Lymphoblastosis in Cats
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Lymphoblastosis in Cats

Cats
Health & Safety

Lymphoblastosis is a form of lymphoma cancer that flares up in a cat's lymphocyte cells. These are a type of white blood cell and they play a key role in keeping the immune system strong and healthy which in turn means cats can fight off sickness and diseases more easily. When cats develop lymphoblastosis, it can seriously impact their health and wellbeing causing other health issues like hypercalcaemia.

Symptoms and Different Types

There are two types of lymphocytes which are referred to as B and T cells and either can be involved whether in a cat's bone marrow, their lymph nodes or in their internal organs when they suffer from the condition. As such, symptoms of there being something wrong can vary quite a lot depending on the type of tumour that's involved and where it has developed on a cat’s body. The various types of lymphoma therefore are as follows:

Mediastinal Form - symptoms could include:

  • Open mouth breathing
  • Coughing
  • A lack of appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss

Alimentary form - symptoms could include;

  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Faeces contain blood

Multicentric form - symptoms could include:

  • Lymph nodes are swollen
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

Solitary form - symptoms depend on location of tumour

  • Renal Form - symptoms could include:
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Increased urination - polyuria
  • Increased thirst - polydipsia

The Causes

Studies have suggested that this type of cancer is closely associated with cats being exposed to other serious feline disorders which includes the following:

  • Feline leukemia virus - FeLV
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus - FIV

Diagnosing the Condition

A vet would need to know a cat's full medical history and their ancestry too. They would also need to be told how the onset of any symptoms first manifested themselves which would help confirm a diagnosis. The vet would carry out a full examination of a cat suspected of suffering from the condition and would typically recommend doing the following tests:

  • A complete blood count
  • A biochemistry profile
  • A urinalysis
  • A bone marrow biopsy
  • X-rays

Blood tests would establish if a cat is suffering from anaemia and if their levels of lymphoblasts are abnormally high which would confirm they are suffering from lymphoblastosis. Lymphoblasts are what are known as immature cells"" that are found in a cat's bone marrow and if their levels get too high, they end up in a cat's peripheral blood causing all the damage.

Treatment Options

Sadly, once a cat has been diagnosed with the condition, there is no cure available and a vet would want to ""manage"" their condition so that it does not seriously and negatively impact the quality of a cat's life. In some cases, a vet might recommend chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but only after they have been examined by a qualified veterinary oncologist who would have given the go ahead for a cat to undergo the procedures.

Prognosis

Unfortunately, the prognosis is never very good for cats when they have been diagnosed as suffering from lymphoblastosis with their survival time being anything from a few months to a couple of years, but it really does depend on how a cat has responded to any treatment a vet might have recommended. The main aim of any treatment, as previously mentioned, is to make like comfortable for a cat for as long as possible.

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