Intestinal Tumors (Apudomas) in Cats
Apudoma in Cats
Apudoma is a gastrointestinal tumor which secretes peptide hormones -- hormones that play a role in regulating metabolism, growth, development, and tissue function. In the long run, the tumor(s) can cause ulcers, damage the esophagus because of chronic reflux, and damage the lining of the intestines.
- Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Excessive thirst
- Tarry-looking stools
- Bloody stools (red blood)
- Abdominal pain
The cause of apudoma is currently not known.
Your veterinarian will want to rule out the following diseases:
- Kidney failure
- Inflammatory gastritis
- Stress-induced ulceration
- Ulceration brought on by medication (e.g., anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids)
- Uremia (condition which causes waste products to be retained in the blood)
- Other conditions associated with hyperacidity in the digestive tract and ulceration
Your veterinarian will then run blood tests and chemistry analysis to identify if your cat has iron-deficiency anemia as a result of the gastrointestinal bleeding. Other concerns may include inadequate protein in the blood stream and an electrolyte imbalance due to excessive vomiting.
In addition, an ultrasound of the abdomen can be used to determine whether there is a tumor in your cat's pancreas, and an aspirate can be used to determine if there are an any masses present to test for mast cell disease. An endoscopy and biopsy of the upper digestive tract may also be recommended.
Unfortunately, most apudoma tumors are cancerous (malignant) and by the time they’re discovered, it’s too late to treat them. However, aggressive medical management can sometimes relieve the symptoms and give your cat additional months (or even years) to live. Exploring a pancreatic mass surgically is important for diagnosis, but also for establishing a treatment regimen.
Living and Management
Your cat will need frequent physical examinations, as well as careful observation at home. Your veterinarian may also want to conduct X-rays and ultrasound exams from time to time to measure the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of the treatment. As there is no cure for the disease, the best you can hope for is to keep your pet comfortable and pain free for a few months or years.
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