Intraocular tumors in cats: causes, treatment

Intraocular tumors in cats are divided into primary and secondary. Let’s see together what they are and what needs to be done about them.

Anyone living with a four-legged friend should be aware of the various diseases that the latter could contract.

Unfortunately, among these pathologies there are also tumors. Below we will see specifically which are the intraocular tumors that can occur in the cat, that is, those that refer to the eyes of the cat.

Intraocular tumors in cats: primary and secondary

Intraocular tumors fall into two categories: primary tumors and secondary metastatic tumors.

Both categories can affect one eye or both eyes. The main symptom of intraocular tumors is the presence of uveitis in the cat, which is an inflammation in the eye.

However, we can also notice other symptoms: retinal detachment, glaucoma, hemorrhages. That said, one of the main primary-type intraocular cancers in cats is diffuse iris melanoma. This pathology can affect any breed of feline and cats that are between 4 and 20 years old.

This tumor is unilateral and manifests itself as one or more pigmented spots on the iris, which increase over time. Other types of primary intraocular tumor in felines are:

  • Limbal melanoma: very rare in cats, more present in dogs. This tumor is generally benign and does not cause metastases;
  • Post-traumatic ocular sarcoma: This type of cancer is mainly caused by eye trauma or chronic inflammation. The symptoms of post-traumatic ocular sarcoma inflammation, glaucoma, uveitis, corneal edema and hyphema. This sarcoma can cause metastases and be very aggressive;
  • Atypical anterior uveal melanoma: this type of tumor is also very rare in felines. However, if present, it causes the following symptoms : abnormal pigmentation of the iris, glaucoma and exophthalmos.
  • Adenomas and adenocarcinomas: These two types of tumors can cause hyphema in the cat, dislocation of the lens, glaucoma and uveitis.

Secondary metastatic intraocular tumors

The secondary metastatic intraocular tumors in cats are those tumors that result from metastatic cells affecting the eyes while the primary tumor is in another organ.

In addition to those present in the eye, the main symptoms of these tumors are also those caused by the primary tumor. The main secondary intraocular cancer that can affect our furry friend is lymphoma.

This type of tumor can affect both one eye and both eyes and we can easily notice it in both the anterior and posterior uvea.

In the first case we could notice a lump or a neoplasm, in the second case there could be a detachment of the retina, haemorrhages or chorioretinitis in the cat.

Finally, there are other types of secondary cancer that can affect the eyes of the feline:

  • Adenocarcinomas of uterine or mammary origin
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma in cats
  • Fibrosarcoma in cats

What to do about it

In case you notice something strange in the eyes of your four-legged friend, it is important to take the latter to the vet, who will recommend an eye examination to confirm or not the presence of an intraocular tumor.

In the event of a positive diagnosis, and of primary tumor, the specialist will recommend enucleation, that is, the removal of the eyeball.

If the intraocular tumor is secondary, the veterinarian may request tests to look for the primary tumor. In case of lymphoma the cat could undergo chemotherapy, and a local topical therapy.

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