Chemotherapy And Radiation For Feline Bladder Cancer
Sometimes, vets will notice that the lymph nodes of cats have become infected by the cancerous cells. This is a significant discovery to make because it means the cancer is spreading from the urinary tract to the surrounding lymph nodes, which will signal to the vets that the situation is in dire need of immediate treatment. If your vet notices inflamed lymph nodes, chemotherapy might be considered as well.
Radiation therapy is often introduced as a treatment option for cats of all ages and severities. Radiation therapy relies on literal radiation to eliminate the cancerous cells as well as prevent other cancer cells from growing.
How To Treat Cancer In Cats
You are probably familiar with the conventional treatments used in humans, namely chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are also an option for our feline companions. Read on for natural options to help your cat through his fight against cancer, such as the PIPTOPET product and proper nutrition packed with antioxidants.
How To Shrink A Tumor In A Cat
Conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are used to shrink the size of a tumor and kill the remaining cancerous cells after the surgical removal of a lump.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are invasive and attack both healthy and diseased cells. We suggest alternative natural products to optimize the fight against the cancerous cells, without impacting the healthy cells.
As the name suggests, chemotherapy is the administration of a chemical treatment, i.e. strong drugs, either intravenously or orally. Less than a quarter of animals show side effects from this therapy, unlike in humans.
Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, is when radiation is targeted at a tumor with the aim of completely destroying it or reducing its size. It requires several treatments and the animal must be anesthetized each time, as it must be completely still during treatment.
Surgery is often an option to consider. In fact, I personally assisted in a surgery to remove a lump the size of a tennis ball between the shoulder blades of a poor cat. This tumor had surprisingly grown in less than two months! The surgery was a success and was curative for this cat who is now in great shape.
Nevertheless, there are less invasive natural methods of treatment for feline cancer. See our suggestions below.
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Treatment For Bladder Stones In Cats
The treatment of bladder stones in cats are varied, each with different pros and cons.
As mentioned earlier, any kitty showing signs of abnormal urinary behavior should be examined by a vet to determine which of the several possible causes is responsible. This commonly first involves having a urine sample collected and evaluated.
With calcium oxalate stones, the urine pH will be acidic. With struvite stones, a cats urine pH will be alkaline . When urine is examined under a microscope, it is possible that calcium oxalate or struvite crystals will be identified, though this is not always the case. Urinary crystals may be present without stones, and stones may be present without urinary crystals.
The results of a urinalysis may prompt a vet to evaluate the bladder for stones using either radiographs or ultrasound. With x-rays, bladder stones will appear as bright white objects. With an ultrasound, stones will block sound waves from going past them, leading to a characteristic black shadow obscuring the bottom of the bladder.
Stomach Cancer In Cats
A tumor can develop in the stomach. There is also a type of lymphoma that affects the digestive system. In all cases, a cat with cancer in the stomach would show signs such as weight loss, vomiting and loss of appetite.
It is reported that the majority of stomach tumors are malignant, yet they have the ability to spread throughout the body and create what is called metastasis. This is never good news. Fortunately, these cancers are not common in our kitties.
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How To Treat Cats With Bladder Cancer
Unfortunately, urinary bladder cancer is a diagnosis that carries a low life expectancy rate once the cancerous cells are spotted. Without treatments, cats are likely to live around five months, on average. Whereas diagnosed and treated cats are looking at a lifespan of closer to a year. When your cat is diagnosed with bladder cancer, these statements can be very upsetting to hear.
Thankfully, there are a few treatment options for cats. And with the right treatment, cats with bladder cancer can go on to survive for upwards of a year after receiving their diagnosis. Of course, we all wish that our pets could live forever, but when urinary bladder cancer enters the picture, the goal is to keep your cat as comfortable as possible.
The main goal is figuring out how to rid your cat’s bladder of cancerous cells. To be cancer-free, professionals need to zero in on ways to take out as many cancer cells from the bladder as possible. Two options involve directly tackling the cause of bladder cancer, which is the cancerous cells themselves.
General And Palliative Care For The Cat With Cancer
As already noted, it is useful to keep a diary of your cats behaviour, appetite, and any abnormalities you observe, as well as a note of when you administer any medications. This will help you and your vet determine if any additional treatments or investigations are necessary.
