What is feline osteosarcoma?
Osteosarcoma is a kind of tumor that can affect cats. It is a specific form of bone cancer, and it is very aggressive and the onset can be rapid. It usually happens in old age, averaging at around 10 years, but they can get it as young as a few years old.
Osteosarcoma in cats, however, is much less dangerous than its counterpart in dogs. The reason is that it has less metastasis, which is basically when tumor cells break away, spread through the bloodstream, and start new tumors somewhere else. The upshot of this is that a cat is much more likely to survive, and there are lower rates of remission for cats. It's still a dangerous disease, however. The prognosis can still be very bad for a cat.
It is treated with radiation therapy in most cases rather than chemotherapy, but different cats may require different treatments. Depending on where the tumor is located, amputation may be the best option, especially if it is localized in one of the legs. However, one of the more common sites is in the skull, and surgery may not be an option then. Your cat does not necessarily need to be put down. While bone tumors can be very painful, if treatment is successful the cat can live a satisfying and happy life with pain medication. If you make that decision and the cat survives, however, you should make sure the cat is tested often and on a regular basis. If the cancer spreads to other organs besides the bones, it can become much more painful and it may be kinder to put the pet to sleep.
How Long Will My Cat Live After Getting Osteosarcoma?
Bone tumors in cats do not mean instant death. With treatment, your cat can still live for quite some time. If the tumor site can be amputated, most cats survive for one to two years on average. If surgery is not possible, the average survival time is reported to be closer to six months. However, it's important to remember that because the average cat getting osteosarcoma is very old, this is actually quite a good prognosis - they are usually starting to wind down their lives already by the time they get bone cancer. The most important thing is to make sure your pet lives out the rest of its life in comfort and happiness. Cats with amputated limbs are still able to play, lounge around, and generally enjoy themselves, and they will still be able to provide you with companionship.
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