Cats and the big C

By Connie Orcutt • Published: February 1st, 2014
Category: Animal Airwaves

Lymphosarcoma, or LSA, is a common malignant tumor in cats. This cancer involves lymphocytes, which are immune cells that traverse the body. Their meandering route means that LSA affects a cat’s entire system, even if the cancer is initially found at only one site.

Infection with either feline leukemia virus or feline AIDS virus increases the risk of LSA, but the true cause of this cancer is unknown.

Signs of LSA depend on the organ or organs involved. Young cats most often develop chest tumors, which can cause labored breathing or vomiting. Older cats more commonly develop intestinal LSA that can result in weight loss, diarrhea or vomiting.

Fortunately, LSA is quite responsive to chemotherapy, which cats tolerate relatively well. While survival times are unpredictable, cats receiving chemotherapy for LSA can live up to nine months or longer.