Symptoms of Feline Nose Cancer
Feline nose cancer isn't a frequent condition in cats but is more common in larger breeds than in smaller ones and is in males more than in females. But what are the symptoms to watch for and what can be done if the cat is diagnosed with the condition?
Nose cancer in cats is properly called nasal adenocarcinoma and is where too many cells in the cat's nasal and sinus passages come together. So far, experts are divided in their option as to whether the disease can be more effectively treated when caught early and dealt with aggressively.
Conditions include a number of symptoms common in colds and flu viruses. These include sneezing, a mucus-like discharge from their nose and pain in the nose. The cat can also lose its appetite and lead to weight loss. More severe symptoms include seizures, the shape of their face being altered and obstructive masses within the cat's nose.
While the exact cause of the cancer is unknown, one possible cause is a pollution filled environment.
Diagnosis & Treatment
There are various tools used to diagnose nose cancer including using a microscopic camera into the nose, called a rhinoscopy, to check out the nasal cavity. This might not be possible if there is a lot of blood or a growth obstructing the passage. Tissue samples may also be taken for a definitive diagnosis while bacterial cultures may also be used. Lymph node samples are also used to see if the cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body.
Removing any tumor is often the first step but isn't the only type of treatment needed. Radiation therapy is often used alongside the surgery while sometimes chemotherapy is used in its place. If the condition is not treated, the survival period is 3-5 months. Survival rates increase to 20-49% after treatment within the first two years.
Another condition closely linked with nose cancer is called squamous cell carcinomas of the nose and the sinuses. This type of cancer occurs in the paranasal sinuses, the hollow space between the skull bones that connect with the nose and add moisture to the air that the cat breathes. Both the areas are covered with a layer of tissue called epithelium and this is where the cancer can grow.
This type of cancer grows over a period of months at a slow rate and can spread to the brain, causing seizures. Symptoms include a runny nose for a long period of time, occasionally bloody as well as excessive tears and a lot of sneezing. They may also experience a loss of appetite, bad breath and bulging eyes, while their nose may look deformed.
Diagnosis is similar to nose cancer and treatment follows a similar path, using a combination of surgery and either radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Afterwards, fungal infections are a common side effect of the procedures and drugs are normally prescribed to deal with this. After treatment, the condition can return, typically within the first year.