Tumor of the Thymus in Cats

2 min read

Thymoma in Cats

 

The thymus is a small glandular organ located in front of the heart. Its special function is to serve as a reservoir for the production and maturation of T lymphocytes, white blood cells that make up an important part of the body's immune system. A thymoma is a tumor originating from the epithelium  of the thymus (the layer of tissue covering the thymus). Thymomas are rare tumors in cats and are mainly associated with myasthenia gravis, a severe autoimmune disease which causes certain muscle groups to tire easily.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Coughing
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Cranial caval syndrome -- a side effect of heartworm infestation, which often leads to swelling of the head, neck, or forelimbs
  • Myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that leads to muscle weakness, enlarged esophagus, and frequent regurgitation

 

Causes

 

  • Unknown

 

Diagnosis

 

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your pet, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. 

 

Thoracic X-rays are standard for breathing related conditions. The resulting images may show a cranial mediastinal mass (a mass between the lungs), pleural effusion (build-up of fluid in the lungs due to aspiration pneumonia) and megaesophagus

 

A blood test for antibodies to acetylcholine receptors (a neurotransmitter causing muscles to contract) should be performed to rule out myasthenia gravis. A tensilon test can also be used to test for myasthenia gravis. 

 

A fine-needle aspirate of the mass will show mature lymphocytes (white blood cells) and epithelial cells (cells forming in the outside layer of the thymus gland).

Related Posts

Tumor of the Thymus in Dogs

Alex German
Apr 07, 2016

Blood in the Chest in Cats

Victoria Heuer
Aug 23, 2010

Nerve/Muscle Disorder in Cats

PetMD Editorial
Aug 19, 2010

Cancer Treatment for Small Animals

Victoria Heuer
Mar 03, 2017