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For cat owners, there's nothing more terrifying and distressing than to find out that your beloved feline companion has developed a malignant tumor or tumors. In order to give your cat the best chance to survive a case of feline cancer, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Also, having a basic understanding of cat cancer and the steps involved in fighting the disease can help make the process of diagnosis and treatment less confusing and overwhelming.
What is Cancer?
Cancer involves the unregulated proliferation of cells resulting in the formation malignant tumors. This type of uncontrolled growth occurs when gene mutations are caused by damaged DNA. Typically, any damaged cells would be destroyed by the animal's immune system; however, cancerous cells are able to avoid destruction by the immune system and, therefore, continue to grow in their unregulated manner. These cells then form a mass known as a tumor, which can either be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are the cancerous ones, and they can be very aggressive and dangerous.
Types of Cat Cancer
There are so many different types of cat cancer that it's not possible to discuss all of them here. Cancer can originate in and affect almost all parts of the feline body; however, there are certain types of cat cancer that are more common than others. These include bladder cancer as well as various abdominal cancers which can affect the kidneys, intestines, spleen, and liver. Feline leukemia and malignant skin tumors also affect cats quite frequently.
In most cases, it's impossible to identify one or more particular causes of cancer in a feline patient. The potential causes and triggers of this disease are numerous and encompass both genetic and environmental factors. For example, hereditary defects and toxic chemicals can both play a role in the development of cat cancer. Radiation and viruses such as the Feline Leukemia Virus are also known to increase a cat's risk of developing cancer. With so many potential triggers and contributing factors, the cause of feline cancer in a particular cat will often remain unknown.
Since there are so many different forms of cat cancer, the type of the disease that is affecting a particular cat will determine the type of symptoms and warning signs exhibited. For example, excessive drooling and trouble with eating could be signs of mouth cancer while stiffness and difficulty with movement could be symptoms of bone cancer. However, even though the warning signs of cancer will differ with each type of the disease, there are certain symptoms that are common to various forms of cancer. These warning signs include weight loss and loss of appetite, abnormal and firm swelling, a lack of interest in daily activities, trouble with eating, an offensive odor, and unusual stiffness or lameness.
A diagnosis of cat cancer will be reached through an evaluation of symptoms and clinical signs as well as the results of various diagnostic procedures. Since there are so many different types of feline cancer, there are a number of diagnostic tools and tests that may be necessary to confirm and identify a particular case of this disease. Certain tools and tests that may be employed include blood tests, biopsies, x-rays, and CT scans. Once the presence of a particular form of cat cancer has been confirmed, the veterinarian will also need to evaluate the stage of the disease in order to implement an appropriate treatment plan.
When a cat has been diagnosed as having cancer, the necessary treatment plan will depend on a number of different factors, including the type of cancer present and the stage of the disease. Examples of treatment methods frequently used for various forms of cat cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is part of a holistic health approach to treatment and is often used in conjunction with other treatments. This particular form of therapy involves using a variety of natural supplements to boost the cat's immune system in order to provide the animal with a greater ability to fight the cancer as well as to withstand other forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. In some cases, treatment for cat cancer will successfully eradicate the disease but, unfortunately, in other cases treatment will only serve to slow the progress of the cancer.
Since the potential contributing factors with respect to the development of cat cancer are so numerous, it can be difficult and even impossible to predict and prevent cancer in many cases. Yet, there are certain steps that pet owners can take to help lower the chances of their feline friends developing this terrible disease. Often, a holistic health care approach is very beneficial in this regard. By promoting and protecting your cat's overall health with a good diet, a healthy living environment, and natural supplements, you will be boosting the strength and function of your pet's immune system. As a result, your feline companion will have a stronger defense against cancer and all other feline medical problems and will be more likely to live a long and healthy life.
Article Courtesy of Article Cat http://www.articlecat.com
Author: Catharine Wells