Lymphoma cancer most common in older male cats

Grumpy Cat

Sadly, our four-legged friends are prone to getting some of the same diseases as us, and that includes cancer.

One of the most common types of cancer in cats is lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. A new study published by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) takes an in-depth look at how often it occurs and which cats are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Based on clinical records from over 500,000 cats attending primary?care practices in the UK, the researchers found that approximately 1 in 2,000 cats (48 per 100,000) under first opinion veterinary care are affected by lymphoma every year.

The study, published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, also revealed that:

  • Male cats were 1.7 times more likely to have lymphoma than female cats. Read more about this in our blog on whether you should get a male or female cat.

  • Cats over 11 years of age were 5 times more likely to have lymphoma than cats aged 2-5 years.

  • Insured cats were 3.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with lymphoma than uninsured cats.

  • Vaccinated cats were at decreased risk of diagnosis compared with unvaccinated cats.

Breed and potential exposure to certain environmental factors were not found to be associated with lymphoma.

Discussing why insured cats were at increased odds of a lymphoma diagnosis compared with non insured cats in the study, the researchers said that insurance may be an indication of the “human animal bond” where owners are more likely to undergo further diagnostic testing to confirm lymphoma and therefore meet the inclusion criteria for the study.

“Being aware of the range of risk factors reported can help vets advise owners more clearly on the risk of this cancer when their animals present to the veterinary practice,” said Professor Dave Brodbelt, Professor of Evidence based Veterinary Medicine at the RVC and co-author of the paper.

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