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Article and images reproduced from the Hill's Client Information Series and the Hill's Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy with permission by Hill's Pet Products
Lymphosarcoma is a cancer of your pet's lymphatic system. The signs you see and the treatment your veterinarian prescribes depend on where the tumors are located. Anemia, weight loss, appetite loss, and organ failure are commonly seen. The lymphatic system is a network of capillaries and vessels that filter and return fluids picked up in the body to the blood stream. Lymphoid tissue is present in most tissues, including the spleen and bone marrow. The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system, as are the lymph nodes, which are found throughout the body.Click here to see Normal Lymph Node ArchitectureLymphosarcoma is cancer of the lymphatic tissue. It is associated with the feline leukemia virus complex, which is estimated to affect from 2 to 15% or the cat population. The diseases caused by the feline leukemia virus include tumors and suppression of the immune system, leading to secondary infections and diseases. About 30% of all tumors in cats are lymphosarcomas.although lymphosarcoma may occur in any organ, it occurs with greatest frequency in the spleen, liver, and lymph nodes; chest; and digestive tract. Leukemia, which is a malignant disease of the blood-forming organs characterized by cancerous cells in the bone marrow and blood stream, occurs in about 30% of cats with lymphosarcoma.CausesLymphosarcoma is caused by the feline leukemia virus. This virus is contagious among cats and transmitted via the saliva.DiagnosisYour veterinarian may need to perform several tests to establish a diagnosis, determine which organs are affected, and monitor response to therapy. Some tumors of superficial lymph nodes (those underneath the skin) and those in the abdomen can be felt, as can an enlarged spleen, liver, and, sometimes, intestinal tract. Tumors of the tonsils can be found during an oral exam. Altered chest sounds may provide a clue to chest tumors. Blood tests, urinalyses, x-rays of the chest and abdomen, ultrasound, a bone marrow evaluation, and a biopsy of enlarged organs are all very useful procedures. Examining biopsy specimens with the aid of a microscope or finding abnormal cells in the blood or bone marrow can confirm the diagnosis. The feline leukemia test provides a very useful clue.Treatment and Home CareFeline lymphosarcoma is not curable, but therapy can reduce the severity of clinical signs and add quality time to your pet's life. Most lymphosarcomas are managed with chemotherapy.Diminished clinical signs (remission) occur in more than 50% of cats given chemotherapy. Life expectancy depends on how advanced the disease is at the time of diagnosis. Many cats live at least six months from the time treatment is begun.Your veterinarian will need to treat other problems caused by lymphosarcoma and immune system suppression such as chronic abscesses, pneumonia, and oral ulcers.Home care consists of giving all prescribed medications, coaxing your pet to eat, and watching for the recurrence of clinical signs. Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments and lab tests to monitor your pet's progress.Vaccination may help prevent feline leukemia. Vaccination will not help if your cat already has lymphosarcoma. But it can help prevent the disease in other cats you may have, provided they haven't already been exposed.Dietary PlanIf your cat has lymphosarcoma, your veterinarian may recommend a dietary change based on pet's age and body condition, the clinical signs, the treatment protocol, and the organs and body systems principally affected by the tumor tissue. Many debilitated and anemic patients benefit from foods with increased levels of protein and energy to help correct nutrient deficiencies and replenish body stores. Such foods include Hill's© Prescription Diet © Feline p/d©.If your pet has kidney failure as a complication of lymphosarcoma, your veterinarian may recommend a dietary product with reduced levels of protein, phosphorus, and sodium. Such foods include Hill's© Prescription Diet© Feline k/d©. Foods with these nutritional characteristics reduce wastes that build up in the blood stream of kidney failure patients and aid in the control of high blood pressure, a frequent complication of kidney failure.
I am so sorry for your loss...you did everything you could...and pancreatitis is a deadly disease.
My prayers are with you and your family.