancer in Cats

If your cat has had surgery to remove tumors, it will likely take several days to a few weeks for it to heal. Your cat will usually require pain medications during the healing process. As is the case with humans and many other animals, after chemotherapy and radiation treatments are completed it can take several weeks or months for a cat to recover strength and appetite. Although there is little data available regarding throat cancer in cats, any time cancer has been treated, there is always the possibility that the cancer will return.

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Throat Cancer Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

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Throat Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Tabby

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump

I just noticed a small lump on the side of my cats throat. Right below the ear. It's the size of a blueberry. Should I take him to the vet?

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to see the lump, unfortunately, I'm not sure if it is a lump that you should be concerned about. Some lumps are benign and resolve, and some can be a problem. Your cat is young, so the chance that it is a tumor is low, but if it is growing or not going away, It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

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American short-hair

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Larhe Round Lump Right Side Of Neck

It seems over the past week my cat developed a large round hard bump inside the right side of his throat. He still meows and eats and drinks. But it grew so fast.

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Any large, rapidly growing lump should be checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Since this lump does not seem to be getting better, that would likely be a good idea. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and let you know what options there are for treatment. I hope that all goes well!

July 30, 2020

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Throat Cancer Average Cost

From 441 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

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