My Personal Experience With Feline Cancer
My first cat, Feebee, was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma in 1999 when he was 15 years old. He tolerated his chemotherapy protocol of a combination of Vincristine injections and oral Cytoxan and prednisone well. He was a little subdued for about 24 hours following treatment. His appetite wasnt that great during that period, and he slept a lot more than usual, but the rest of the time, his quality of life was good.
After seven months, he stopped responding to the chemotherapy. My vet gave me the option of continuing with more aggressive drugs with the potential for more severe side effects. I elected euthanasia. My little man confirmed that I made the right decision: he died in my arms while my vet was on the way to my house.
Being faced with a cancer diagnosis is a devastating blow for cat parents. Making a decision about treatment is as individual as the affected cat and her human. There are no hard and fast rules. The ultimate goal of any decision is to provide good quality of life for the cat for as long as possible.
Have any of your cats undergone chemotherapy? What was your experience?
How Does Chemotherapy Work
There are a variety of different cancers that cats can suffer from. Some of which will respond to chemotherapy, but not all. Many cancers do best with surgery and might be cured with this alone. But some may require follow up treatment to destroy any malignant cells that may have been left behind.
Chemotherapy describes a variety of medications that are aimed at killing cancer cells. These cells are usually rapidly reproducing, and the drugs will target those. In cats, this can help to slow the progression of the disease and extend your pets life span, sometimes leading to remission.
This type of treatment is usually recommended for cats that have cancer in multiple areas of the body, such as lymphoma . Or those that are at risk from malignant cells spreading elsewhere in the body from a primary tumour.
Tiny Beads Cause A Revolution In Cancer Treatment In Cats
- It is difficult to know where margins were
- It requires another surgery under anesthesia
- There are additional costs
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Some carcinomas
I have used chemo beads in cats with a variety of cancerous tumors, including:
- A malignant melanoma of the lower eyelid
- Fibrosarcomas in the skin
- Cancerous tumors in the salivary glands
My view of chemo beadsSo whats my take? The beads are keeping their promise: they are effective, they are cheaper than all other options, and they have minimal to no side-effects. Remarkably, we can use beads in cats despite the fact that IV cisplatin is deadly.From personal experience, the beads have been remarkably well tolerated. Other surgeons who have used the cisplatin beads have been equally impressed. Still, it is a relatively new treatment that few surgeons have heard about. Hopefully, as more colleagues learn about them, more cats will benefit from them.
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What Can Be Expected From Chemotherapy
In some cases we are unable to cure our veterinary cancer patients. Our goal is therefore to improve a pets quality of life. To this end, chemotherapy can be used to minimise the discomfort caused by a tumour or to slow or arrest the progression of the disease.
The decision whether to pursue chemotherapy treatments can be complex. Medical information, practical concerns and financial responsibility all play a role in this decision. We encourage you to empower yourself with knowledge and to discuss your concerns with us when making this decision.
Chlorambucil: Chemotherapy For Your Cats Cancer
When it comes to our furry friends, we always want the best possible for them. This especially becomes true in regards to health care.
Diagnoses can be daunting to deal with, and it is important to proceed armed with all the best possible information.
Cancer, especially immune-mediated cancers, are formidable to hear about for human patients, and much-less discussed for animal ones.
Chlorambucil has been shown to be one such treatment option that has provided a happy ending for many feline friends.
Although initially broaching the topic can be overwhelming, we aim to provide a comprehensive list of reliable sources and information that help owners understand what exactly theyre giving their cat and how Chlorambucil works to defeat cancer.
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Radiotherapy To Treat Cancer In Cats
A second type of classic cancer treatment that is used for cats is radiation therapy, more commonly known as radiotherapy.
As the name suggests, radiation is transmitted in a targeted manner at a tumor in an attempt to destroy it, or to reduce its size when it cannot be completely removed in surgery.
For example, radiotherapy in cats could be used for a tumor in the thyroid.
Support Your Cats Immune System
It is important to support your cats immune system while she is undergoing chemotherapy. One of the foundations of a healthy immune system is diet. Typically, veterinarians recommend a high protein, low carb, moderate fat diet for pets with cancer. A high quality grain-free canned diet will probably be your best choice for your feline cancer patient.
Even though Im a proponent of raw feeding, Im on the fence as to whether raw diets are appropriate for cats with cancer. On the one hand, there are numerous anecdotal reports of miracle cures when pets with cancer were fed a raw diet, on the other hand, I dont know whether feeding a raw diet to an immunocompromised pet is necessarily a good idea. Check with a veterinarian who is familiar with raw feeding whether a raw diet is appropriate for your cat while she is undergoing chemotherapy.
