Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Bleeding / Blood In Urine / Increased Urination / Vomiting / Weight Loss

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

Rated as serious conditon

25 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Bleeding / Blood In Urine / Increased Urination / Vomiting / Weight Loss

Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Jump to section

What is Urinary Bladder Cancer?

Urinary bladder cancer in cats is characterized by an abnormal growth of cells within the urinary bladder. The most common type urinary bladder cancer seen in cats is rooted from a tumor called transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This type of cancer-causing tumor forms from the cells lining the thick wall of the bladder and can quickly spread to the lymph nodes, kidneys, lungs, and bones as well as adjacent urinary tract organs (vagina, prostate, urethra, ureters). Urinary bladder cancer is a rare disease in cats, as a near 1 percent accounts for all TCC feline cases, but this type of cancer is fast acting and deadly. 

Like most forms of cancer, urinary bladder cancer in cats is an abnormal growth of cells that has occurred for idiopathic (unknown) reasons. Urinary bladder cancer is most commonly seen in female cats around the age of seven, but is also seen in males. Urinary bladder cancer in cats mimics the same symptoms as a bladder infections, which makes it critical for pet owners to have their feline examined by a veterinary medical professional. 

Urinary Bladder Cancer Average Cost

From 463 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Symptoms of Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

The first signs of urinary bladder cancer mimic those of a bladder infection and most pet owners interpret straining to urinate, frequent urination, and urinary incontinence as a simple bacterial infection. Urinary bladder cancer, however, easily spreads to other areas of the body and may soon show the following symptoms:

  • Bloody urine
  • Urethral obstruction causing an inability to urinate
  • Pain upon palpation of the back or pelvic regions
  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Polydipsia
  • Polyuria with only a small amount of urine passed
  • Vocalization upon urination 
  • Coughing 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss

If the feline has an obstructed urethra, the cat will have a full bladder without the ability to urinate, which becomes an emergency situation instantly. If your cat is continuously going to the litter box to urinate and no urine has been passed, seek emergency veterinary help immediately. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

Urinary bladder cancer in cats, as well as in all other mammals, occurs for idiopathic reasons. Cancer itself is the result of mutated cells upsetting the body’s routine regulation of cell replacement, but the particular reason why this happens is not straightforward. Veterinary specialists have reported that obese felines have a higher chance in developing the disease, but excessive weight is not directly linked to this condition. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

Diagnosing urinary bladder cancer in cats begins with a physical examination, blood tests and urinalysis to rule out the possibility of a urinary bladder infection. However, a urinalysis can also detect the signs of urinary cancer too, as traces of cancer cells can occasionally be found in the urine. A feline’s blood work often has a normal result even if he or she does have urinary cancer, but a blood analysis is helpful to evaluate other organs the cancer may be affecting. Your veterinarian may choose to perform a VBTA test, or veterinary bladder tumor antigen test, a type of urine screening test to detect a bladder tumor. The VBTA test will either show a positive or negative result. If the result is positive, your veterinarian may proceed to perform the following diagnostic exams: 

Ultrasound

An ultrasound of the abdomen can help the veterinarian determine the size, location and activity of the tumor inside the bladder.

X-ray

An x-ray may be used to detect where the cancer has spread throughout the body, but may prove ineffective for locating the bladder tumor itself without a highlighting element (cystogram).

Cystogram

A cystogram is a test that introduces a special dye that will highlight the insides of the cat and highlight the tumor on x-ray. 

Biopsy

Once the tumor is located, a biopsy can be taken from the mass to evaluate if it is malignant or benign.  

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cannanine

Treatment of Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

Treating urinary bladder cancer in cats can be attempted through surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. 

Surgical Treatment

Surgically removing the bladder tumor is only possible when the mass is located in a non-invasive area. If the tumor is found within the urethra or ureters, as in most cases, surgical removal would not be advised for these are vital structures. In that case, the veterinarian may perform a debulking surgery which would simply reduce the tumor in size. Debulking is only a temporary treatment to alleviate symptoms, as the mass will continue to grow back. 

