Feline lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes which is often diagnosed in cats with feline leukemia virus (FeLV), but may also appear in cats who do not have FeLV. The virus makes cats more prone to developing this type of cancer. The enlarged lymph nodes are most often found in the chest and abdomen, but may also be located under the lower jaw, in front of the shoulder blades, behind the knees, and in the groin. Affected cats may show no interest in food, lose weight. He may drink more than usual. His abdomen may appear swollen and may be tender. He may vomit and have bouts of recurring diarrhea. They may also cough and have difficulty swallowing. The eyes may appear cloudy and skin may be scaly.
Lymphosarcoma metastasizes, which means it spreads to other areas of the body, such as chest, gastrointestinal tract, skin, eyes, and central nervous system. Your cat's symptoms will greatly depend on which lymph nodes the cancer is in and to what part of the body the cancer has spread. You should take your cat to the vet, who will take blood samples and perform a tissue biopsy to determine whether lymphosarcoma is present. If it is, and if the cancer is limited to specific external lymph nodes, those nodes will be removed. If the cancer has spread, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments will be needed to help slow down the disease.
In cats, lymphosarcoma is considered potentially curable with chemotherapy. If your cat goes into and remains in remission for 8 months, the chances are good that he will go on to live 4 or more cancer-free years. At home, you can keep your cat's immune system strong by providing him with vitamins A, C, E, dimethylglycine, and beta-carotine. Fresh aloe vera juice containing the antiviral agent acemanin may also be recommended. Although lymphosarcoma cannot be prevented, having your cat tested and vaccinated against FeLV will lower the risk of your cat developing cancer. Should your cat develop lymphosarcoma, his life may be saved if the cancer is caught and treated in its early stage.