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How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost For Cats With Lymphoma
Cancer consultation fees for an oncologist can range from $125 to $250, depending on the hospital, clinic, and location, and for dogs and cats, the average cost of chemo is $150 to $500 per dose, with radiation costing $1,000 to $1,800 per dose, and for cats, the average cost of
Cats And Chemotherapy: What You Need To Know
Chemotherapy appears to be effective in many cats, but it is critical to remember that not all cats respond well and that some cats may suffer serious side effects as a result. A veterinarian will be able to tell if your cat is experiencing these symptoms: anemia, decreased appetite, difficulty breathing, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or seizures. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any side effects your cat may experience as a result of chemotherapy treatment. The majority of cats appear to benefit from chemotherapy, with only a few suffering serious side effects.
How Much Does Lymphoma Treatment Cost
One of the biggest causes of concern for pet parents is the cost of the treatment. Especially when a majority of treatment protocols donât provide a frame of reference for what expenses can be expected.
The lack of price reference stems from a lot of different factors. Many treatments are determined by the weight of the dog, the stage of their cancer , and the prices set by an, unfortunately, competitive market in an area. Because of all of these influences, outside of the vet that is giving your pet their treatment, the best breakdown that anyone can offer on pricing is simply a range of estimates.
And there is always more than one option for treatment. If your oncologist is on the higher side of the price range, talk about different options with them. And donât be afraid to call around to see if thatâs the price point for your area, there may be a vet that has less oncology experience but may charge less as a result. Thereâs always going to be a give and take for how much you pay for treatment and the status of the vet that you choose, so make sure youâre as comfortable as you can be on both fronts.
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Chemotherapy For Dogs And Cats
As our companion animals live longer, we see more animals develop chronic diseases such as cancer. Many of our pets can have some reasonable success in cancer treatment or palliative therapy. In some cases, your veterinarian may refer your pet to an Oncologist for consultation to set up a treatment protocol using chemotherapy. Animals tolerate chemotherapy very well. Your veterinarian will discuss the treatment protocol as well as the possible adverse effect that may occur with treatment.
Is Chemotherapy Cruel In Cats
Cancer affects animals as well as people, but sometimes treatment options are available which can help. Depending on the type of cancer your cat is suffering from, they may be able to receive chemotherapy. If this is something your vet has mentioned to you, then you probably have a lot of questions. In this article, we will look at chemotherapy in cats, specifically focussing on a common concern from owners whether it is cruel to put your pet through it.
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How Do I Prepare For My Pets Chemotherapy Appointment
We ask that all pets are fasted for 8 hours prior to their appointments. Although this may seem like a lot of fasting for pets that come every week for long periods of time, there is a good reason for this. If your pet needs a diagnostic test because if there is a new abnormality, we may need him/her fasted. If we cannot perform the test you will need to return at a later date. Fasting also minimizes the risk of vomiting before or after chemotherapy. You can also prepare for the appointment by keeping track of any problems or changes you may have encountered between visits so that we can address them. Please also remember to inform us if you need refills of your pets medication as some of these cannot be called in to a human pharmacy.
Is Chemotherapy The Right Choice For Your Cat
Finding out that a beloved cat has cancer is heartbreaking for cat parents. The sad reality is that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in older cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States along. However, a cancer diagnosis does not have to be the end of the road. In fact, just like with humans, treatment is often possible, and chemotherapy may be one option that can allow your cat to live comfortably for many months and even years.
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Cancer Treatment For Your Pet
While cancer is a scary diagnosis for any pet parent, medical advances in animal health care means its more treatable than ever. Many pets are now living for years after their diagnosis and treatment. According to Pet Cure Oncology, the most common treatments for pet cancer are chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
What Do I Do After The Appointment
Please make sure not to over-feed or over-water your pet after the appointment as this can cause or increase nausea/vomiting. Give a small meal and a smaller amount of water the evening of chemotherapy and resume normal feeding the next day. Do not try any strenuous exercise with your pet for the first few days as he/she may be tired from the treatment. You may be sent home with various medications. Please note the instructions on any medications we send home with you. Some of the medications can be used on an as needed basis and others need to be given in a timely manner. Please do not start using old leftover medications from a previous problem unless they are labeled use as needed. Some anti-nausea and diarrhea medications can be used as needed, but if you are not sure please call us. If your pet received a drug that is administered intravenously, he/she may have a pressure bandage over the injection site. This is similar to a band-aid and prevents the vein from bleeding. This should stay on at least 1 hour, but no longer than 3 hours to prevent swelling in the paw. If your pet is having problems overnight or on the weekend please feel free to call our emergency department. If your pet is vomiting uncontrollably, having bloody watery diarrhea, or any other problems, please call our emergency department right away or bring your pet in to be seen.
