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Diagnosing Cancer in Cats

Diagnosing Cancers

Clearly, one of the first diagnostic steps for any cat suspected of having cancer is to run a combination FeLV and FIV blood test. A cancer associated with an immune-suppressing virus presents special challenges in treatment. A blood panel might show an increase in calcium-which is seen in some cancers. A urinalysis might indicate protein loss. Those are relatively easy tests to do, require no anesthesia, and can be done at most veterinary clinics.

X-rays are often the next step. An X-ray may show changes in bones or the spread of a cancer. Ultrasound is helpful for identifying soft tissue growths. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans are imaging techniques that will only be found at large veterinary referral centers.

A fine needle aspirate or biopsy may be done to take a sample of the growth for analysis. This may not only identify a cancer but also give an idea of the stage and prognosis. Once the type of cancer is known, a treatment plan can be developed.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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