Feline Lymphoma

What is Feline Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a common type of cancer in cats that is caused by the proliferation of malignant lymphocytes (type of white blood cell) often occuring in the chest, kidneys, nose, skin, spine, and gastrointestinal tract.  Lymphoma is classified as high, intermediate or low grade (aggressiveness) based on where it is located in the body, and what type of cells are involved (T-cells vs. B-cells).  Often times, cats present to their veterinarian with clinical signs such as depression, lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, and inappetance.

How is Lymphoma treated?

The best treatment for Lymphoma is chemotherapy.  A wide range of chemotherapeutic drugs can be used in combination to combat this disease.  Prednisone, in conjunction with other chemotherapeutics, will often improve the quality and quantity of life.  There is no cure for Lymphoma, but it can be put into remission with treatment.

What is the prognosis for Feline Lymphoma?

Around 75% of cats go into remission with treatment.  Unfortunately, median survival time is usually only 6 months, as most cats tend to relapse.  If Lymphoma is left untreated most cats will not survive longer than 4-6 weeks.  Nutritional therapy, prednisone, and pain medication can help to keep cats comfortable as the disease progresses.  Your veterinarian can provide a personalized treatment regarding the best treatment protocol for your cat.

EARLY STAGES

  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged lymphnodes
  • Lethargy
  • Weight Loss
  • Fever
  • Eye Infections
LATE STAGES
  • Persistent early stages
  • Lethargy, depression
  • Reclusive behavior
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Presence of a mass
  • Constipation due to dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fluid in lungs of chest
  • Distended abdomen
  • Anorexia
If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms immediate veterinary assistance is needed regardless of the disease.
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Prolonged seizures
  • Uncontrollable vomiting/diarrhea
  • Sudden collapse
  • Profuse bleeding - internal or external
  • Crying/whining from pain