Treatments for Feline Intestinal Lymphoma

intestinal lymphoma treatments for cats

There are three primary treatments for feline intestinal lymphoma -- surgery, prednisone and chemotherapy -- and they are usually combined to help create the most desirable outcome.

The sooner and more aggressively your cat's intestinal lymphoma is treated, the better her chances of survival and remission.

Understanding Prednisone and Chemotherapy

It's common for cats with intestinal lymphoma to receive high doses of the corticosteroid prednisone. Prednisone is very potent in treating this kind of cancer. Alone, it can extend a cat's life for several months. But when combined with other cancer therapies, it may lead to complete remission -- particularly in low-grade intestinal lymphoma. If the cancer is cleared, your veterinarian may continue to prescribe it as a preventive treatment.

While prednisone -- which comes in oral, topical or injectable forms -- is a valuable drug, it can produce a number of undesirable side effects, including the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Water retention
  • Increased urination
  • Kidney disorders
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers
  • Muscle weakness

Chemotherapy, which simply means controlling cancer through medicinal or chemical means rather than through radiation, can also have side effects. Fortunately, these are not as intense as you might imagine. In fact, many cats don't suffer from complications such as nausea and infection. And chemotherapy-caused hair loss is generally relegated to whiskers only -- not fur.