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Types of Cancer in Cats, Their Prevention, and Their Treatment:

a87a3a_c6c22665313cc72a07ef1ded9bc0ae40Cats do not typically suffer from cancer as commonly as the way dogs do. It does however, still affect some cats. Cats do not like to show their illnesses when they come to be so it’s a lot harder to observe a change in behavior during one. Since cat’s illnesses are not typically caught early the cost and treatment become more intense as the sickness gets worse and more intense. The following is an interview with Dave Ruslander, a veterinary oncologist and former president of the Veterinary Cancer Society, about the feline cancers and the latest cancer treatments;
Q: How common is cancer in cats? What are some of the more common cancers found in cats?
A: Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs. It’s probably half the rate that we see in dogs. But when we see cancer in cats, it tends to be a more aggressive form.
One of the most seen cancers in cats is lymphoma. It is associated with the Feline Leukaemia virus or FeLV. There is now a vaccine for feline leukaemia and yet there are many cases of suffering cats from the exposure. It is contagious with exposure. Another one that is similar to humans is oral squamous carcinoma. Fibro sarcoma also known as soft tissue sarcoma is a tumor that is developing in connective tissue or even muscles throughout the body. The treatment for this entails injections referred to as injection-site sarcoma.Other tumors found are not as common though. There are lung tumors, Nasal tumors, brain tumors, and liver tumors. There are so many cats getting fixed that it fixed the risk of mammary cancer.

Q: What are some of the symptoms of feline cancers?
A: Cats are tricky because they hide disease well. Externally we can see lumps and bumps. Vomiting and diarrhea are common signs of gastrointestinal lymphoma. Difficulty in breathing can be a sign, because some cancers can cause fluid in the lungs.
It can be a refusal to eat that is followed by loss of weight, a failure to thrive, or even a rough coat. If your cat is acting lethargic or acting ill at all it is time to take your cat in for treatment.

Q: Is it difficult to diagnose the type of cancer a cat has contracted?
A: With a biopsy the pathologist can usually tell us the type of cancer. But sometimes it’s not so clear. And sometimes people are reluctant to go forward without a firm prognosis. Often we can’t go forward until we know what the actual subtype is. It can take some special testing or some special stains for us to delineate the type of cancer, and sometimes people just aren’t willing to do that.

Q: What’s causing the high cancer rates in our cats?
A: We really don’t know what causes most cancers. There are a few, like the feline leukaemia virus, which is the big player in cancer aetiology in cats. But I don’t know that we have the answer for what causes most cancers in cats.
Cats are statistically living longer which means cancer is showing more often in cats because they are older. Cancer is sporadic more in cats then dogs.

Q: Can household chemicals or other common items, like bug sprays, cause cancer in cats because they walk in the residue and then lick their feet?
A: There may be environmental causes. There have been some studies looking at second-hand smoke. There have been issues of cats grooming themselves developing oral cancers. But they really don’t know if it’s because they’re taking some toxins from the environment into their body that way or not. There are still a lot of questions about environmental issues.

Q: Are some cat breeds more prone to cancers than others?
A: No, we don’t really recognize breeds of cats being at increased risk of cancers like in dogs. However, white varieties of certain cat breeds are more prone to squamous cell carcinoma, usually on their ears and face.

Q: If my cat has cancer does that mean she’s going to die?
A: No, but many of the cancers we see in cats are more aggressive than those we see in dogs. So early detection and treatment are very important.

Q: What are the treatments for cats with cancer?
A: We have surgery which is the most common treatment for any kind of lump or bump that needs to be removed.

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