How to detect osteosarcoma or bone cancer in your cat and how to care for them if they are diagnosed with the same.
Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is found in both dogs and cats. It is a malignant tumor that produces abnormal bone cells. The disease may metastasize to the lungs, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
According to petmd.com, osteosarcoma in cats is less aggressive than that in dogs. In only 5% to 10% of cases, metastasizing occurs.
The cause of this disease is not fully understood, but researchers believe that it may be a combination of genetic factors and external influences such as radiation exposure or trauma.
Signs of Osteosarcoma
Signs of osteosarcoma in cats can include weight loss, lethargy, breathing trouble, loss of appetite, persistent lameness, or stiffness in a limb. It might also manifest as a swelling or lump on the leg below the knee or elbow.
Weight loss is one of the most common symptoms of osteosarcoma. If your cat has osteosarcoma, he may not be able to eat because of pain or nausea.
If this is the case, you'll need to provide easy-to-eat cat food that doesn't require chewing. Consult your vet to understand the dietary needs of your cat at this stage.
Treatments for Osteosarcoma
If your cat has been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, there are certain steps you can take to make their lives less painful and easier. You can start by ordering pet meds online for effective pain management.
Pain should be managed using antibiotics for cats for all stages of Osteosarcoma or OSA. Gabapentin is one of the pet medications for cats that are used to control the pain caused due to the presence of cancer in the bone. There are many prescription meds for cat arthritis and pain that may be useful for this purpose.
Other pain medications prescribed for OSA include buprenorphine and amantadine. Strictly speaking, Amantadine started as a drug for horses. Nowadays, prescribing amantadine for dogs and cats for pain management is common.
Vets also prescribe NSAIDs which are Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs. These include Robenacoxib or meloxicam. Meloxicam for dogs is a pain medication of the NSAID group that is currently not suggested for oral consumption by cats, as per label info. Sometimes, vets do prescribe this medicine for cats.
Oral meloxicam is prescribed for short-term use in feline patients, too, in an off-label fashion. Do check with your vet before exploring NSAIDs under any circumstances.
Amputation of the affected limb
This is a common procedure for removing tumors in cats. It involves surgically removing the entire limb or sections of it, depending on how far the cancer has spread.
In the case of amputation, the patients can live longer. In certain cases, cats have lived over 4 years.
After amputation, your cat will need about 4 weeks of complete rest. Cage rest is recommended, so invest in quality cat furniture to prevent undue movement for your pet.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors by damaging their DNA structure. The radiation may be delivered externally through beams or internally through radioactive pellets placed directly into or near your pet's tumor site.
If your cat is undergoing radiation therapy, it will need special care. You will need help from your vet in understanding how to manage their waste and administer medications. Using a dust-free cat litter box, where you can scoop away cat litter, might be recommended, as dust can infect the surgery site.
Chemotherapy drugs work by interfering with normal cell growth by blocking certain enzymes needed by cells so they cannot grow properly. This also inhibits healthy cell growth as well because many processes require these enzymes too. Hence chemo may not be recommended at all.
In the United States, there are over 45 million households with cats, according to the latest APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Do not despair if your feline friend gets diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Get in touch with pet parents with similar issues to get additional support in these difficult times.