Cats are unfortunately not spared the scourge of cancer. Several types of cancer can threaten their health and well-being. First of all, my heart is with you if you are accompanying your pussy cat through this ordeal at this time.
In this article, I will describe the two main conventional treatments for cancer in cats, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
They are frequently used in human medicine, but can they help your cat with cancer?
So, here's what you need to know about chemotherapy and radiation therapy in cats, to help you make a decision about treating your cat's cancer.
Chemotherapy in cats
As the name says, chemotherapy is a chemical treatment, which aims to destroy cancer cells. During chemotherapy, strong drugs are given either intravenously or orally as tablets at home.
Side effects of chemotherapy in cats
Side effects are reported less often in cats than in humans. We are talking about less than a quarterof animals that present unpleasant side effects, and they are often brief. Less than 5% of animals present severe side effects.
In most cases, chemotherapy is used with the aim of improving the well-being and quality of life of the sick animal, hoping to have a positive effect on longevity at the same time. They are not necessarily used for curative purposes like in humans.
Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loose stools, and increased susceptibility to secondary infections. Significant hair loss is rare.
How successful is chemotherapy for cats?
This question is difficult to answer, as chemotherapy treatments are often undertaken in animals already older in age, with pre-existing medical conditions. The statistics are therefore difficult to interpret. That said, in some cases cats can live for several years after starting treatment.
In addition, cats are excellent at hiding their pain. Their cancer is therefore very often diagnosed late. Their chemotherapy treatment is therefore often palliative in nature, with the sole aim of slowing the cancer’s progression. Remission is rarely possible in these cases.
So, should you put your cat through chemotherapy? It's up to you to see if your schedule and budget allows you to undertake such a treatment, and if you are willing to take the risk of your pet experiencing side effects.
How much does chemotherapy cost for cats?
Intravenous treatments are more invasive and require your cat to be hospitalized at the vet clinic. The cost of chemotherapy for cats therefore varies from one vet clinic to another, but we are easily talking about several hundreds of dollars.
For oral chemotherapy, the cost will vary greatly depending on the medication used and your pet's weight. Your vet can therefore better answer this question.
What chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer in cats?
Several drugs can be combined to slow the progression of cancer, while aiming for the minimum possible toxicity to the body.
As these drugs are toxic for the body, those who take care of the animal during treatment must be very careful and wear gloves, among other things, when administering the medication and when cleaning the litter box.
Your vet can guide you to the most appropriate medication for your cat. It could be Chlorambucil for example.
Radiotherapy to treat cancer in cats
A second type of classic cancer treatment that is used for cats is radiation therapy, more commonly known as radiotherapy.
As the name suggests, radiation is transmitted in a targeted manner at a tumor in an attempt to destroy it, or to reduce its size when it cannot be completely removed in surgery.
For example, radiotherapy in cats could be used for a tumor in the thyroid.
Each treatment requires the animal to be anesthetized because it must remain completely still. There is now stereotaxic radiotherapy which is much more precise and powerful, and therefore requires less treatment over time.
In cases where remission is unlikely, radiotherapy can be used for palliative care, to maintain the comfort of the cat, and to help control pain and bleeding for example.
Side effects of radiation therapy in cats
The side effects of radiation therapy in cats are rather mild and may be limited to dry and red skin after treatment.
However, since the animal must be anesthetized for the treatments, convalescence following the anesthesia must be considered. The anesthetic risks must also be considered depending on the condition of the animal.
How much does radiotherapy cost for a cat?
Of course, the price of radiation therapy in cats varies wildly, but you can easily budget for a few thousand dollars.
The cost will depend on the size of the tumor, your cat's weight, the number of treatments needed, and the cost of the anesthesia and hospitalization at your vet clinic.
It should also be noted that few regular clinics offer this type of treatment, so it is often necessary to consult a specialist in animal oncology in a referral center.
A natural product for cancer and tumors in cats
PIPTOPET is a natural product made with the medicinal mushroom Piptoporus betulinus as an active ingredient.
In addition to strengthening the immune system of the cat in a remarkable way, it is able to help the body to maintain health even in its fight against cancer cells thanks to its anti-tumor properties.
The body attacks unhealthy cells while leaving healthy cells intact.
It can also be used before or after a diagnostic of cancer. PIPTOPET can be used in addition to chemotherapy treatment.
In summary, if your cat is diagnosed with cancer, that doesn't necessarily mean the end. Surgical removal can be attempted, along with chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment and the use of natural products.
Once again, I’m sorry if you have had to go through this with your pet, and I wish you the greatest of courage in accompanying them in this fight.
What type of cancer does your cat have? Share their story with us in the comments section below!
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN
Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.
She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.
She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.
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