Maintaining good nutritional intake is an important part of the supportive care for your cat with cancer, and offering a variety of foods can help to ensure that a good appetite is maintained. In general, good quality commercial foods are the best choice for a cat with cancer, although at times there may be some special dietary requirements to take into consideration. Warming the food may encourage the appetite, but occasionally, depending on the circumstances, temporary use of an appetite stimulant or a feeding tube may be needed to overcome poor food intake. Always talk to your vet if your cats appetite is reduced as this can indicate an underlying problem such as uncontrolled pain or side effects associated with the treatment being received.
Ensuring a good quality of life that is free from pain is the main goal in managing cats with cancer. Supportive therapy can be an important part of this, and such treatments may include use of:
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Recurrent Cystitis In Cats
Although some cats may only have a single episode of cystitis in their lifetime, it is likely that they will experience other instances of the condition throughout their life. This is more so where the condition is stress induced. Where this is the case, the best option is to manage the condition using the natural interventions discussed above as opposed to long term administration of drugs. With ongoing management, the need for medication may be eliminated with time.
Like we always advice, the information on cystitis in cats provided above is only meant for general knowledge. Before making any interventions, ensure that a proper diagnosis is done by your veterinarian. Once this is achieved, follow the directions offered. Always talk to your vet whenever uncertain, if having doubts or when no improvement is seen in the condition of the cat.
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The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Bladder Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
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Causes Of Bladder Stones In Cats
There are several types of stones that may form in a cats bladder, and these may form for a variety of reasons.
While there are at least four types of bladder stones a cat could develop, a majority of cases are caused by only two types. One is called magnesium ammonium phosphate, or struvite. The other is called calcium oxalate. They can both have different causes.
Patients Can Enter Clinical Trials Before During Or After Starting Their Cancer Treatment
Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials supported by NCI can be found on NCIs clinical trials search webpage. Clinical trials supported by other organizations can be found on the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
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Rhabdomyosarcoma Of The Urinary Bladder In Cats
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a very rare metastasizing , and malignant type of tumor. It may derive from stem cells, or originate in the striated muscle that surrounds the developing Müllerian or Wolffian ducts. Müllerian ducts begin as two ducts in the female embryo, developing into the vagina, uterus and oviducts, while Wolffian ducts begin in the male embryo, developing into the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles through the penis .
Rhabdomyosarcoma of the urinary bladder may be reported as botryoid rhabdomyosarcomas due to their tendency to take on the appearance of grape clusters. They often spread to the internal organs and lymph nodes.
How Do You Get Rid Of Bladder Stones
The most expedient method is surgical removal of the stones. This method is required for calcium oxalate stones. Struvite stones can sometimes be dissolved using a specific prescription diet, though this often takes 1-2 months.
Other methods of resolving stones are less commonly employed. Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses either shockwaves or a laser to break down stones after which they may be removed by an endoscope or allowed to pass on their own. My own kitty was treated with shockwave lithotripsy while I was in veterinary school to break up his single bladder stone, allowing him to pass the smaller pieces. This method can be successful, but the equipment is usually only found at universities or specialty hospitals and is not used by most general practitioners.
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How Is Treatment Administered
Chemotherapy is administered through an intravenous catheter. Blood work is first performed to be certain that the patient has adequate white blood cells and platelets before administration of chemotherapy. Seven to ten days after treatment a monitoring CBC is required. Treatments are administered at 21 day intervals and typically 5-6 treatments are performed. Length of treatment depends on the response and how the patient is tolerating the chemotherapy. Piroxicam is an oral medication given at home daily to every other day. If chemotherapy and piroxicam are not effective, radiation therapy can be considered.
In cases where the ureters become obstructed and start to damage the kidneys, special procedures can be utilized to place a stent to re-establish the opening of the ureter into the bladder. These procedures are considered palliative and can improve the patients quality of life. In a recently published study dogs with malignant urethral obstructions underwent stenting procedures and in 7 of the 12 dogs evaluated, the outcome was good to excellent.
