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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 known 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. 
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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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dog-breed-icon

American short-hair

dog-age-icon

Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 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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0 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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Cat

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Ten Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On His Throat On Left Side

A large lump under his neck on the left side around jaw and neck

July 17, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

hello, This can be an abscess or mass forming. There are also lymph nodes and salivary glands that live in this area. If the swelling does not go down, it would be best for your cat to see your vet. They can start your cat on medication to help decrease this swelling. I hope your cat gets to feeling better soon.

July 17, 2020

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Kitkat

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Bengal

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7 Months

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lump

My cat is having a lump in its throat not just one but 4. 2 lumps on both sides. Well there's nothing seem so weird with her actions its just that every time i pet her it makes me worry because i can really feel the lumps

July 19, 2018

Kitkat's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Any new lumps or bumps should be checked by your Veterinarian to determine where these lumps are originating from (lymph nodes, salivary glands etc…) and the underlying cause; without examining KitKat myself I cannot say with certainty what the cause is. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 20, 2018

Quote: "My cat is having a lump in its throat not just one but 4. 2 lumps on both sides" My cat "Tux" has an identical problem-two, and they are hard lumps. He was fine for quite a while but now vomits and hides (he is a house cat). My vet wants $500 just to diagnose it. Tough decision, I love him but can't afford to follow through with surgery, which of course might not be successful. A dilemma. Signed: Dan. Tux's pet human

July 27, 2018

Dan M.

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Oliver

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American Shorthair

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Seems Less Playful

My cat has a small oval shaped lump on the left side under his throat. It’s been there for about two weeks. It’s movable but doesn’t travel away from his throat area. It’s about the size of the tip of a pinky. Not sure what it is but hoping it’s not cancerous. He does not have the same on the other side on his throat.

June 5, 2018

Oliver's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are many different structures in the neck around the throat area which may enlarge or cause some type of swelling, notably the thyroid gland (see image below) is a common cause and is located below the larynx either side; you should have your Veterinarian check the mass to determine its origin and to make a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://i.ytimg.com/vi/A2NRGGKWivo/maxresdefault.jpg

June 6, 2018

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Herbie

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Rescue

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Trouble Swallowing
Sleeping

My cat Herbie had her eye removed and was found to be cancerous and now weeks later she has a large and small lump on her throat and losing her voice and sleeping so much more..i know in my heart it's more cancer.. I'm lost

May 24, 2018

Herbie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

You should definitely visit your Veterinarian for a follow up examination; there are various causes for masses around the throat which may include tumours, enlarged lymph nodes, enlarged thyroid gland among other issues. Your Veterinarian will determine the origin of the masses and may take a needle aspirate to see the cells present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 25, 2018

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Samantha

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domestic short hair

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lost Voice, Eating Less, Lethargic

My poor baby Samantha was recently diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma AND a possible carcinoma on her larynx. Tests performed were X-rays, Endoscopic biopsies, and throat needle biopsy. Samantha is increasingly finding it hard to breathe, and she is starting to wheeze and has lost interest in food and all else besides sleeping (she still likes to cuddle). The vet says that there's nothing that can be done for the Laryngeal mass, and that she has limited time left. I just wish I knew when is the time has come to finally put my baby to rest. I love her so much.

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C-C

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American Shorthair

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Seven Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Labored Breathing
Loss Of Apetite
Eye/Nose Drainage (Maybe The Pneum)

Was shocked today to have to put our 7-year old tabby to sleep due to a throat tumor. The veterinarian said she couldn’t even fit some type of small tube in to help her out. Today is November 8th. Took her in initially on October 14th due to wheezing, drainage from eyes, lack of appetite, weight loss. Was diagnosed as an upper respiratory infection at that point. She received an antibiotic shot, steroids and appetite stimulant. Seemed to be breathing much easier within a few hours! That lasted six days. Back to veterinarian (three different ones at same practice). Gave her another shot, sent us home with oral antibiotics. Could not get them into her at all. Last night, back in, and another shot with thoughts that it could be pneumonia. This morning, the breathing was worse, with gasping. The same shot that had helped the first time seemed to have worsened symptoms this time. Today was day four of not eating, no matter what we tried. Office requested she come back in because last night, they had instructed that if she wasn’t eating by tomorrow, she should be hospitalized to monitor and receive stronger IV antibiotics. But her breathing really concerned me too much to wait one more day. They put her on oxygen because she was turning blue by the time we got there. Took an X-ray to diagnose the pneumonia - ended up seeing that a large throat tumor was compressing and THAT is what was making the poor girl’s breathing so labored and difficult. FWIW, we are not a smoking house, lost our other 20-year old cat in August. She was spayed, adopted at the age of two from the humane society. I was shocked. I kind of got the feeling the staff was as well since each vet had told us how common URIs are in cats.

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Sophia

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Calico

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15 Days

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

No Voice, Arthritis Less Social

My cat is 15 half yrs old female. Thought she had bad respiratory infection sneezing coughing voice horsey. Got her antibiotics. It got bad. She also has far advance arthritis. She got pain medication. That’s ok. Just last thurs notice she was not making sound of meowing. Got an apptvto vet. Took x ray got results. Growth mass. In throat. Couple options r. Steroids to make her comfty and maybe help bathroom better. Can do ct we r heading to put her down because we know she eventually will get worse. Change her food from dry science food to wet can science food to make it easier for her

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Freddie

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British Shorthair

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10 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
Anemia
Lethargy
Meow Change
Appetite Very Poor
Unable To Eat Very Well

My cat, has lost a lot of weight over just a few weeks, but was eating until about 5 days ago when I noticed he seemed to have difficulty. He is very ill and sleeps a lot, often hiding out the way. He seems eager enough to eat when I offer him it, but can't eat, he will lick it to taste but that is it. I noticed his meow has changed too, he will make a hoarse sound as he seems to be breathing out at the time, then he will give a big swallow. His bloods say he is anemic, has a high white blood count etc. He will have more examination on Monday possible with an endoscope. I fear the worst for him.

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Lilla

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Domestic shorthair

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8 Years

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

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Vomiting
Sneezing
Breathing Difficulty
Lump On Throat
Bad Breath

My cat has had a chronic breathing problem for years. It seem she came that way from the shelter. It has progressively gotten worse. She is now 8 years old. She has tried two courses of different antibiotics to no help. She sneezes blood often. I scheduled her for a teeth cleaning on a hope, the problem stemmed from her teeth (her breath is not great) I was unable to go through with the appointment, when I arrived the office said her breathing problem made it risky to put her under. I addition to her breathing, (which is treated by cleaning her nose often with a damp washcloth, she has two humidifiers, and 3 hepa air purifiers in the apartment). I have taken her to the same cat clinic in the past couple years. SPCA was too expensive. She also experiences bouts of vomiting. Sometimes it appears from eating too fast, not always. First we eliminated dry food, then grain free organic, now she only eats Instinct rabbit limited ingredient food. The vet thought it might be a food allergy. For the past few days she is barely eating, and has bilious vomiting a few hours after. The last few months I have notice a lump she has on her throat has doubled in size, and hardened. It is subdural, and around the middle of the front of her throat. The vets at the clinic have suggested an MRI at $2500, or a CT scan approx the same. This doesn't include the visit, anesthetic, or what we do after? I don't understand if she can't be put under for an $900. dental cleaning, why she can go under for the scans? Anyway, I am frustrated to think the only way to find out how sick my sweet Lilla is charging $5000. I don't really have ( I am a line cook, living in San Francisco. I barely make rent). Just to find out she need to be euthanized.

Throat Cancer Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$8,000

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