What You Should Know About Liver Cancer in Cats 2023

Man cuddling his cat.

One of the most common concerns a pet parent has is when their companion becomes sick. Receiving any diagnosis can be difficult, and cancer can be especially challenging. And if your cat has been diagnosed with liver cancer (or a liver tumor), I’m sure you have many questions, which is normal! 

Here at Zumalka, we are a group of concerned pet lovers and pet advocates, just like you! We are committed to using our decades of knowledge and experience in the pet health industry to help thousands of pet parents around the world navigate their pet’s health concerns. 

We’ve written this article to answer some common questions you might have about feline liver cancer, such as its symptoms, the difference between benign tumors and malignant tumors, how the disease affects liver function, as well as treatment options.

Moreover, we are also going to walk you through the life expectancy of cats affected with this serious health problem and the more natural support options available you can go for as compared to conventional ones like surgical removal. 

 

What is Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in Cats?

Ginger tabby cat.Liver cancer is a type of cancer that attacks the liver cells, liver enzymes as well as the liver tissue. It usually begins as liver tumors in cats, which can either be benign tumors or malignant tumors.

Benign liver tumors in cats typically stay in one place and won't affect other internal organs apart from the entire liver evenly. These types of tumors in cats usually progress into primary cancer.

Alternatively, malignant liver tumor in cats tends to spread or "metastasize" to other places. This is why they're also referred to as metastatic liver tumors.

A complete blood count is often conducted by a veterinary oncologist not just to check for liver tumors, but also for other health concerns related to the same as biliary cystadenomas and bile duct adenomas.

The vet will also discern if there is a poor prognosis and will recommend having the tumor surgically removed if required.

 

The lowdown on feline liver tumors

Cat resting on the flowerpot.There are many types of liver tumors—technically referred to as "hepatic neoplasia"—that affect cats, such as bile duct carcinomas, carcinoids, sarcomas, and myelolipomas. Hepatocellular tumors are the most common types of liver tumors in felines (compared to neuroendocrine tumors, which are quite rare).

It is crucial to take note that whether it's hepatocellular carcinoma or bile duct carcinoma, it will always begin as liver tumors affecting the liver tissue. To give you a more straightforward example, bile duct cancer may result from bile duct tumors and not the other way around.

Thankfully, though, if your cat has a tumor on their liver, it doesn’t always mean cancer! More than half of liver tumors found in cats are benign, meaning they are not cancerous and can’t spread to different parts of the body. 

A cat looking down.While there haven’t been any specific causes found, age is a large risk factor in being diagnosed with this cancer. Liver cancer is most often diagnosed in cats that are older than 9 years old.

This serious health problem should not be ignored in any way since it can potentially lead to life-threatening internal bleeding and other complications if not given immediate and proper attention.

Additionally, determining the presence of liver tumors often involves blood tests, a thorough physical exam, an abdominal ultrasound or abdominal palpation, diagnostic imaging (usually via magnetic resonance imaging or MRI), as well as needle biopsy.

 

What is a primary liver tumor?

A cat sitting.Primary liver tumors in cats are those that originally began as liver tumors and did not spread to a different part of the body. At its simplest, a primary tumor originates in one place, such as the liver, and will remain in such despite developing and growing in size among affected cats.

A common primary liver tumor is not deemed as a metastatic disease because it won't spread to the respiratory system, the lymph nodes, and the gastrointestinal tract, among others. Just to emphasize, primary liver tumors will just stay in the cat's liver.

Primary liver cancer usually stems from primary liver tumors.

 

How are primary tumors different from metastatic tumors?

Closeup photo of a persian cat.Compared to their primary counterparts, metastatic tumors in cats are those that will move or spread to other organs. In the context of liver tumors, they won't just affect liver tissue but are highly likely to "wander" to different parts of the body.

A metastatic tumor is also called a "malignant tumor."

Apart from liver damage and disrupting multiple liver lobes, metastatic tumors in cats can also lead to several other tumor-related complications. These include bile duct obstruction as well as damage to the large blood vessels in the neighboring areas like the kidneys and pancreas.

Unlike primary tumors, their metastatic counterparts can progress into metastatic cancer. This is also true with metastatic hepatocellular carcinomas. As we've highlighted earlier, determining these in terms of accurate diagnosis will require the conduct of procedures like abdominal ultrasound, abdominal radiographs as well and computed tomography.

 

What are the Clinical Signs of Liver Cancer in Cats?

Cat sleeping on the bed.Unfortunately, liver cancer in felines often doesn’t have specific symptoms. Many don’t show any signs of a cat's liver being affected by cancer. Here are some things you can be on the lookout for in your pet:

  • Lethargy and lack of energy

  • Weight loss and decreased appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Frequent urination and excessive thirst

  • Jaundice (yellow coloring in eyes, gums, and inner ear)

The earlier you can recognize the signs of cancer and get it diagnosed, the better for your cat! While these symptoms don’t always mean liver cancer, if you notice something off about your pet, make sure to get them checked out so you can be sure. 

You are probably wondering, “Does liver cancer cause pain in cats?” Each situation is different. In most cases, the cancer is found before they have any severe symptoms. But as the cancer advances without treatment, it can cause pain and discomfort in your cat. 

