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Neoplasia in Cats

Reviewed by Dr. Celeste Clements, DVM, DACVIM on Monday, July 6, 2015
Posted July 06, 2015 in Cat Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Orange tabby looking into the cameraNeoplasia is the term for various types of abnormal growths caused by the uncontrolled division of cells. These rogue cells, called neoplastic cells, do not behave and are not controlled like normal cells; they may live longer and divide faster. According to Dr. Ananya Mandal, of News Medical, neoplasms can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). The terms neoplasia, tumor and cancer are sometimes used interchangeably and may refer to various types of growths, including non-cancerous or benign tumors.

How do neoplasms arise?
To understand how abnormal cells grow, you have to understand how normal cell growth is regulated. Throughout life, cells are continually being born and dying1. When that process is disrupted, cells behave abnormally and abnormal tissues form.

General types of neoplasia

  • Benign— Benign neoplasms do not invade normal tissue, do not spread to other parts of the body and are rarely fatal unless they put pressure on a vital organ.
  • Malignant— Malignant neoplasms (commonly referred to as cancer) invade and destroy tissue around them. They grow faster than the tissue around them and bits of the tumor, called metastases, can break off and spread to other parts of the body, forming other tumors.

Neoplasia and the kidneys
Renal lymphoma is the most common renal tumor in cats and often presents with sudden onset of poor kidney function, including acute kidney injury2. Feline leukemia virus associated lymphoma seems to be declining, but possibly 14 to 50% of cats affected by lymphosarcoma are FeLV positive3.

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Mike has more than 35 years of experience in companion animal veterinary practice and is a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2013.

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