Cancer In Cats: What Causes It
Feline cancer is often seen in older animals. Why? There are a couple of reasons. As a cat ages, the immune system isn’t as strong as it used to be. It’s thought that the immune system helps to get rid of cells that have mutated. A weakened immune system might let more of these mutated cells escape, possibly leading to cancer.
Another thought is that an older cat has been exposed to more carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals, in the environment. The effect over the years is cumulative, which can lead to cancer as the cat gets older.
Certain viruses, like the feline leukemia virus, have been tied to feline lymphoma.
Can Injuries Cause Cancer?
Bumps and bruises don’t cause cancer, so don’t worry if your cat is running into the walls or furniture while playing or chasing another cat around. However, a traumatic injury like a broken bone can lead to cancer, even years after the injury occurred. Areas around implants like pins or plates may have a higher likelihood of developing sarcomas later in life. Some researchers think traumatic injuries cause chronic inflammation, which may lead to cancerous tumors as time passes.
Vaccinations have also been implicated in sarcoma development. Vets have noticed sarcomas forming at vaccination sites since the early 1990s. Try not to over-vaccinate your pets.
About Dr Joanna Woodnutt Mrcvs
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.
Does Your Indoor Cat Love Lying By A Window In A Warm Pool Of Sunshine
Does your indoor cat love lying by a window, in a warm pool of sunshine? You might want to put SPF-proof window film on the glass. The reason? Veterinarian Dr. John Mayfield says, just like people, cats can get skin cancer. Especially cats that have white fur or pink noses. And the areas that are most susceptible to skin cancer are the nose and the tips of their ears, where their skin is extra-thin.
Mast cell tumors are most common in cats – and they look like raised, pink or yellow, hairless lumps. Mast cell tumors can make cats itch – and they often swell up and then disappear, only to pop up again a few days later. The good news is that veterinarians can usually treat skin cancer in cats successfully – as long as it’s identified in the early stages. But, everyone in your house could benefit from SPF window film – especially if youâve got south or west-facing windows. Because, if you spend a lot of time by your windows, humans can get skin cancer through windows, too. UV-A rays pass right through glass. Those are the ones that cause skin cancerâ¦ and itâs why people who work indoors by windows are more susceptible to, and have a higher risk, of melanoma. Plus, window film can prevent up to 80% of the sunâs heat from coming through the glass – reducing the need for air conditioning, and lowering your electric bill by as much as 40%.
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Lymphoid Tumors Of The Skin
Lymphoma Leukemia and Lymphoma Leukocytes, or white blood cells, in the blood of mammals include neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. These cells vary with regard to where they are produced, how… read more or lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the blood and lymphatic system. A rare form of lymphoma may first occur as lymphoid infiltrations of the skin, causing distinctive tumors. Lymphosarcoma in cats generally begins in other parts of the body, such as the intestinal tract or the lymphatic system. From there, it can occasionally spread to the skin. Lymphoma is associated with infection by feline leukemia virus. There are two forms of skin lymphoma: epitheliotropic and nonepitheliotropic.
Epitheliotropic skin lymphosarcoma is the most frequently recognized form of lymphoid skin tumors in cats. Among cats, the disease tends to develop in older animals. Signs are often extremely subtle. Tumors often appear initially as a crusty plaque that may itch. Accurate diagnosis in the early stages is difficult. Thus, skin scrapings, biopsies, and other diagnostic tools will be used to identify suspicious tissues. The tumors evolve into unmistakable skin lymphosarcoma. It is unknown whether medications used to treat the condition in dogs work in cats. However, a new immune system treatment may be a viable treatment option. Talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary oncologist for more information.
Sunbathing Is Also Bad For Your Pet
For the most part, our pets have dense fur that acts as a natural sunscreen, but white-coated dogs and cats are the exceptions to this rule: In sunny parts of the country where pets spend a lot of time outside, like California and Colorado, sun exposure takes a toll on the thinly furred skin on the ears and nose of white dogs and cats. Dogs who sunbathe on their backs are also prone to developing squamous cell carcinoma in the thinly haired region of the tummy. Solar-induced squamous cell carcinoma can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy if found early, but prevention is simple: Limit your pets exposure to the sun or consider some dog- and cat- safe sun protection.
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What Can Be Done To Avoid Sunburn In Cats
This question does not have a simple or easy answer, given the nature of our feline friends! Here are a few tips of how to minimise the risk in your moggy!
- Sunburn is possible in all cats, but if yours has white ears and a pink nose with white fur, be especially careful.
- Limit the time they can be outside in the sun, when it is strongest between 10am and 4pm.
- If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure he does not spend all day asleep in a window, as he will be still be absorbing UV light. You can get UV blocking film to prevent the rays from coming through your windows – if he has a particular favourite!