Bladder Cancer In Cats
Fortunately, this type of tumor is very rare in cats. However, if a cat shows symptoms of a major UTI without resolution after treatment, it would be important to do additional tests to rule out cancer. The symptoms are very similar.
Male cats and those that are obese are more at risk of developing this kind of cancer.
It is known that between 50% and 70% of bladder tumors in cats are described as transitional cell carcinomas, referring to the cells that line the inner wall of the bladder.
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The Following Stages Are Used For Bladder Cancer:
In stage 0, abnormalcells are found in tissue lining the inside of the bladder. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is divided into stages 0a and 0is, depending on the type of the tumor:
- Stage 0a is also called noninvasive papillary carcinoma, which may look like long, thin growths growing from the lining of the bladder.
- Stage 0is is also called carcinoma in situ, which is a flat tumor on the tissue lining the inside of the bladder.
Stage III is divided into stages IIIA and IIIB.
- In stage IIIA:
- cancer has spread from the bladder to the layer of fat surrounding the bladder and may have spread to the reproductive organs and cancer has not spread to lymph nodes or
- cancer has spread from the bladder to one lymph node in the pelvis that is not near the common iliac arteries .
Stage IV is divided into stages IVA and IVB.
- In stage IVA:
- cancer has spread from the bladder to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis or
- cancer has spread to lymph nodes that are above the common iliac arteries .
What Are Bladder Stones In Cats
A bladder stone is essentially a hard rock of crystalline mineral, often roughly spherical or oval in shape, that can form in the bladder of a cat. People, dogs, and other animals can get bladder stones too.
When one or more bladder stones form, they sometimes cause irritation of the bladder wall, leading to signs of frequent urinating, urinary straining, inappropriate urination in the house, and blood in the urine. However, sometimes a kitty may have no noticeable signs at all.
The signs that may accompany bladder stones in cats are not exclusive. They can also be seen with urinary tract infections, a condition called idiopathic cystitis, and even behavioral causes.
These conditions that share these symptoms are grouped into a syndrome called feline lower urinary tract disease .
The biggest risk of a cat having one or more bladder stones is that they can cause a life-threatening blockage of the urinary tract.
Because a cat who develops signs of frequent urination, straining, or blood in the urine could be afflicted with any of the conditions under the umbrella of FLUTD, and a risk of a life-threatening urethral obstruction is always a possibility, any kitty developing these signs should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
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What Supportive Care Is Recommended
Patients with TCC are at higher risk for urinary tract infections. Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose an infection because one of the indicators of a non-cancer patient with a urinary tract infection can be blood in the urine. In the case of the bladder tumor patient, blood in the urine is not necessarily an indicator of infection. Cystocentesis to obtain a sterile urine sample is contraindicated due to risk of tumor seeding, therefore we often have to rely on a free catch sample. Interpretation of free catch samples can be difficult due to bacterial contamination. However, if patients appear to be straining more or develop an odor to the urine, they should be treated for infection.
Patients may benefit from supplementation of cranberry, which is believed to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infection. In a study in humans , cranberry products inhibited the adherence of bacteria to bladder and vaginal epithelial cells. Therefore, there is scientific evidence to support these supplements as a means to decrease infection rates. Specific products and dosages can be discussed with our doctors.
How Bladder Cancer Is Diagnosed
Urinary Bladder cancer in cats is diagnosed in a few distinct ways. Usually, it is discovered after pet owners mention their cats have been acting quite unusually. At that point, the cats are taken in to see their veterinarians, and the vets perform a variety of tests to figure out the cause of the cat’s change in behavior.
Odd behavior is one of many clinical signs of a cat with bladder cancer. Vets have other clinical signs that they keep an eye out for. Still, to receive a definitive diagnosis, veterinarians must conduct specific tests that accurately pinpoint bladder cancer as the culprit.
To fully understand the cause of your pet’s discomfort, blood work must be done, as well as an X-ray and sometimes even a CT scan to top it all off. The medical professionals trained in understanding cat behavior will likely perform urine tests as well because it’s essential that they determine whether the circumstances are the result of urinary bladder cancer or a urinary tract infection. Symptoms can manifest very similarly for these two very different situations, so diagnosing cats is a test-intensive process.
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