Lympho sarcoma is another name for lymphoma. It is defined as the rapid multiplication of malignant lymphocytes inside solid organs like the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and even the bones. It may develop in the eyes, skin and the gastrointestinal tract. Lymphoma in cats is the most common malignant cancer found in the feline species.
In younger cats, lympho sarcoma occurs after an infection with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and sometimes with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). This type of feline cancer involves the lymph nodes, spine and the part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the heart, aorta, esophagus, trachea and the endocrinal gland thymus (mediastinal lymphoma).
Lymphoma in the gastrointestinal tract is more common in older cats. In older cats, it may even occur without a FeLV infection or after a previous low level of infection. Younger cats tend to have T-cell lymphoma, while older cats are more susceptible to B-cell lymphomas. T-cells are small lymphocytes developed in the thymus that direct the immune system’s response to infected or malignant cells. B-cells, on the other hand, are lymphocytes that are derived from bone marrow.
Cats develop more severe symptoms of lymphoma than dogs. While lymphoma cancer in dogs may mean a visibly healthy dog except for the swollen lymph nodes, a cat may show severe symptoms depending upon the location of the lymphoma.
The symptoms that cats with gastrointestinal lymphoma show are weight loss, appetite loss and diarrhea. Mediastinal lymphoma is mostly reflected in respiratory problems and accumulation of fluid in the lungs. If lymphoma forms in the kidney, it produces symptoms like an increase in thirst and urination and ultimately leads to kidney enlargement and failure. Lymphoma in the heart tissue leads to a failure to pump enough blood to reduce congestion in tissues, and an accumulation of fluid in the layers that surround the heart and abnormal muscular contractions. Ocular lymphoma presents symptoms of inflammation inside the eye.
Some forms of lymphoma are slow to heal and can exist without a threat to life, even without treatment. Aggressive lymphomas are treated with a combination of chemotherapeutic drugs. Gastrointestinal lymphomas respond better to chemotherapy than lymphomas that occur in more than one place at a time. As lymphoma in cats is almost always concomitant to current or historical FeLV infection, total remission is rare as it completes the condition to great extent.