Adrenal Gland Cancer (Pheochromocytoma) in Cats

4 min read


Surgery is the chosen treatment for a pheochromocytoma. If your cat has high blood pressure or a very high heart rate, these conditions will be treated with medication and stabilized before surgery can be performed. If the blood pressure or heart rate are dangerously high, your cat may need to be in intensive care before surgery can be performed. Some cats need to be placed on medication to control blood pressure and heart rate for several weeks before surgery can be performed.

During surgery, the affected adrenal gland will be removed. Because the adrenal gland is near some very large blood vessels, surgery can be challenging. If, during surgery, it is found that other organs are being affected by the tumor, they will need to be removed as well, either in part or in their entirety, depending on the organ. After surgery, your cat will be kept in the hospital intensive care unit until it is stable. Problems during and after surgery are common. Your veterinarian will monitor for bleeding, high or low blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, difficulty breathing, or post-operative infections. Unfortunately, some cats do not make it through recovery because of these problems, especially if they have other medical problems. Your veterinarian will help you to decide the best course of action based on the diagnosis and expectations for recovery.

Living and Management

Once your cat's tumor has been removed and it is able to return home with you, it will take a little time for your cat to return to a normal life with normal activity. Your cat's life expectancy will be based on whether there are other health conditions concurrent with the pheochromocytoma. Some cats will continue to live for three or more years, while others have shorter expectancies.

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