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Diagnosis for mast cell tumors in cats

I depend on you
Karla Kirby

The diagnostic work up in cats is comparable to that for dogs. Mast cell tumors are at first diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration. Though FNA is functional,
It does not provide any information about the tumor’s level of aggressiveness,
so biospy is therefore recommended. Further diagnostic steps will vary depending on the tumor's size, location and
initial findings.

For suspected intestinal or spleen MCTs, the veterinarian will characteristically do a blood test to check for general health of the feline,
buffy coat smear test to verify for circulating mast cell tumor cells all through the body, bone marrow aspiration to test for
MCT dissemination, coagulation profiler and serum biochemistry outline. One third of felines with this particular disease are
anemic and up to one half of cats with spleen MCT will have substantiation of bone marrow and buffy coat involvement. In the case
of intestinal MCT, as much as 90% of cats will show laboratory evidence of coagulation abnormalities, which is imperative to know
before surgical treatment.

The veterinarian will also inspect the regional lymph nodes to check for cancer spread,
abdominal ultrasound to check for metastasis to the spleen or liver, chest X-rays to confirm metastasis to the lungs and fluid accumulation in
the chest, and bone marrow aspiration to test for MCT dissemination. Advanced imaging, for example, CT can be a very functional diagnostic tool that can weigh up
the extent of the disease in more detail and can help the oncologist in planning out an apposite treatment strategy.

Pain is common in cats with cancer, with some tumors causing more pain than others. Also pain caused by the
actual tumors, cats will also experience pain associated with cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, surgery, or
chemotherapy. Untreated pain reduces the cat’s quality of life, and extends recovery from the injury or illness.
It is, therefore, indispensable that veterinary teams that are taking care of cats with cancer should also play a fundamental role in
educating feline owners about recognizing and managing pain in their cats. The best way to handle cancer pain in cats is to
prevent it. This approach anticipates pain ahead of time and administers
pain medication before the feline in fact experiences pain, consequently ensuring the cat’s maximum comfort.

Cancer cachexia is regularly observed in felines with cancer. Cats with cancer lose weight partially because of lack of appetite and somewhat because of
cancer-induced altered metabolism. Some of the causes for reduced appetite are related to the cancer itself--tumors may physically get in the way of food
swallowing, chewing, and the digestion process and some may be related to the side effects of cancer treatment such as
some chemotherapy drugs cause vomiting and nausea, and radiation therapy can cause mouth inflammation.

Proper nutrition while undergoing cancer treatment is crucial to maintain your cat’s strength, perk up survival times,
quality of life and make the most of response to therapy. Sufficient nutritional support was shown to decrease the period of
hospitalization, lessen post-surgery complications and improve the healing process. In addition, cats with cancer need to
be fed diets specifically intended to provide maximum assistance and nutritional support for the patient.

Surgery is the favored treatment for the mastocytic form of skin MCT. Most of these masses act as benign tumors and
can, consequently, be easily excised. The local recurrence of the tumor growing back is estimated to occur in 0-24% of felines
after surgery and the spread all through the body is anticipated to affect 0-22% of cats post-surgery. Histiocytic MCTs in younger felines can moreover be surgically removed.
Cats with spleen MCTs are typically treated with surgery and astonishingly, many cats enjoy long-term survival
even if bone marrow and peripheral blood are involved...

The metastatic rate--spread to distant organs--for MCTs seems to vary significantly, ranging from 0% to 22%. In the case
of intestinal or spleen MCTs, extensive dissemination and metastasis are much more ordinary. One study of 30
cats with spleen MCTs showed dissemination to the lymph nodes (73%), liver (90%), lung (20%) bone marrow (40%), and
intestine (17%). Intestinal MCTs frequently metastasize to the liver and less frequently to the lung, spleen, and bone
marrow. The majority of cats with intestinal MCTs face poor prognosis and pass away or are euthanized after the diagnosis.

So don’t wait and see. Early detection is your duty as a responsible cat owner.

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