Learning about potential threats like common types of cancer in cats can help you protect them. Our feline friends are so self-sufficient that sometimes it feels like they are invincible. But, just like any other animal, they are susceptible to a wide-range of illnesses that could shorten your time together, including cancer.
Cats actually have a high likelihood of developing certain types of cancer. In fact, 1 in every 5 cats will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. Regular wellness visits to your veterinarian and practicing preventive medicine are the best way to keep your cats healthy and spot any potential health issues early. Here are the most common types of cancer in cats and how to potentially treat them:
Cancer in Cats: Lymphoma
Cats deal with many of the same kinds of cancers as humans, including lymphomas. This kind of cancer originates in the blood when the body starts producing too many white blood cells. Typically, white blood cells are responsible for fighting infection, but when they multiple uncontrollably, they can severely damage many areas of the body. In cats, this includes:
- Nasal cavity
- Lymph nodes
Before the development of the vaccine, the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) was probably the top cause of this kind of cancer in cats. Getting this vaccine for your cat can prevent both feline leukemia virus and lymphoma.
Although it is one of the most common types of cancer in cats, lymphoma is also one of the most treatable. Chemotherapy can be very effective. In fact, as many as 75 percent of cats who get chemo for lymphoma will go into remission.
Cancer in Cats: Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Did you know that cats can get skin cancer? Cats who live in very sunny places are susceptible to squamous cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer. This cancer typically develops in areas that are the most exposed to the sun. This includes:
Squamous cell carcinoma can be prevented by keeping cats inside and away from harmful UV rays.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment
As with many other illnesses, the best odds for a successful outcome with this type of cancer is early diagnosis. Squamous cell carcinoma can become very aggressive—especially if tumors develop in the mouth. Talk to your veterinarian about prevention and early diagnosis.
Cancer in Cats: Fibrosarcoma
This kind of cancer causes a tumor to develop within the connective tissue. Sometimes this develops at the site of vaccination injections, in which case it is called feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS).
As a precaution, veterinarians will often only suggest necessary vaccines for cats who seem to be likely to develop fibrosarcoma. Fibrosarcoma as a result of injections is incredibly rare, though, and is only seen in 1 out of about 10,000 to 30,000 vaccines. If you are worried, you can talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s risk factors and the best way to decrease them.
Although it is another aggressive type of cancer, veterinarians can perform surgery and use radiation to try to target it.
At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, our main goal is to give your pets the best quality of life possible. Our highly-trained team is here to offer superior veterinary services in and around Waterford Township. To learn more about our hospital or to schedule an appointment, please call (248) 363-1508.