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Bone Tumor in Cats

 Submitted by Michael Adams on April 19, 2010

Bone cancer is one of the many cancers that can develop in dogs and cats. Fortunately, cat bone cancer is very rare, and even when it does occur, it is usually not as likely to metastatize as it is in dogs. Bone marrow cancer in cats is a lot more common.

Still, the condition is known to occur, so it is important to be aware of its signs and symptoms, as well as what measures, if any, can be taken to prevent it or at least reduce the risk of it occurring. Bone cancer progresses very rapidly, and early detection and treatment is therefore essential.

Osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone tumor, can develop in any bone of a cat’s body, but in most cases, it affects the limbs, particularly the hind limbs.

The cancer tends to develop in older cats, usually after the age of 8, but it is possible for a cat to develop bone cancer at any age. Cats as young as 1 year are known to have developed bone cancer. The typical sign of bone cancer in cats is a limp when the cat walks. Depending on the location of the tumor, some deformity may also be noticed. However, if bones other than the limbs are affected, the signs of cancer may not always be so clear. In cases where the cancer is in the spine, the cat may display neurological symptoms. Cancer in other bones may have different symptoms, but as mentioned earlier, such tumors are rare in cats.

For bone cancer in cats, the recommended course of action is usually amputation of the affected limb. This might seem like a terrible loss to us, but most animals deal with such a loss quite well. The psychological and social implications of amputation are of course non existent to cats, and within no time, the animal will be practically back to normal. Cats that have lost a limb will soon be seen running, playing, and even jumping almost normally. The most important thing is to get rid of the cancer, and in cats, since bone cancer is slow to metastatize, amputation is usually highly successful. However, in case amputation is necessary, you should remember that being overweight and generally unfit will slow down your cat’s recovery. In some cases, radiation therapy is also recommended, and this is something that you will need to look into with the help of your veterinarian.

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