 

Life Expectancy of Cats That Have Liver Cancer

Closer photo of a cat.The life expectancy of a cat diagnosed with liver cancer depends a lot on their specific circumstances, the size of the tumor, and how much it has progressed. Generally speaking, though, adenomas and carcinomas often have a positive prognosis, with most cats living years after a diagnosis and few experiencing metastases, or the cancer moving to other areas. 

Tumors such as sarcomas and carcinoids have often already spread by the time they are diagnosed, which means they have a shorter life expectancy and poorer outlook. Surgical removal may also be required in these circumstances, especially in the case of massive tumors in cats that have already disrupted other parts of the body like the bile ducts.

 

Treatment Options for Liver Cancer in Felines

White cat sleeping.Depending on your cat’s specific circumstances, the treatment most commonly suggested by vets is to remove the tumor in surgery. But there are natural options available too that can be used along with conventional treatment, or on their own!

We are excited to tell you about our natural product,PIPTOPET, which has been designed to keep your pet healthy and support your cat who's fighting Cancer! Made from a medical mushroom, this product supports your cat when used before having a tumor and when tumors are already present. 

 

Can Liver Tumors Always Progress into Cancer in Cats?

A gray cat.There are many types of liver tumors (which may eventually progress into cancer) that affect cats, such as bile duct carcinomas, carcinoids, sarcomas, and myelolipomas.

Thankfully, though, if your cat has a tumor on their liver, it doesn’t always mean cancer! More than half of liver tumors found in cats are benign, meaning they are not cancerous and can’t spread to different parts of the body.

Primary liver tumors in feline

What causes liver cancer in cats? While there haven’t been any specific causes found, age is a large risk factor in being diagnosed with this cancer. Feline liver cancer is most often diagnosed in cats that are older than 9 years old. 

 

What Are The Signs Of Liver Cancer in Cats?

Cat looking at the camera.Unfortunately, liver cancer in cats often doesn’t have specific symptoms, and many cats don’t show any signs. Here are some things you can be on the lookout for in your cat:

  • Lethargy and lack of energy

  • Weight loss and lack of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Frequent urination and excessive thirst

  • Jaundice (yellow coloring in eyes, gums, and inner ear)

 The earlier you can recognize the signs of cancer and get it diagnosed, the better for your cat! While these symptoms don’t always mean liver cancer, if you notice something off about your pet, make sure to get them checked out so you can be sure. 

You are probably wondering, “Does liver cancer cause pain in cats?” Each situation is different. In most cases, the cancer is found before they have any severe symptoms. But as the cancer advances without treatment, it can cause pain and discomfort in your cat. 

While some instances of a cat's liver being affected with cancer can require conventional procedures like radiation therapy and surgical removal, these are not the only treatment options that you can go for.

We're going to reiterate a premium natural alternative option that you can use when this serious health problem gets in the picture.

 

Liver Cancer in Cats: Life Expectancy

Cat with a heterochromia.The life expectancy of a cat diagnosed with liver cancer depends a lot on their specific circumstances, the size of the tumor, and how much it has progressed. Generally speaking, though, adenomas and carcinomas often have a positive prognosis, with most cats living years after a diagnosis and few experiencing metastases, or the cancer moving to other areas. 

Tumors such as sarcomas and carcinoids have often already spread by the time they are diagnosed, which means they have a shorter life expectancy and poorer outlook. 

 

Liver Cancer in Cats: A Natural Option You Can Go For

Cat sitting on the floor.As we've previously stressed, depending on your cat’s specific circumstances, the treatment most commonly suggested by vets is to remove the tumor in surgery. But there are natural options available that can be used along with conventional treatment or on their own!

PIPTOPET is designed to help support your cat during cancer by maintaining an ideal overall immune system health. As soon as you notice the clinical signs of liver cancer in felines, PIPTOPETis a no-fuss option that you can include in your home pet care checklist.

While we do recommend reaching out to a vet when it comes to liver cancer in cats, discovering your alternative options (those are not invasive and won't subject your pet to a lot of pain and discomfort) is also a smart strategy.

 

Schedule an online consultation with a pet homeopathy expert right now

Cat playing his scratcherRemember that the experts here at Zumalka are always here for you to help educate about your pet’s health and decide on product options. We’re available through phone, chat, or email to answer any of your questions, or you can schedule an online consultation.

Denise Lessard
Denise Lessard

HOMOEOPATH, NATUROPATH, REFLEXOLOGIST, TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE THERAPIST

Denyse Lessard is deemed as the “mother” of Zumalka, which was established more than ten years ago to provide easily accessible natural products for pet wellness worldwide.

Besides being a trained alternative medicine therapist, Denyse also has expertise in homeopathy, naturopathy and iridology, reflexology, as well as Chinese medicine. She is a long-standing member of the Professional Union of Homeopaths of Quebec, as well as the Association of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists of Quebec.

Denyse’s philosophy as regards pet wellness is not just about only dealing with disease and illness when they get in the picture, but keeping animals in ideal health each and every day.

Find out more about Denyse when you click HERE.

2 Responses

Zumalka
Zumalka

September 29, 2023

Bonjour Mme Krief, nos collègues de Homeoanimo vous répondront sous peu à votre adresse mail personnelle. Bon week-end !

KRIEF CORINNE
KRIEF CORINNE

September 29, 2023

bonjour madame pour avis merci chatte 15 ans tumeur mammaire ulceree qui saigne metastases poumon elle se cache ne mange pas miaule vomit a ce stade ni operation ni chimio risque de dece a court terme asphyxie ? merci madame

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