- There are sun cream products for pets on the market. You must make sure they are not toxic if ingested by cats as we know how much they like to groom themselves.
This is still a relatively rare problem, given how many cats are wandering around in the sunshine! So be sensible but dont deny your cat access to the outdoors and the summer.
Type Of Skin Cancer In Dogs
Skin cancer comes in a number of different forms for dogs. Your vet will be able to advise you should your dog develop the disease.
Malignant melanoma forms in the skins pigment-producing cells .
It is typically found in areas of mucous membranes such as the nose and mouth, but it has, in rare cases, been found on skin with fur.
This type of cancer can quickly multiply and spread to lymph nodes and other organs. For humans, exposure to UV light is the main cause of the disease but its less clear what can cause malignant melanoma in dogs, with genetics thought to play a part.
Squamous cell carcinoma:
Squamous cell carcinoma is primarily caused by exposure to the sun. It can often be confused for a minor abrasion but if misdiagnosed and left untreated it can quickly destroy surrounding tissue making surgery more challenging.
It takes longer to spread to other parts of the body, which means the window of successful treatment is bigger, but early intervention remains vital.
Mast cell tumours:
This is the most common skin cancer seen in dogs, developing in the mast cells of a dogs immune system. Genetics, inflammation and irritation can all play a part in the disease developing.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer will often begin subtly and then increase in seriousness, making early recognition and veterinary care a crucial part of your cat& rsquo s prognosis for long-term recovery.
Skin cancer in cats refers to a variety of types of malignant tumors that are found on your cat& rsquo s skin. Skin cancer is distinguished from other types of tumors, including non-malignant sebaceous cysts, as cancer can spread to surrounding bodily structures and cause damage to other cells and tissues. Skin cancer occurs more frequently in cats with shorter or thinner coats that have more exposure to the sun. Skin cancer can also have a hereditary component as cats with a relative with the condition have a greater chance of developing the disease.
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Treatment Of Cancer In Cats
It is always extremely difficult when you learn that your cat has developed cancer.
There are often feelings of bewilderment and even guilt , and it inevitably takes time to come to terms with the disease. Although for most tumours the underlying cause is simply unknown, for many , treatment may be available that will significantly improve both the quality and length of life for the cat.
While a diagnosis of cancer is never good news, it is not necessarily a death sentence for a cat. Just as in human medicine, many treatment options are available, although not all cancers respond well to therapy and some may be extremely difficult to manage. The cats quality of life and potential suffering must always be the overriding concern it is worthwhile discussing the options available in depth with your vet before arriving at any decision.
The choice of whether or not to treat, and what to treat with, will depend on many factors. Some forms of therapy are only available at specialist centres, and your vet may suggest that he or she refers you to one of these places.
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Shedding And Hair Loss
If you live with cats, you learn to cope with cat hair on your favorite sweater. But if you notice your cat is losing more hair than usual or has bald patches, see your veterinarian as soon as possible. Abnormal hair loss can be a warning sign of several illnesses, as well as fleas, stress, allergies, or poor nutrition.
Symptoms Of Malignant Melanoma In Cats
“Melanoma” refers to the pigment melanin produced by certain cells in the body. In a melanoma tumor, these pigment cells grow out of control and generate a cancer or tumor. The signs are:
- A darkly colored patch, spot, lump, or raised area on the skin, gum, or within the eye
- Common sites include the head, such as the lips, gums, tongue, nose, ears, or eye.
- Other sites include the back, tail, or paws
- Characteristics of a malignant melanoma include a dark color and rapid growth
- Middle aged to older cats are most likely to be affected
- The cat may have a single lump or several
- In the eye, the first sign of a melanoma may be the iris changing color and darkening.
- The cancer spreads rapidly to the lymph node draining the affected area
- Secondary spread to the liver or lungs is common, causing lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, and weight loss
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What Are The Treatment Options For Skin Cancer In Cats
Just as with dogs, most skin cancers in cats can be treated and cured successfully. If you act swiftly enough, some sores can even be treated before they turn cancerous.
However, vets will often advise for the lump to be removed with surgery just to be sure that the cancer is eradicated.
In some cases, a cat will need the outside of their ears removed to eliminate the cancer, if it develops in that area.
Radiation or chemotherapy may also be suggested. Again, pet insurance will be able to help cover the cost of treatment and rehabilitation.
How Is Cancer Diagnosed
You or your vet may suspect cancer to be an underlying cause of the clinical signs your cat is showing. However, the clinical signs and examination by your vet alone are not sufficient to be able to diagnose the condition.
Additional investigations in the form of radiographs or ultrasound examination are often needed to identify the location and/or the extent of any tumour, but the diagnosis of cancer can only be made by the microscopic examination of tissues by an experienced pathologist. This will usually necessitate a biopsy by your vet, although in some cases it may be possible to make a diagnosis from either a fine needle aspirate or a needle biopsy .
