Uterine Tumors in Cats

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Key takeaways

Uterine tumors in cats refer to a group of abnormal growths arising from skin, muscle, or gland cells within the uterus.

  • Uterine tumors are rare in cats as the majority of cats are spayed
  • These tumors are often malignant but metastasis is uncommon
  • Symptoms include abdominal distension, vaginal discharge, and vomiting
  • Diagnosis involves a physical examination, blood work, diagnostic imaging, and biopsy
  • Treatment primarily involves surgical removal of the uterus
  • Treatment can also include chemotherapy and radiation in cases of metastasis or where surgery is not possible
  • In cases of surgical excision, prognosis is favorable when metastasis is not present
  • If metastasis is present, prognosis is guarded.
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A closer look: Uterine Tumors in Cats


Uterine adenocarcinoma is the most common type of uterine tumor in cats. It arises from glandular cells in the uterine lining.

Uterine tumors are rare in cats. This is true in both North America where the uterus is usually removed during a spay, and in Europe where typically only the ovaries are removed.

Uterine tumors are usually malignant.

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Risk factors


Uterine tumors primarily occur in intact (non-spayed) older female cats. Symptoms can vary depending on the metastatic status of the tumor and the amount of time the tumor has been present.

Uterine infection (pyometra) may develop as a complication and lead to additional symptoms like excessive thirst and urination.

Possible causes


The causes of uterine tumors are not currently known, but they are more common in unspayed, older cats. As with all forms of cancer, genetic and environmental factors are suspected.

Main symptoms


The symptoms increase in severity over time.

Testing and diagnosis


After a physical examination and medical history, a number of tests can be done to determine the type of tumor and stage it:

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Blood work
  • Biopsies

Steps to Recovery


Treatment is primarily surgical removal of the uterus. In cases where this is not possible or where metastasis has occurred, chemotherapy and radiation can be used to reduce spread and size of the tumor.

If the tumor is benign or has not metastasized (spread) prior to surgical removal, the prognosis is good. In cases where metastatic disease is present, prognosis is guarded to poor.

Prevention


Spaying cats is the main method to prevent uterine cancers. Maintaining overall health and staying aware of changes may allow any potential tumors to be identified in earlier stages of growth.

Uterine tumors are not contagious.

Is Uterine Tumors in Cats common?


Uterine tumors are rare in cats.

Typical Treatment


  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Palliative care

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