Cancer is one of the most popular diseases that cat may have and if you need to get the knowledge of how to prevent this disease, read this right now!
Cancer is one of the most popular diseases that cat may have. However, this one is particularly more serious than others because once your cat gets cancer, it would be a long battle to fight against it. Let’s find out some must-know about this dangerous disease.
Cancer – one of the most severe diseases of cats
What Is Cancer?
To put it simply, cancer is a state where there is an unlimited number of cells growing in the body. These harmful cells will gradually replace normal tissues and slow down processes in the body. We usually call it tumors. Cat tumors are usually malignant. About 80% of cancer found in cats are malignant.
Malignant tumors in cats are more likely to expand and spread throughout the entire body.
Cat cancer can appear at any age, which is usually related to a virus called feline immunodeficiency and feline leukemia. These two viruses tend to appear in middle-aged cats, which is about ten or so.
Some common symptoms of cat cancer:
- Weight loss
- Do not eat or drink anything
- Difficulty in eating and swallowing
- Terrible Odor
- Sores that take long to heal
- Stiffness or lameness for a long time
- Difficulty in breathing and moving
How Cancer Starts
In a normal body, at some points, old cells will die, and new cells will grow to replace the old ones. This process is known as mitosis, which one cell will split into two. However, due to some abnormal factors in the process, new cells split into many cells which are not identical to the parent cells.
Mass cancer cell tumors in cats and dogs
If the immune system is strong enough, these cells will not cause any harm to the body. But in some cases, these cells grow too fast, and the immune system cannot fight against all of them. The next thing happens is that these cells are invading the whole body and prevent the body from functioning normally. In this stage, tumors start to form its shape.
Common Types of Cancer in Cats
Cats may have many same kinds of cancers as people do. But mostly, there are three types of cancers that we usually see in cats:
- Lymph glands: this type of cancer is caused by feline leukemia virus which affects lymphatic system and blood cell forming organs like spleen and bone marrow.
- Skin and subcutaneous: it affects the head and face. This type of cancer is usually seen in the sunbelt of the US, say, Arizona, California, and New Mexico. These regions have the highest level of ultraviolet exposure compared to others.
- Mammary tissues
How to Cure Cat Cancers
Cancers have similar symptoms to other conventional illnesses, which is why the pet owners may not notice it in the first stage. In some cases, the cancer is internal, only when it makes the cat so sick do you start to notice something is wrong. In all cases, early detection is a very important factor that helps improve the treatment processes.
Diagnosis is the first thing you should do if you think your cat has cancer. This process is to detect tumor cells in the body. The veterinarian will collect a sample using a needle and take some cells into the syringe. In some cases, they can also detect cancer cells in the blood or a urine specimen.
The purpose of diagnosis is to detect whether your cat has cancer, if yes, then which type of cancer it is.
Prognosis helps to find out how far cancer has spread in the body. The results of prognosis help veterinarians decide which would be the best treatment to stop cancer cells from growing. If tumors are detected in its early stages, then the treatment process is very simple, and the chances of survival are very high.
Surgery removal of tumors is a common method to remove cancer. However, this method usually does not completely remove the tumor because just one cell left can cause the tumor to grow again.
In some special cases, the tumor is too big or too difficult to remove, and veterinarians have to treat with chemotherapy. To put it simply, chemotherapy is a treatment that use chemicals to attack cancer cells. This method usually combines with surgery and radiation to get the best results.
Surprisingly, most chemotherapy drugs are similar to human medicine which can be used for animals. Some examples of this are temazolamide and gemcitabine. The veterinarian will inject the drug via pills, in the bloodstream or sometimes both.
As chemotherapy is used for the whole body, they also have negative effects on healthy tissue, which we usually call side effects. Although chemotherapy in human may lead to hair loss, weight loss and that sort of symptom, in cats, they do not seem to get tired at all.
Cancer that takes place in head or face usually cannot treat with surgery. In this case, radiation would be a good shot. Beam radiation that includes X-rays will remove cancer cells rapidly. This method does not affect other healthy tissues. However, it does cause some damages to normal areas. For that reason, radiation would be best used when cancer cells have not spread throughout the body yet.
Although those three methods help cure cancer effectively, scientists are still searching for new methods. Medical marijuana is popular to cure human cancer, it is used on cats as well, but with a moderate dose. Extra antioxidant vitamin C and E would be effective in slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
Cancer is preventable. The best way to prevent cancer for your cat is to take careful care of your pets. Take him or her to veterinarians frequently and create a good routine. Any cancer therapy can have its pros and cons.
In some cases, there is no way to cure cancer completely; those mentioned treatment helps prolong your cat’s life. Remember to consult with your veterinarian carefully because they know what is best for your cat.