Liver Cancer In Cats: Signs, Causes And Treatment

Our discussion today is centered on Liver Cancer in Cats. It is medically called Hepatocellular Carcinoma which is described as a malignant tumor of the liver.

This type of carcinoma is rare in cats as cats commonly suffer from bile duct carcinoma.  However, it still develops in cats and there is no breeds predisposition. Plus, the disease affects cats that are on average older than ten years of age.

The Signs of Liver Cancer in Cats may include Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Weight loss, Nausea, Diarrhea, Loss of or excessive thirst, Increased urination, Abdominal distension, Weakness and lethargy, Pale gums, Jaundice, Breathing difficulty, Increased respiratory rate, Seizures, Disorientation, Stumbling among other signs that may be evident.

Other information you need to be conversant with as regards liver in cats will be discussed here soon.

For more information about liver cancer in cats, ensure you read through to the end.

Liver Cancer In Cats: Signs, Causes And Treatment


Many cats owner already asked the following questions, and we will be giving detailed information on the questions and they are;

  • What is liver neoplasia in cats?
  • What are the signs of end-stage liver cancer in cats?
  • symptoms of a cat dying of liver cancer.
  • cat liver cancer when to euthanize.
  • cat liver cancer not eating.
  • types of liver cancer in cats.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma is not common in cats but it still poses a health risk to the feline species, and male cats are more prone to develop the disease than female cats. Liver cancer occurs when the liver tumor in cats becomes malignant or when a different type of cancer metastasizes and spreads to the liver organ.

However, cat owners should not be overwhelmed because feline liver cancer is rare and it is responsible for less than 2% of all cases.

Oftentimes, liver cancer occurs when cancer of the spleen, pancreas, or intestinal tract becomes metastasize to the liver.

Also, there are Signs of Liver Cancer in Cats that owners need to watch out for so that they can quickly take the cat for clinical diagnosis with possible treatment options as quickly as possible.

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Causes Of Liver Cancer In Cats.

Liver Cancer in Cats may be attributed to chronic inflammation or hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage), and toxins.

However, the definitive cause of the disease in cats remains unknown to date.

We are curious just as you are to find out the cause of Liver Cancer in Cats.

Nonetheless, research is ongoing to discover the root cause of this Cats Liver Disease and as well proffer more preferable and resolute treatment than what is obtainable presently.

Symptoms Of Liver Cancer In Cats.

What then are the Signs of Liver Cancer in Cats? You must know that the signs of Liver Cancer in Cats Symptoms vary depending on if the malignant tumor has metastasized from another primary cancer in the cat’s body. Visible symptoms of the disease include but are not limited to;

  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of or excessive thirst.
  • Increased urination.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Weakness and lethargy.
  • Pale gums.
  • Jaundice.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Increased respiratory rate.
  • Seizures.
  • Disorientation.
  • Stumbling among other signs that may be evident.

Types Of Liver Cancer In Cats (Liver Diseases In Cats).

Knowing the type of liver cancer developed in your cat will help in the treatment plan. Over time, different types of this disease have evolved and they include:

Types of Liver Cancer in Cats
Types of Liver Cancer in Cats

#1. Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Hepatocellular or Hepatomas is a type of cancer condition that stems directly from the liver cells, called “hepatocytes”. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the second most common liver tumor that develops in cats. Most hepatocellular carcinoma is of a massive form.

#2. Hepatocellular Adenomas.

Hepatocellular Adenoma is a benign tumor that occurs in the liver cells. It results from an overgrowth of epithelial cells which are involved in secretion in the body. This type of tumor is less common in cats.

#3. Bile Duct Carcinomas.

Bile duct carcinoma is the major type of liver cancer that affects cats. The occurrence is cut across all cat breeds, but female cats are at a high risk to develop this disease than male cats. Also, cats that are 10 years of age or older are at a high risk of developing this disease.

#4. Bile Duct Adenomas.

The Bile duct adenomas otherwise known as also known as biliary or hepatobiliary cystadenomas is also a common health issue that affects cats, and it accounts for more than 50% of all feline hepatobiliary tumors. Male cats may be predisposed to female cats.

#5. Hemangioma.

Hemangiomas are intermittent tumors that occur mostly in adult cats and most often develop on the head, legs, and abdomen. They have a resemblance to the blood vessels, and some even look like blood blisters.

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#6. Bile Duct Cystadenomas.

Biliary cystadenomas are a rare health condition in cats. They are liver tumors and occur in older cats. It develops as focal or multifocal cystic lesions within the liver.

While some of the types of liver cancers discussed above may be tumor and benign, if they are not treated immediately can become malignant and metastasize, spreading to other body areas including the liver.

Clinical Diagnosis Of Cats With Liver Cancer (Diseases).