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What Causes Cancer In Dogs And Cats
We know the cause of very few cancers in companion animals. The development of cancer can occur in any organism from excessive exposure to carcinogenic agents such as certain chemicals, UV or X-irradiation and from some viral infections . Although we do not know the exact cause for each type of cancer in pets, the underlying problem is due to abnormal genes that result in uncontrolled growth of cells which may invade into surrounding tissues or spread to other areas. The number of cancers that are actually heritable is unknown in dogs and cats but it has been occasionally documented.
How Do I Check If My Cat Has Lymphoma
Diagnosis is usually confirmed with sampling the affected organ and lymph nodes by either cytology or biopsy . Further testing with B & T cell immunophenotyping is sometimes recommended to determine if your cat has B or T cell lymphoma.
Staging refers to how far cancer has grown and spread in the body. Staging is important to provide prognostic information on which to base decisions and identify unrelated problems that could affect treatment choices. Cats are usually staged with blood and urine tests, chest x-rays and abdominal ultrasound.
The results of these tests will allow veterinarians to develop individualised treatment recommendations for your cat.
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How Long Will My Cat Be On Chemo
A cat with gastrointestinal large cell lymphoma receiving CHOP chemotherapy has a 50%-75% response rate, with a median survival time of 6-9 months. An animal that has a complete remission has a longer life expectancy than one that has a partial resolution, and a small percentage of animals can live for more than two years.
Chemotherapy, which employs drugs to target cancerous cells with the least amount of damage possible, affects the healthy body. Chemotherapy is commonly used for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is generally effective in cats. Many cats may experience side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and a lack of appetite. Cats hair does not usually fall out completely, but it is usually seen as a sign of poor health. Dr. McNeill not only treats possible side effects like pain and nausea, but he also proactively addresses them. When the lymph nodes are successfully treated for cancer, the size of the lymph nodes decreases. In many cases, emission can last several years or even weeks.
Side Effects Of Chemotherapy In Cats
Side effects are reported less often in cats than in humans. We are talking about less than a quarterof animals that present unpleasant side effects, and they are often brief. Less than 5% of animals present severe side effects.
In most cases, chemotherapy is used with the aim of improving the well-being and quality of life of the sick animal, hoping to have a positive effect on longevity at the same time. They are not necessarily used for curative purposes like in humans.
Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loose stools, and increased susceptibility to secondary infections. Significant hair loss is rare.
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How Long Can A Cat Live With Lymphoma On Steroids
When combined with prednisone, a high-grade lymphoma that only has a high grade of cancer has a median survival time of 1-2 months.
Feline leukemia is a viral infection that is associated with lymphoma. Cats that are affected are frequently lethargic, have diarrhea, and lose weight. Mediastinal lymphoma, a condition that frequently causes respiratory issues, is found in the chest. When a renal lymphoma patient has kidney failure, there are obvious symptoms. If a fine needle aspirate is inconclusive or is impractical due to the location of the lesions, a surgical biopsy may be performed. If your cat has lymphoma via biopsy, the pathologist can also determine whether it has high-grade or low-grade lymphoma. Depending on the location of the lymphoma, the survival rate of an individual with lymphoma is determined.
Around 70% of cats who have low-grade lymphoma will be able to return to normal. Even if the lymphoma is high-grade, it will not respond to treatment. Although lymphoma cannot be prevented, infection with the feline leukemia virus can help to reduce the likelihood of a cat developing lymphoma.
How Would My Cat Be Diagnosed With A Lymphoma
If your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms it is important to take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible, leaving symptoms could cause them to worsen and prompt diagnosis of a lymphoma ensures your cats survival.
PetMD explains that veterinarians can conduct routine lab testing including a blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis to give a proper diagnosis.
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What Chemotherapy Drugs Are Used To Treat Cancer In Cats
Several drugs can be combined to slow the progression of cancer, while aiming for the minimum possible toxicity to the body.
As these drugs are toxic for the body, those who take care of the animal during treatment must be very careful and wear gloves, among other things, when administering the medication and when cleaning the litter box.
Your vet can guide you to the most appropriate medication for your cat. It could be Chlorambucil for example.