Osteosarcoma in cats is a malignant tumor that forms mostly on the knee, hip, and shoulder bones. In cats, osteosarcoma can be aggressive and tumors can develop rapidly. Osteosarcoma is common in cats that are older than 10 years of age. If caught during the early stages, these cancerous tumors can be treatable with the right treatment options, medications and diet.
Cats diagnosed with osteosarcoma have developed the tumors deep within the bones, which eventually enlarge to cover the top of the bone. Once the tumor reaches the top of the bone, cats can feel a great deal of pain, stiffness and discomfort in their joints when walking or running.
Diagnosing cats with osteosarcoma is relatively effortless for veterinarians to detect because it is a common condition. Tests and X-rays are administered until a tumor is detected. Biopsies confirm whether or not the tumor is benign or malignant. Malignant tumors that show up in one place in the body, may eventually spread to other parts. The veterinarian must also check to see if the tumor has spread to other joints and most importantly, to organs such as the liver or lungs.
Treating osteosarcoma in cats can be done through a variety of methods. Depending on the severity of the tumor and the age and health of the feline, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can treat osteosarcoma in cats. Chemotherapy is used as the last resort if the cancer has spread to the cat’s vital organs. Chemotherapy and radiation should be avoided if the tumors can be removed surgically.
Removing the tumors by surgery can be most effective because felines can adapt easily with an amputated limb. Amputation can be avoided if a donor tissue can be inserted of the same feline species. After treatment, cats are usually placed on medication to relieve the pain and fight nausea after chemotherapy.
Fortunately, cats are resilient and are able to adapt and to tolerate rigorous treatment options. Cats diagnosed with osteosarcoma have a 20%-50% survival rate for 1-2 years. After treatment, owners are encouraged to put cats on a raw meat diet consisting of raw chicken, liver, and heart of the same animal because they are packed with essential vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin D that promote a speedy recovery and strengthens bones.
It is important to understand that cancerous tumors in cats don't necessarily mean death. Through treatment options, medications, and diet, cats can recover and lead normal, active lives even if a limb is amputated. If the cat is over 10 years of age, the average survival rate decreases to no more than 6 months as the cat is simply showing signs of coming to the end of his or her life. As a cat recovers for osteosarcoma, it is important to keep them in a comfortable environment with the best care and attention that he or she can receive.