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Stomach Cancer in Cats

Stomach Cancer in Cats

Learn about the different forms of stomach cancer in cats and their typical symptoms from our veterinarians at Lebanon. They will offer valuable information on treatments and other related topics.

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer in Cats

It can be difficult to diagnose stomach cancer in cats, which is often referred to as a 'silent killer,' due to its vague symptoms. However, identifying these signs could make a significant difference in your cat's lifespan.

Below are the most common indicators of stomach cancer in cats:

  • Weight loss 
  • Lethargy 
  • Vomiting, often mixed with blood

Additional symptoms include:

  • Dehydration 
  • Pain or tenderness in the abdominal area 
  • Anemia (caused by blood loss)
  • Hiding for prolonged periods to mask symptoms or avoid contact 
  • Tarry, black stools (Caused by digested blood)
  • Loss of interest in food
  • Masses that are easily felt

Is stomach cancer in cats painful?

If your cat has cancer, they may experience pain that can lead to changes in behavior like withdrawal, tension, and discomfort. It may also cause them to become less active and hesitant to move or go for walks. Sadly, different types of cancer and treatments can cause pain in your pet, which can significantly impact their overall well-being.

If your cat is diagnosed with stomach cancer, your veterinarian may take a proactive approach to manage pain in advance. They may prescribe medications to prevent pain before it occurs, ensuring your cat has a more comfortable life.

Types of Stomach Cancer in Cats

Detecting early signs of cancer in cats can be challenging, and unfortunately, the symptoms tend to worsen gradually over weeks or even months, causing noticeable discomfort to your feline friend. However, stomach cancer is less frequently diagnosed in cats compared to other types of cancer. Here are three stomach cancer types that cats may develop:


This cancer grows in glandular tissues and spreads to organs like the small intestines, stomach, and large colon. When it reaches these organs, the cells start multiplying and form gastric tumors.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cells, naturally present in the lining of your cat's digestive tract, play a crucial role in its immune system. Unfortunately, these cells can occasionally develop tumors or clusters and behave strangely. This abnormal behavior leads to the release of excessive chemicals into your cat's body, causing significant harm such as intestinal ulcers and stomach cancers.


Adenocarcinoma spreading to the lymph nodes is a common cause of this type of cancer.

Getting a Diagnosis 

Your veterinarian may employ various diagnostic techniques to identify if your cat's symptoms are due to stomach cancer. Initially, they will inquire about the symptoms you have observed in your feline companion and subsequently conduct one or more of the mentioned procedures depending on the details you provide.

Abdominal Ultrasound or Radiograph

Discovering abnormalities in the organ is possible with these tests, but confirming a cancer diagnosis usually requires a more thorough examination.

Blood Panel

The veterinarian will usually want to run a blood panel to look for elevated white blood count levels and other abnormalities. 


This procedure involves putting your cat under anesthesia so an endoscope can be passed down into the stomach to see its interior and collect a sample of suspicious cells for biopsy. 

Exploratory Surgery 

This is generally the most effective way to see and if possible remove malignant masses and cells. 

Treatment for Stomach Cancer in Cats

If your feline is diagnosed with stomach cancer, additional tests may be necessary to determine the severity of the condition and identify the most appropriate treatment options. Surgery is typically recommended to remove the affected tissue and treat cancer in cats. However, the success of surgical treatment is contingent on whether the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body. Cancer cells may travel through the body via lymph nodes and settle in various areas, making certain types of cancer in cats difficult to treat effectively.

We work alongside your primary care veterinarian to ensure that your cat receives the best possible care and achieves optimal treatment results based on their individual circumstances. We also provide support to pet parents and families. We thoroughly examine your pet's medical history and diagnosis, and then we sit down with you to explain the disease, its stage, any additional tests required, available treatment options, potential side effects, and prognosis.

Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapies, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, or palliative care as deemed appropriate for your cat's situation.

Survival rates for stomach cancer in cats are difficult to determine due to various unique factors and individual circumstances in each case. The disease often reoccurs months or years after successful treatment. That's why most cats who undergo cancer surgery receive a cautious prognosis. In many instances, surgical treatment can extend the life of an affected cat by 12-14 months.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat displaying symptoms of stomach cancer or another illness? Consult your vet for a recommendation to visit our board-certified veterinarians at Cumberland Animal Hospital in Lebanon. Reach out to us now for additional details.

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Cumberland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lebanon companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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