Intestinal Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Cats

Adenocarcinoma of the Stomach, Intestine, or Rectum in Cats

Adenocarcioma is a malignant tumor that may occur in the gastrointestinal (GI) system of a cat. It can occur in any part of the GI system, including the stomach, the small and large intestine, and the rectum. This tumor is rare in cats, but when it does occur older cats are the most commonly affected. No particular cat breed is known to be predisposed, though it is more common in males than females. The prognosis for cats with adenocarcinoma of the gastrointestinal tract is usually poor.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms are most commonly related to the gastrointestinal system and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hematemesis (vomiting of blood)
  • Melena (black colored feces due to hemorrhage in the GI system)
  • Bright red blood in feces
  • Tenesmus (difficulty with defecation)


The exact cause is still unknown, this condition is classified as idiopathic.


Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, taking into account the background history of symptoms. You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health and onset of symptoms. Blood tests, fecal tests and a biochemistry profile will be performed. The blood tests usually show mild to severe anemia, mainly due to gradual blood loss through the feces. A sample of the feces will also be examined under microscope to look for the presence of hidden blood. Contrast radiography (using a contrast chemical agent) may reveal the presence, location, and size of the neoplasm. Ultrasound is also a valuable tool in the diagnosis of adenocarcinomas of the gastrointestinal tract. Using ultrasound, your veterinarian may decide to take a fluid sample through a fine needle to examine for the presence of neoplastic cells in sample fluid. An endoscope is also sometimes used for sample collection. If none of the above mentioned procedures are helpful in confirming a diagnosis, your veterinarian may decide to perform surgery, which will ultimately confirm the assumed diagnosis.


Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


A procedure of imaging internal body structures by exposing film


The very end of the large intestine


Relating to a disease of unknown origin, which may or may not have arisen spontaneously


The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine


The exiting of excrement from the body; bowel movements.


A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.


A type of instrument that is used to look inside the body


Anything having to do with the stomach


The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.


Extreme loss of blood

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