Lymphoma is one of the most commonly recognized cancers in cats. It is a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that can occur in different parts of the body, e.g. B. in the lymph nodes, the spleen, the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, and the bone marrow.
Lymphomas in cats
Unlike canine lymphoma, the viral causes of feline lymphoma are well understood and the feline leukemia virus has been found to significantly (up to 60-fold) increase the likelihood of developing lymphoma in cats. Lymphomas are commonly found in younger cats infected with the feline leukemia virus and in older cats that are unaffected. In addition, exposure to cigarette smoke, prolonged immunosuppressive treatment, and chronic inflammatory diseases may also be risk factors.
Types of Lymphoma
Lymphomas are divided into numerous subtypes depending on the location of the tumor. These places include the following:
The most common manifestation is gastrointestinal (GI) involvement. This includes the stomach, intestines, and liver as well as several lymph nodes in the vicinity of the intestine. Clinical signs of this type of lymphoma in cats can include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and decreased appetite.
The term “mediastinum” refers to a specific collection of lymphoid tissue in the chest. Cats with this type of lymphoma are often young and are often diagnosed when they unexpectedly experience difficulty breathing, low energy, and decreased appetite.
The kidneys may be the primary organs affected. Cats of this type are often checked for signs of kidney failure (increased thirst, increased urination, loss of appetite, vomiting).
When cancer spreads to the bone marrow, it is called leukemia. Most patients are hospitalized due to a lack of energy and appetite. Typically, blood tests show a shift in red and white blood cells.
Nodes Lymphatic Vessels External
In a few cats, the external lymph nodes are the only place they are affected. These cats may be checked for vomiting and loss of appetite, or the owner may discover “lumps” (enlarged lymph nodes) on their cat.
The Following Spots are Also Worth Checking Out
Occasionally, other sites such as the skin, nose, brain, and spinal cord may also be affected.
Lymphoma Cat Symptoms
Surprisingly, most cats tolerate chemotherapy well and have few side effects. Only 5% of animals requiring outpatient treatment have serious side effects, and only 1% require hospitalization or have life-threatening side effects. If the side effects are severe or uncomfortable, we can reduce the dose of the drug or switch it out. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, excessive tiredness, and infections. Chemotherapy drugs can change organ function over time, so regular blood tests are advisable. Chemotherapy causes cats to lose their whiskers and have an altered coat texture.
Lymphomas are Diagnosed in a Variety of Ways
Lymphoma is diagnosed by detecting malignant cells under the microscope. In addition, your veterinarian may perform a blood test prior to the lymphoma test to check your cat’s general health and rule out other possible causes of the clinical signs.
In rare cases, fine-needle aspiration can be used to detect lymphoma in cats. The vet sticks a needle into a suspicious area (a dilated lymph node, enlarged kidney, thicker part of the intestine, or fluid in the chest) and removes a tiny number of cells. Then these cells are examined under a microscope for cancerous cells that indicate lymphoma. Although it is not always possible to obtain a high-quality diagnostic sample through aspiration, many veterinarians start with this procedure because it involves fewer risks, side effects, and expenses than surgical biopsy.
Because fine-needle aspiration is not conclusive in certain cases, your vet may perform a surgical biopsy instead. Part of the tissue is removed from the lesion. This sample can be obtained surgically (by opening your cat’s abdomen and removing a piece of the colon) or endoscopically (by inserting an endoscope into your cat’s intestines and removing part of the inside of the intestine). This sample is prepared and examined under a microscope for lymphoma.
A pathologist can use the biopsy to determine whether your cat has high-grade or low-grade lymphoma. High-grade lymphomas are fast-growing and more aggressive than low-grade lymphomas. Chemotherapy is more likely to cure low-grade lymphoma in cats and usually prolongs remission.
If your cat has lymphoma, your doctor may do other tests, such as B. immunohistochemical studies. These tests can be used to create a treatment plan.