Lymphoma in Cats: Types of Lymphoma and its Treatments

Want to know about lymphoma in cats, the lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is the most common type of cancer in cats. Which is characterized by abnormal proliferation of malignant lymphocytes. The incidence of this cancer has been observed to be higher in cats than dogs. It can affect any cat, regardless of race and gender.

Typically the lymphoma is classified into two categories high grade or lymphoblastic and low grade or lymphocytic. The lymphoma cats looks will be like as the normal. As it is a disease it cannot be seen in a normal way. If you want to know about cat lymphoma when to euthanize then you can simply see our article.

Lymphoma in Cats

Based on the location the cancer is classified as multicenter, mediastinal, gastrointestinal and extranodal lymphoma. Multicenter cancer form involves multiple lymph nodes and can affect multiple organs. Mediastinal lymphoma in cats usually affects the lymph nodes located in the thorax and thymus. While the extra nodal form involves the central nervous system, skin, heart, kidneys and eyes. On the other hand the gastrointestinal form of the condition affects the digestive tract. Intestinal lymphoma in cats is one of the most common types of feline lymphoma.


Causes of Lymphoma in Cats

Feline lymphoma have been found to be associated with an infection caused by feline leukemia virus. This virus is usually associated with the multi centric form of the disease. Earlier the feline leukemia virus is the main factor responsible for the higher incidence of lymphoma in young cats. However with the increasing use of vaccination, the incidence of this cancer in young cats has reduced significantly. Earlier feline leukemia virus accounted for about 70% of all cases of lymphoma in cats.

Causes of Lymphoma in Cats

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However, nowadays only 20% of the total cases of feline lymphoma have been found to have an association with the feline leukemia virus. Another virus, known as feline immunodeficiency virus may also increase the risk of lymphoma in cats. Other factors that are thought to play an important role in the development of lymphoma including genetic predisposition as well as exposure to carcinogens like, cigarette smoke.

4 Types of Lymphoma in Cats Which are Common

There are four types of lymphomas in cats which are very common and they will be discussed briefly below.

1. Mediastinal lymphoma

This affects the thymus gland and lymph nodes of the mediastinum. Which are the structures located in the front of the chest, that is in front of the heart, this type of lymphoma can grow a lot. Which makes it possible to occupy a large part of the thoracic cavity, causing respiratory problems in the cat.

This type of tumor can compress the esophagus, which is the tuno that joins the mouth with the stomach. So it can cause difficulty swallowing and the animal ends up regurgitating the food that is ingested. You can also observe the presence of fluid in the chest which ends up worsening respiratory difficulties.

The cats that present this type of lymphomas are very young and they do not even reach two years of age, here the races like the Siamese cat and the Oriental are more prone to suffer this type of disease, however they respond very well to the treatment and the prognosis is quite encouraging.

2. Gastrointestinal lymphoma

This can affect any part of the intestinal tract the stomach, the small intestine any. The tumor can be of the focal type, that is one or more large masses or diffuse which is a generalized thickening of the intestine and in many cases we can find affected some abdominal organs among the symptoms include cat vomiting and diarrhea, loss of weight, and changes in the animal’s appetite.

The appearance of this type of lymphoma can be observed in middle-aged and older cats, this is classified depending largely on the size of their cells, ie, small, medium and large and both treatment and prognosis will depend on the place in where it is if it is diffuse or focal and if it is a large or small cell lymphoma.

4 Types of Lymphoma in Cats

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3. Multicentric lymphoma

In this type of situation the presence of tumors is observed in more than one site, so it can involve multiple lymph nodes such as those located under the jaw, behind the ears, or in the groin. The symptoms can be varied however the most common are the presence of lumps in the areas described above you can also see the loss of appetite. It greatly affects cats between 3 to 5 years of age and may be associated with FeLV infection.

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4. Miscellaneous lymphoma

They are one of the most common lymphomas in cats since they encompass all those forms of lymphoma whose location is not the intestinal tract, nor the hematopoietic or lymphoid tissues. In this type of situation the most affected areas are the central nervous system, the kidneys, the skin, and the nasal cavity, it is very common in older cats, which can present an important nasal discharge.

The prognosis in this type of lymphoma in cats, especially for the nasal is usually very encouraging however for the other types of lymphomas varies according to the affected area, the age of cats affected with this type of disease ranges from 5 and 9 years old.

Lymphoma in Cats Symptoms

Lymphoma can affect multiple organs including liver, spleen, central nervous system, kidneys and bone marrow. The symptoms of the disease therefore depend to a large extent on the organ or organs particularly affected.

Commonly observed symptoms in Feline Lymphoma

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy in cats
  • Progressive weight loss
  • Diarrhea and vomiting in cats
  • Thirst
  • Increased urination (when the kidneys are affected)
  • Difficulty breathing the condition of the poor coat
  • Palate mucosa
  • Anemia in cats

Many problems and diseases will cause the same symptoms so they are not specific to cancer. Keep in mind that the first three signs – decreased appetite, lethargy and weight loss that occur in cats that have almost any disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Lymphoma in Cats

The diagnosis of lymphoma in the cat begins with physical examinations which reveals swollen lymph nodes or swelling of the gastrointestinal tract. Other tests that are performed for the accurate diagnosis of the condition are complete blood cell counting test, chemistry panel, X-ray, and ultrasound internal organs and fine needle aspiration or biopsy.

Treatment for Lymphoma in Cats

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment option for feline lymphoma. The chemotherapeutic drugs that are generally used for the treatment of lymphoma in cats include cyclophosphamide, prednisone, doxorubicin and vincristine. When the tumor is localized, it can be treated with radiotherapy too. Similarly, surgery and laser treatment can also be performed, if the tumor is located at a particular site only. Immunotherapy is another treatment option available for the treatment of lymphoma.

The prognosis of the disease depends on the early treatment as well as the location of the tumor. It also depends on the type of lymphoma. Usually low-grade lymphoma has a better prognosis than high grade lymphoma. The prognosis was generally considered good for young cats. But cats infected with feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus showed poor response to cancer treatment with low survival rates.

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Final Words

In general cats with lymphoma can survive for up to 4 to 6 months with proper treatment, while in some cases, some cats may experience a remission of the period of 2 years or more. However the most important part is the early diagnosis of the disease which can sometimes become a little difficult because the lymphoma symptoms in cats are not very accurate. Thus homeowners must remain alert to the disease and report any type of cat health problem, visit out Catsfud for more information.

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