Cat Lung Cancer
"Cat lung cancer may be a primary cancer (meaning that it originated in the lungs) or a secondary cancer (meaning that it originated elsewhere and spread to the lungs). No one knows what causes primary lung cancer in cats, but some studies suggest it is more common in urban cats than in rural cats, so environmental pollution may be a factor."
Cat Lung Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of feline lung cancer are similar to those of any cat respiratory disease, and include lethargy, loss of appetite, and coughing. As the condition progresses, there will be weight loss and difficult or labored breathing. The cat may also begin coughing up blood. By the time these advanced symptoms appear, however, the disease may be so far advanced that it will be difficult to treat.
You should take your cat to the vet any time she shows signs of a respiratory illness. Of course most of the time it will not be cancer, but she may have an illness that needs treatment.
Cat Lung Cancer Diagnosis
When your cat goes to the vet for a respiratory illness, your vet will likely do a chest x-ray. If your cat has lung cancer, the tumor will show up on the x-ray.
If it turns out that your cat has a lung tumor, your vet will do a number of tests to evaluate your cat’s health. He or she will do blood tests and a urinalysis to measure red and white blood cells, platelets, blood sugar, and proteins. The vet will also check for liver and kidney functions.
The vet will need to determine if the tumor is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Your cat may have fluid in or around her lungs that is making it hard for her to breathe, and if so, the vet can draw out this fluid with a needle. This fluid can be tested to determine if she has cancer. Otherwise, a biopsy will need to be done.
Cat Lung Cancer Treatment
If the tumor is confined to one lobe of the lung, surgery is a good option. However, if the tumor is spread throughout the lung or through both lungs, then surgery will not be possible.
Chemotherapy has not proven to be very effective for feline lung cancer. It may be recommended as a post-surgical treatment, however.
Often, care that keeps your cat as comfortable as possible is the best that can be done. Care involves addressing any symptoms with the priority on maintaining an acceptable quality of life.
Information About Feline Lung Cancer
Lung Ailments: A Widespread Source of Feline Woe
Cornell Feline Health Center