Cats have a higher risk of suffering from lymphoma than people or dogs. Male cats between the ages of nine and 13 have the highest risk of developing feline lymphoma. So what exactly causes this condition?
There are two main causes of feline lymphoma. Most cats suffer from this condition because they have contracted feline leukemia virus, also known as FeLV. Cats that are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV, are also at risk of developing feline lymphoma.
Although it can affect many different organs, there are three main forms of feline lymphoma. The multicentric form affects the lymph nodes located in the abdominal area. It can sometimes affect the spleen and liver also. The mediastinal form occurs in the chest cavity, affecting the lymph nodes of the thymus, mediastinal, and sternal regions.
The last form of feline lymphoma is the alimentary form. This form of the disease affects your cat’s digestive tract. It may also affect the liver and the surrounding lymph nodes.
The symptoms of feline lymphoma depend on the severity and the location of the disease. Cats with the alimentary form of the disease will often experience vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and a rough coat of hair. Those with the mediastinal form will have fluid in the lung cavity which will lead to respiratory problems.
If feline lymphoma occurs in the nose, your cat may experience facial swelling and a discharge from the nose. When the kidney is affected by the disease, it will lead to increased water consumption and urination.
Treatment of feline lymphoma depends on the location and cause of the disease. The most widely used method of treatment is chemotherapy. This method usually achieves high remission rates and increases the life span of your cat. Chemotherapy drugs are given over the course of a few weeks. While taking these drugs, your cat’s white and red blood cell count must be monitored closely.
Surgery and radiation can also be used to treat feline lymphoma. These two methods of treatment are only used when the tumor is localized and convenient to access.
This is everything you need to know about feline lymphoma. Your cat will display symptoms based upon the area that is affected by the disease. If he starts to display any of these symptoms, you should take it to a vet as soon as possible for an exam. If your cat does have feline lymphoma, he will likely be treated with chemotherapy drugs taken over the course of many weeks.