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Lymphoma in cats

Lymphoma in Cats

Lymphoma in cats is the most commonly occurring feline cancer.

Awareness about feline lymphoma can help protect against the condition and also recognize the warning signs. Cat lymphoma is an extremely malignant form of cancer that afflicts the lymphatic system, causing the growth and development of tumors that can rapidly spread through the body.

The lymphatic system comprises of a network of lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels that are vital to the production of antibodies as a defense mechanism against bacterial infections.

Lymphocytes are cells present in this system that perform this vital function. In lymphoma in cats these cells begin a process of rapid and random division forming malignant growths in the lymph node.

These malignant cells can break away from the main tumor to travel and spread to other parts through the lymphatic system, making the threat of spreading great. If these cells reach the bone marrow it turns fatal as a severe anemia develops.

The condition usually occurred in cats tested positive for the feline leukemia virus, but with vaccinations this threat has been eliminated and the condition is more likely to be seen in cats that are around nine or ten years old. Exposure to secondhand smoke does however greatly increase the risk of feline cancer developing, including feline lymphoma. It’s important that you are informed about the lymphoma in cats symptoms as timely intervention is the only chance at survival. Here are some of the warning signs you should notice:

  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • A loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Swelling of the face
  • Roughening of the fur coat
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Weakness and anemia, which could cause paleness of the gums
  • Respiratory problems and the possible presence of fluid in the lungs.

The survival chances have greatly improved with modern medicine and feline lymphoma treatment would usually involve chemotherapy. Most cats respond to treatment and at least a third should survive another one to two years. In cases where the tumor causes a blockage of the bowels there could also be a need for surgery. To give you an idea of the seriousness of the condition and the importance of prompt detection and medical treatment it should be pointed out that in the absence of any treatment a cat that is afflicted with the condition could expect to live for just four to six weeks.

  Submitted on October 22, 2010  

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