Chemotherapy Treatment

The perfect chemotherapy drug mixture is still to be decided for effectively treating urinary bladder cancer, as less than 20 percent of felines respond to the current protocol. 

Radiation Therapy Treatment

Radiation therapy has proven to be more effective than chemotherapy in treating urinary bladder cancer in cats, but radiation rays often damage urinary structures.  

Treatments for urinary bladder cancer in cats are performed to give a feline a better quality of life, but there is no cure for this disease. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Urinary Bladder Cancer in Cats

Whether you choose to seek treatment for your cat’s urinary bladder cancer or not, the overall prognosis for an affected cat is poor. Cats that have received treatment are estimated to live between six months to a year, whereas untreated cats often pass at four to six months. 

Your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug, such as pirioxicam, to relieve bladder pain and provide a better quality of life for your cat. Ask your veterinarian about the best recovery and management options for your cat, as each urinary bladder cancer case is different. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Urinary Bladder Cancer Average Cost

From 463 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Urinary Bladder Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

M

dog-breed-icon

Persian

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

A year ago, my cat’s ultrasound showed growth in her bladder. 26/7 the growth was much bigger. Previously they ruled it as UTi and now I was told that she had a tumor in her bladder. My cat just turned 4 years old in May. Doctor was unable to give piroxicam as they do not have it at the moment so an alternative was given for now until they have stock of that med (an injection), and anti-inflammatory plus antibiotics. After her injection and starting the medication, my cat start vomitting frequently. Partially food and water but frequently. I was told to reduce her food intake but in increased frequency like once every 3-4 hours. Before the injection and medication she wasnt like this. Is there a reason for this happening so quickly? Doc said it might be a progression of her condition. Is it just a coincidence it happened after her shots and medication? Did I somehow cause it to progress faster by giving her meds? Its all happening so quickly and its very upsetting. What should I expect now and prepare for?

Aug. 2, 2018

M's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Vomiting and gastrointestinal upset in general are common side effects of many medications, you mentioned that there wasn’t any piroxicam but didn’t mention the name of any other medications given. I would follow your Veterinarian’s instructions by give frequent small meals and find out which medications were prescribed and check the product labels for side effects. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 3, 2018

Ask your vet if it would help to use a cat-sized dose of an acid reducing medication like Prevacid. My cat can't take meds without the reduced dose of omeprazole. Hope this helps.

Aug. 3, 2018

Debbie W.

dog-name-icon

Brooklyn

dog-breed-icon

Calico

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Muscle Atrophy
Lethargy

My cat was a shelter cat her entire life up until March when I got her. Her muscles had atrophied from what I had assumed been living in a cage with only enough room to turn around. She also had blood in her urine that I didn’t notice until she peed on her litter box bag (didn’t notice any discoloration in her litter prior) so I took her to the emergency vet. After an ultrasound the vet said there are two “sizable masses” in her bladder (about 1cm/ea) that they detected. They took blood and a urine sample and I will know more in a few days. They prescribed some antibiotics in case it’s a UTI. The vet said it could be a polyp, but i kind of need a more direct answer to prepare myself. How likely is it that it’s cancer? And If it turns out to be bladder cancer what are her odds of a full recovery vs. metastasis? And is putting an animal through chemo/radiation fair to the animal if she won’t live past a year as the description above states?

July 1, 2018

Brooklyn's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

It is less likely in a 6 year old cat that it is cancer, and could be due to chronic inflammation from an untreated UTI, and bladder cancer in animals tends to happen more at a specific location, but it isn't possible to say for sure without knowing more about her lab results. Recovery from bladder cancer is unlikely, but there are some treatment options that can help. At this point, I would think positively, and treat her UTI, and wait for lab results. I hope that everything goes well for her.

