What Exactly Is 
Feline Lymphoma?

Feline lymphoma causes tumors throughout a cat's body, and occurs anywhere that lymph tissue is present. It is most common in older cats, with a higher occurrence in male cats.

The chances of contracting this cancer are higher with cats who have a history of intestinal illness, vomiting, weight loss or loss of appetite, and who have tested positive for feline leukemia.

The average lifespan of a cat that gets this type of cancer is around nine to ten years.

Different Forms of Cat Lymphoma

There are three types of feline lymphoma cancer that can be present in cats

  • Multicentric - This form can affect several different organs and various lymph nodes. It is in close relation to feline leukemia. The outlook for this form of cancer is not good for cats that have tested positive for feline leukemia.
  • Mediastinal - This is also related to a cat having feline leukemia. It is found in the chest and involves the thymus and lymph nodes.
  • Alimentary - This form of cancer attacks the digestive tract and the lymph nodes nearby. This is not likely to be related to feline leukemia.

Symptoms of Cat Lymphoma

Symptoms of this cancer vary, and also depend on where the lymphoma is located and what type it is.

Here are a few common symptoms to look for:

  • Visible lumps that show tumor mass
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Rough coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory trouble with difficult breathing
  • Fluid in lungs
  • Increased drinking and urinating
  • Discharge from nose
  • Swelling of face

Cat Lymphoma Diagnosis and Treatment

Feline lymphoma is diagnosed through a series of tests including a biopsy, x-rays, ultrasounds, examination, blood test and chemical panel.

Treatment of this cancer involves using chemotherapy and medication. Sometimes if the tumor can be accessed easily surgery or radiation is done.

Most people think a cat having chemotherapy will cause more sickness, but this isn't always the case, although vets may advise against it in older cats or those with advanced cancer. You can expect your cat to lose just about all his whiskers, but most of its fur should remain.

What is the Outlook for This Cancer?

Remission and survival all depend on numerous factors, such as: if the cat has feline leukemia, where the lymphoma is, how quickly it is found, how far it has spread, and how soon the treatment is started.

When given chemotherapy, about 70% of cats will respond favorably, and live on average, four to six months longer.

30-40% of cats will end up in complete remission for 2 years or longer. 


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