It goes without saying that the last thing we ever want to imagine is one of our furry friends suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation, nearly 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The good news is that cancer in cats is often treatable, especially when caught early.
This is why it’s so important to be proactive and familiarize yourself with the symptoms of cancer in cats. By remaining attentive to any changes in your cat’s physical condition or behavior you’re much more likely to spot the signs of any illness.
Just like in humans, there are many forms of cancer that can affect cats. Some of the most common forms of cancer in cats are the following:
Lymphoma -- this cancer is related to the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and affects a cat’s immune system
Squamous Cell Carcinoma -- this variety of skin cancer typically affects a cat’s nose or ears
Basal Cell Tumor -- these tumors present as lumps under your cat’s skin, typically in older cats
Mast Cell Tumor -- these tumors may be found on your cat’s skin or attached to your cat’s internal organs
Mammary Carcinoma -- this form of cancer affects your cat’s mammary glands and is most common in older cats
Osteosarcoma -- This form of bone cancer causes weakness in your cat’s bones
Because there are so many distinct forms of cancer that affect cats there is also a wide range of symptoms.
Following are some of the most common signs of cancer in cats:
- Unusual lumps or growths on or beneath your cat’s skin
- A loss of appetite and severe weight loss
- Sudden weight gain
- A disheveled, unkempt coat
- A Fever
- Strong odor in your cat’s mouth
- A yellow tinge in your cat’s mouth or in the whites of his eyes
As you can see, many of these symptoms wouldn’t typically be cause for concern. After all, every creature experiences an upset stomach now and then, don’t they? However, when you look at these symptoms in conjunction they tell a different story.
This is why It’s so crucial to pay close attention to your cat’s temperament and physical traits throughout his or her entire life.
Always be sure to spend plenty of quality time with your cat. That way you’ll notice immediately if their behavior or appearance suddenly changes.
Every so often, as you pet your cat, try to give him a subtle physical examination. Try to notice any new lumps on his body. Try to notice if your cat’s weight is staying consistent or if it has suddenly increased or decreased.
Also, check his mouth from time to time. A growth, discoloration or particularly foul odor could be a sign of cancer.
Performing these checks will take you no time at all and could potentially save your cat’s life!
If you notice your cat exhibiting one or more of the symptoms above, be sure to take him to the veterinarian for a checkup.
Fortunately, cancer in cats is often highly treatable. Even though it isn’t always possible to cure cancer, many cats still live long lives in spite of their diagnosis.
Your veterinarian will guide you through the best treatment options for your cat.
Naturally, treatment will vary depending on the type of cancer. Just as for humans, the most common treatments for cancer are surgical removal of tumors, radiation, and chemotherapy.
It’s always best to remain optimistic about your pets and their health, but it’s also wise to think ahead and be prepared.
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