July 1, 2018

dog-name-icon

Sweet Pea

dog-breed-icon

DMH cat

dog-age-icon

19 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Crying When Trying To Use The Box

Our 19.5 yo DMH cat Sweet Pea has a small localized tumor in the anterior bladder Wall (not the trigone). No adenopathy seen on sonogram. She is feisty and active otherwise but struggles to pee and poop. She cries and goes in and out of her boxes as she struggles. This has been going on for about 2 months. UA was negative and sono was today. Do you think it is crazy to consider surgery for a cat this old. She is down to 9 pounds, but really active all day long. We will be talking to our vet tomorrow and we will ask to see a surgeon. She has no other Med problems. Hearing her cry and struggle is very difficult, though. Thank you.

June 23, 2018

Sweet Pea's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

I'm honestly not sure that bladder surgery is the best thing for Sweet Pea at her age, but it depends on her overall health and condition. She may benefit from pain medication or an anti-inflammatory medication as well. This would be a good conversation to have with your veterinarian, as they know more about her overall condition and can advise you as to whether surgery is fair for her at her age.

June 23, 2018

dog-name-icon

Lily

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Straining To Urinate
Urgency To Urinate
Uti That Returns

My 17 1/2 year old female was just treated for a UTI (suspected) with a shot of Covenia. (I think that is what it is called.) She had been previously visiting the litter box often and had blood in her urine, so I took her right in. The Covenia helped her for over a week, and her symptoms left. She went back to old kitty. Great appetite, running through the house, as usual. This morning, she was on my lap and jumped off quickly to use the box with hardly any urine coming out. (Yesterday was fine.) Can this be a bad sign like cancer? (Additional info—she had multicentric lymphoma in 2013 and has been in remission over four years. The vet hospital calls her the miracle kitty.)

June 3, 2018

Lily's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are a few possible causes for urinary difficulties which may include infections, inflammation, cancer, urinary stones among other causes. Without examining Lily I cannot say for certain what the cause is, but if she cannot pass urine you should take her to your Veterinarian as soon as possible to determine a cause and decompress the bladder. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 4, 2018

dog-name-icon

Fin

dog-breed-icon

Feline-DSH

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Fatigue

My 17y male feline, Fin, who, has been Insulin dependent for 9y) had some blood in his urine today. Both the Vet and I thought he might have a bladder infection (he only had one other time (9y ago when first dx w/Diabetes). When she did the ultrasound to get the urine by needle asp. She saw a tumor finger like projections from interior bladder wall. Did not do the asp. and said she was 95% sure was Transitional cell Ca. Fin had full blood work at his annual 2.5m ago. The Dr. said could take 1-2m to get into oncologist for assessment. I a wondering how well he will be in 1-2m. The earliest I can get him an appt. w/his primary is 1.5wks. Am worried about him developing a bladder infection while we wait

June 2, 2018

Fin's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A cat with transitional cell carcinoma isn’t more at risk of bladder infection, you should wait for an appointment but with Fin’s age there may be limited options available for treatment or management. Piroxicam may be used for treatment in the short term, but its efficacy isn’t as established as in use with dogs; you should discuss the options with your Veterinarian while you wait for an appointment with an Oncologist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 2, 2018

dog-name-icon

Mufasa

dog-breed-icon

Domestic orange tabby

dog-age-icon

17 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Blood In Urine Clots In Urine

My cat ,Mufasa, only showed one sign, blood in his urine. We treated it as a UTI and he had them often this past year. So, this last time he had , what we thought was a UTI, didn’t go away. Doc suggested an X-ray, which looked good and mentioned not everything shows in an X-ray and we should do an ultrasound. Well, we did and a few things internally showed that he did have TCC. Now, Mufasa is 17-18 years old and I won’t put him through chemo or surgery. He is on an anti inflammatory and seems himself, other then the blood that is showing back up in his urine. I’m wondering if this is the beginning stages. Has anyone else’s cat had blood on their urine?

