Feline Stomach Cancer
"Feline stomach cancer is a relatively rare disease. Unfortunately, when it does occur, symptoms often do not arise until the disease is in advanced stages, making it difficult to treat. "
Feline Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Cat stomach cancer symptoms are generally hard to notice at the beginning and only become noticeable as the disease progresses. Symptoms include:
Loss of appetite
Vomiting (may be mixed with blood)
Black, tarry stools (due to containing digested blood)
Anemia (due to blood loss)
Abdominal pain (your cat may cry out or withdraw if you touch her belly)
Masses that can be felt in the belly area
You should take your cat to the vet if you notice changes in her eating habits, persistent vomiting, blood in vomit or stool, or masses in her abdomen or elsewhere.
Stomach Cancer in Cat Diagnosis
Your vet will perform a thorough physical exam, including feeling your cat’s belly for any masses. He or she will then perform x-rays and/or an ultrasound to look for tumors. These should be clearly visible.
Your vet may perform a gastroscopy, which involves putting your cat under anesthesia and running a narrow tube with a camera on the end down her throat into her stomach. The vet can look at any abnormalities and also gather samples of any tumors or suspicious looking tissue for further examination.
Your vet will also look at x-rays to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the liver or lungs before making a stomach cancer in cat diagnosis.
Feline Stomach Cancer Treatment
Surgery is the treatment of choice for feline stomach cancer. Prior to surgery, the cat is stabilized with IV fluids if she has been vomiting and is dehydrated. Antibiotics may also be administered as needed. During surgery, the stomach cancer and any other cancerous tissue is removed. Following surgery, the cat will remain in the veterinary hospital for about 24 hours. She will be fed a liquid diet for that time. After that she will be fed a soft diet for several days, while the stomach heals. She can then return to a normal diet.
Stomach cancer cannot be treated with radiation because of the risk of damage to nearby organs. Chemotherapy has not been shown to be effective in treating stomach cancer, although it may be used if the cancer has spread to other organs.
As with any cancer, there is a chance of stomach cancer recurring and a good chance that it has spread to other areas of the body. The average length of survival from the time of diagnosis is 12 – 14 months.
Stomach Cancer in Cats
Washington State University
School of Veterinary Medicine