Occasionally other techniques are also used to obtain samples of the suspected abnormal cells so that a diagnosis can be made. Blood samples are a routine part of the investigation of any suspected cancer patient partly to detect any adverse effects of the cancer, and partly to detect the presence of any other disease.
With some cancers, occasionally more sophisticated techniques may be required to either make the diagnosis, or to plan the most appropriate treatment. Computed axial tomography or magnetic resonance imaging are becoming more widely available for pets and can be very valuable, especially, for example, in the diagnosis of brain tumours, and in assessing the extent of tumour invasion.
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What Is Malignant Melanoma
A malignant melanoma tumor tends to grow rapidly, and may spread rapidly to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, liver, or lungs. Hence, early detection of any suspicious lumps and prompt treatment, is key to improving the cat’s chances of survival.
Malignant melanoma is an aggressive form of cancer, most likely to affect the skin, eyes, or mouth of cats. Fortunately, it is relatively rare, and represents less than 2 percent of all forms of cancer in cats.
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Skin Cancer Precautions Even For Indoor
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How To Identify & Prevent Skin Cancer In Cats
Summer is in full swing, which means protecting yourself from the sun even while you soak up its rays. But dont forget about protecting the pets in your life, too. Skin cancer in cats is more common than most pet parents realizeeven if your cat is always indoors! Learn more about which cats may be prone to skin cancer and how to identify the signs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Occurs On Lightly Pigmented Areas That Are Exposed To Ultraviolet Light Such As The Tips Of The Ears
Feline Bowen disease is a disease of aged cats that may be associated with reduced immunity. Tumors appear as multiple discrete red, black, or brown patches and bumps. Their development is associated with the presence of a papillomavirus. Affected cats are often ill or have a suppressed immune system. Lesions grow on the skin surface, but eventually these tumors may change into a form that spreads into underlying tissues. The tumors are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. No treatment has yet proven to be completely successful however, cryotherapy , localized radiation treatment, and topical treatment may control the lesions initially.
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Types Of Feline Skin Cancers
Skin cancer in cats can come from different types tumors or uncontrolled growth of skin cells. The four main types of skin tumors in cats are:
- Epithelial tumors which form on the skin itself or in hair follicles.
- Mesenchymal tumors which originate in cells that surround the skin like fat, tissue and nerves
- Round cell tumors named for their circular appearance when viewed under a microscope that include plasma cell tumors, transmissible venereal tumors and histiocytomas
- Melanomas which form in the cells that give pigment to the skin
The most common skin cancers in cats are basal cell tumors , squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumors, and fibrosarcoma.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Dying Of Old Age
Telltale Signs an Old Cat Is Dying 1 Indications a Cat Is Dying of Old Age. According to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, 2 Signs of Death for Specific Diseases. Geriatric cats can die from several types 3 Treatment Considerations. The severity of your cats symptoms will increase during 4 The Aging Cat. When a cat ages,
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Whats Required To Diagnose Skin Cancer In Cats
A trip to the vets is required to confirm diagnosis of skin cancer for your cat. So, if you notice an unusual lump or abrasion, get your cat booked in at the earliest opportunity.
If your vet cant rule out skin cancer, they will need to carry out a fine needle aspiration or biopsy so that the cells can be examined under a microscope to see if the lump is cancerous.
Sometimes some fluid is taken from the lymph nodes for diagnosis and X-rays may be suggested if theres a chance that the cancer has spread.
Is The Sun Good For Cats
Yes, the sun is good for cat because sunlight, in suitable levels, is beneficial to cats.
Cats are far more content when they are warm and dry. As a result, summer is a favourite season for all felines. When the sun shines, cats find it much easier to unwind.
Allow your cat to sunbathe in the sun if it loves it. Simply follow the necessary safety precautions. Make sure your cat has a shaded spot to retire to if needed. However, there are some distinct advantages to allowing a cat to sunbathe.
It is a common misunderstanding that cats get their energy from the sun. Sunshine does not make a cat more colourful than cold conditions. Sunlight, on the other hand, keeps a cats energy levels up. As a result, sunshine is an excellent method for a cat to unwind and recoup after a long day.
Cats expend a lot of calories while going about their everyday activities. While it may appear that your cat spends the whole day napping, this is not due to laziness. It is a must. Hunting, playing, and general mobility are all taxing for a cat, especially as it ages.
Cats also need to expend calories in order to remain warm. This is why cats tend to be hungry in the winter.
While your cat does not acquire energy by sunbathing, it also does not lose any. This can significantly improve a cats comfort and quality of life. By taking advantage of the light, your cat may concentrate its physical energies on what is most important.
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