Diagnosing Cancer in Cats
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
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