Your veterinarian should be able to diagnose if your cat has liver cancer or other Liver Diseases during a routine wellness check.

A thorough examination will be done whereby the vet doctor will be feeling for any enlarged lymph nodes or abdominal enlargement as well as listening to its breathing and heartbeat.

Blood tests and other lab investigations will be done including a complete blood count, biochemical profile, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis.

All of which will help detect any abnormalities such as liver damage or bile duct obstruction, which can lead to further testing.

Abdominal scan and Abdominal or chest x-ray will be performed to look for evidence of a tumor or metastasis to the lungs and as well to eliminate other conditions.

For further investigation, a liver biopsy will be performed. This will help your veterinarian to come up with a more definitive diagnosis.

The process is done via a needle that is inserted into the liver to remove fluid samples.

Also, samples of the liver tissue can be collected during surgery. These samples are taken to the lab to be tested for cancer cells.

Treatment Of Liver Cancer In Cats.

The next phase to discuss is the treatment options for Liver Cancer in Cats. Once a cat is diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma, prompt treatment is mandated to decrease the chance of cancer spreading to other organs.

The outcome of the treatment depends on the cat’s condition, and the type of treatment employed.

#1. Surgical Removal.

Lobectomy is the surgical removal of the tumor when it remains benign and not yet metastasize to other body areas.

Singular masses can be easily removed and even when the tumor is subtle, a large chunk of the liver can be excised, allowing a great amount of cancerous tissue to be taken out.

However, in the case of malignancy, surgical removal can only do little except it is performed alongside chemotherapy.

#2. Systemic Chemotherapy.

Over the years, chemotherapy plays a vital role in cancer treatment, especially when cancer has spread throughout the body, chemotherapy is the best treatment option.

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It will help the body to get rid of cancer on a microscopic level. However, chemotherapy often goes visàvis a surgical removal of cancerous tumors. Also, powerful medication is administered and it will be needed over a longer period to stop cancer growth.

#4. Glue Injection.

Another method of treatment is Glue Injection otherwise known as chemoembolization.

This is a process involves a catheter fed directly to the affected liver lobe and a type of glue and chemotherapy is injected into the blood vessels that feed the tumor.

The aim is to block blood supply from reaching the growths and help to shrink the tumor.

Sometimes, a Glue injection is performed along with chemotherapy. However, the benefit of this process is yet to be known.

Preventive Measures Of Liver Cancer In Cats.

Truthfully, there are no known preventive measures yet as of this time. However, there are preventative lifestyle measures pet owners should imbibe to prevent their cats from becoming a victim of this disease.

One of the suspected primary factors that influence this disease is environmental factors. As such, pet owners should maintain a clean, low-toxin lifestyle.

Also, Pet foods should be fresh and should not contain chemical additives. Likewise, the use of chemical cleaners should be eliminated within your home to lower the chances of your cat inhaling these toxins into its system.

Life Expectancy Of Cats With Liver Cancer.

Unfortunately,  no the one can state the life expectancy of cats with liver cancer. Even without metastasis, the survival period after surgery is generally less than three months or lesser.

How long cats with liver cancer can live is majorly dependent on basic care given to the cat, regular clinical checkup and the rest.

Pet owners need to be conversant with the Signs of Liver Cancer in Cats. This will help in the timely treatment of the condition before it gets worse.


Liver Cancer in Cats tends to be very aggressive, and once the disease is noticed, especially if it has spread to other body organs, there is not much time left.

The best treatment option for liver cancer is chemotherapy and if it helps, it may give your cat a little more time.

Overall, your veterinarian is in the best position to help guide you through the process from diagnosis to the treatment process. If you are facing other difficulties with your cats, kindly drop here for detailed information.

If you find this information useful, kindly share it with others who may need to read this.

Author: David Arthur

David's lifelong passion for animals blossomed into a dream profession in 2020. He founded Petscareway Inc., a professional pet care company situated in the Texas. Several veterinarians have educated him in Pet First Aid and CPR since 2003. David decided to become a certified Pet First Aid and CPR instructor in 2011 after completing an instructor training course. David decided he had to be a part of ProPetHero when he discovered them in 2016 and saw how they were offering ER veterinarian-led training to everyone. As a result, he became a member of the ProTrainings family, the designers of ProPetHero. He volunteers and fosters for The Boxer Rescue Inc in his spare time, is a health-conscious Boxer breeder, and is a member of the Middlesex Boxer Club and Wachusett Kennel Club. David has served as a mentor to many people in the pet industry and in the small company world. When he's not working or helping, he's competing with his dogs in agility, lure coursing, and conformation trials across the country. David can be seen training with his puppies, hiking with them on trails, or playing in his backyard when he is not at a trial or trying to find a nice home for a Boxer through the rescue.

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