November 2008 Issue

Combat Feline Cancer

Cat owners can help reduce the occurrence and deadly impact of this serious disease. Here's how.

An estimated two percent of the 80 million or more cats now living in the United States will at some point in their lives develop cancer, a disease marked by the uncontrolled proliferation of cells on or within an animal’s hard and soft body tissues. Thanks to dramatic advances in veterinary medicine, many types of feline cancer are manageable — sometimes even reversible — if the condition is recognized early in its development and the affected cat is treated promptly and appropriately. But any cancer that remains undetected and untreated until it has reached an advanced stage is very likely to prove fatal. The task of diagnosing and treating feline cancer falls, of course, to the expert veterinary oncologist. Owners, however, can play a significant role in spotting a cancerous lesion at its earliest stage of development, when it is most amenable to treatment. Indeed, there are measures that a cat owner can take to prevent certain types of feline cancer or at least to minimize the risk of their occurrence.

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