dog-name-icon

Topaz

dog-breed-icon

Dlh

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Constant Urination

My male cat Topaz who is 15 1/2 yrs old was diagnosed with bladder cancer in Dec. 2018 to my surprise as I just took him in for a routine recheck on a previous UTI he had & was told to bring him back after he finished his antibiotics. When they expressed his bladder, that is when they found the mass & so they took x-rays & did an ultrasound & confirmed it was indeed bladder cancer, which I was told was really rather rare in cats let alone male cats. Surgery was not an option due to the fact that it was on the bladder lining as well & I just did not want to put him on chemo, so I decided to try a homeopathic remedy with a homeopathic veterinarian for bladder cancer. I felt at this point, why not try as it sure won't hurt & I just wanted to buy him some more time with his family. He's been doing pretty good except he has constant urges to urinate & so I had to confine him to a kennel as he would urinate anywhere whenever the urge hits him which was quite frequent. He still eats good & still purrs & enjoys being held & loved but now the urine has started to become pinkish in color which I know is blood. I'm not ready to say goodbye to him, not that I ever will be but I was told that he will let me know when he's ready to go. Now I am concerned about the blood & not sure if I should make that decision now even though his appetite is good & he's always interested in his food, which I think is a good sign. He doesn't appear to be in any pain just discomfort from the constant urination, which I'm sure doesn't feel good. I do believe in quality of life & I would never want him to suffer but not sure of what to do now. Should I go ahead & make that terrible decision or should I give him more time????

dog-name-icon

Maisy

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

21 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Constipation
Excessive Urination
Excessive Drinking
Straining To Poop
Urinary Hesitancy
Blood In The Urine

Symptoms started with our 21 yo cat with excessive urination, constipation with straining to poop. Was very surprised at the amount liquid expelled each trip. I happened to see that once her urine had a red tinge a time she didn't make it to the box. I was shocked at the amount of urine each day. During a trip to the Vet she was given a injection of antibiotics. I was given a SQ kit, prescription for Lactulose Solution, and some prescription food. She didn't like the Lactated Ringers Sub-Q, Lactulose Solution, or the kidney friendly prescription food. We struggled through those things. Now she has difficulty urinating. Eleven trips to the box in one hour only produced 5 drops of urine. Back to the Vet and they indicated her constipation was causing the urinary issue and was given a enema to remove the impacted feces. Brought her home she wouldn't eat or drink for over 1 1/2 days. Back to the vet and after and Ultrasound and x-rays it was determined that she had arthritis in her hips and a tumor (carcinoma) inside her bladder. Prescribed Robenacoxib tablets and Buprenorphine Oral suspension for her hospice care. Let her do and eat whatever she wants. Just shocks me that in a few days it went excessive urination to cancer and unable to go at all.

dog-name-icon

Zero

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Weakness
Hair Loss
Abnormal Breathing

On Thursday I came home and my cat was breathing oddly but it seemed to go away about an hour later. On Sunday she was breathing strangely again and it didn’t stop. I took her to the vet Monday morning because of the hard breathing and because I noticed blood in her urine and overnight her very pink tongue looked pale. He found a mass in her abdomen. Today is Thursday and she hasn’t eaten for two days. My vet took an x-ray and noticed masses all over her body. He told us the first sign might have been in September when she pulled some of her out but there had been no other symptoms from that time to a week ago. Is it normal for this to progress so quickly? We thought she had fleas because it was particularly hot summer and when we treated her for fleas the hair pulling seemed to improve. I already know the prognosis is quite grim and we’re making the hard decision tomorrow morning but I just want to know if this was normal. She seems to have gone downhill so quickly.

dog-name-icon

Lily

dog-breed-icon

White short hair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Tired
Lump
Not Herself
Straining To Urinate And Poop, Snee
Unexplained Weight Loss

My cat, 8 years old, definitely has a mass in her bladder, 6 weeks of difficulty straining to urinate, always in the litter, vet visits with no concrete explanation, lost 3 lbs, blood work fine X-ray showed nothing until last week I felt a lump way down by what as a human would say her right ovary. X-ray again shows nothing positive but vet can feel lump where bladder is. All the reading I am doing seems like this is not good. My question. Even if I do the ultrasound to confirm, is going to live more than a year? She is already traumatized with frequent trips to vet and I am with the 1,000 I have spent. I would do anything if the odds were she would live along healthy life but... what are the odds?

Urinary Bladder Cancer Average Cost

From 463 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $8,000

Average Cost

$6,000

Cannanine