Gingival Fibrosarcoma in Cats
As cats age, they sometimes develop growths in their mouths. One type of growth is a fibrosarcoma, a cancerous growth derived from fibrous connective tissue. Fibrosarcomas are relatively low in malignancy, growing slowly and generally not spreading to other organs, though they do aggressively invade other tissue and bone that is near them. The most common location for a fibrosarcoma of the the mouth is in the gums (gingiva).
Cats that are afflicted with gingival fibrosarcomas are, on average, seven and a half years old, but these tumors have been seen in cats from the age of six months to fifteen years. Gender appears to play some role, with male cats being seen for gingival tumors more often that female cats.
Symptoms and Type
- Excess salivation
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose teeth
- Difficulty picking up food
- Difficulty chewing food (dysphagia)
- Blood coming from the mouth
- A growth in the mouth
- Weight loss
The causes for gingival fibrosarcomas are unknown.
Your veterinarian will need a thorough history of your cat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition. For example, when your cat stopped eating, when you noticed its teeth were loose, how much weight it has lost, etc. A mass or tumor in the mouth will be apparent during the physical examination, and the location of the swelling will be differentiated from the gums or the lymph nodes beneath the jawline. Standard tests include a complete blood count and biochemical profile to confirm that your cat's internal organs are in healthy functioning order. Your veterinarian may also order x-ray images of the thorax (chest) to make sure that there is no evidence that the tumor has spread into the lungs. X-rays of the skull will also be taken to see if any of the skull bones have been affected by the tumor. In some cases, a computed tomography (CT) scan can be utilized to determine how severely affected the skull bones are are how far the tumor has metastasized (spread) into the bone. Your veterinarian will also take a biopsy of the tumor for laboratory analysis. This will help your doctor to determine exactly what type of tumor is in your cat's mouth.