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Vet Talks: Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

Vet Talks 5 min read
Vet Talks: Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

Alimentary lymphoma, or what is commonly known as Gastrointestinal lymphoma, is one of the most common kinds of lymphoma that I have seen in cats. It is always so difficult for me to talk about lymphoma, after losing my own kitty, Frederico to lymphoma a few years ago. My experience with lymphoma brings together what I had been through as a pet parent and what I understand as a veterinarian.

Lymphoma, also known as lymphosarcoma, is a disease that typically originates in lymphoid tissues, which are found in the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen. However, this cancer can be present in many tissues throughout the body.

Alimentary (gastrointestinal) is one form of lymphoma that is characterized by the presence of a solitary mass, multiple masses with or without regional intra-abdominal lymph node involvement, or as a diffusely infiltrating disease of one or more parts of the bowel.

Incidence and Causes of Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

The incidence of alimentary lymphoma between the pets with lymphosarcoma is around 7%. The causes are unknown, but some factors such as breed, genetic factors, FeLV in cats, and environmental factors can play an important role. Also, environmental factors such as cigarette smoke may increase the risk.

cat lymphoma

Signs of Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

As the alimentary form can affect any part of the stomach or intestines, it often causes related symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. An abdominal mass may develop that can be felt on a physical examination. Also, some cats may experience enlargement of the liver and spleen.

Diagnostic Tests for Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

If the external lymph nodes are enlarged, this can help with diagnosis. However, diagnosis may be more difficult if contained in an internal organ. Therefore, laboratory tests such as blood work, a biopsy of the enlarged lymph nodes or other organs, radiographs (x-rays) and/or ultrasound, bone marrow aspiration, FeLV test, an endoscopy may be recommended by your vet. There is also a specialized test to determine the type of lymphoma (B Cell versus T Cell) once the preliminary diagnosis is made.

cat ultrasound lymphoma

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

In most cases, successful treatment of lymphoma will require chemotherapy that may involve one of many different protocols. Surgery may be needed to relieve any intestinal obstruction caused by a tumor. Chemotherapy is usually started when the disease is first diagnosed, even if the pet does not seem ill, because waiting may reduce chances of long-term survival. The goal of cancer therapy is to achieve long-term remission and good quality of life. Frequent recheck visits are needed to administer the chemotherapy and to monitor the response to medications through regular lab work.

NHV has a wonderful regimen that can be integrated with chemotherapy really well.

Prognosis of Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats

The prognosis depends on several factors, including FeLV status, location of cancer, cell type (B versus T; acute/aggressive versus low/chronic), and how quickly the cancer is diagnosed and treated.

I believe that integrative medicine can make a lot of difference in the quality of life of a pet suffering from gastrointestinal lymphoma. Therefore, the correct diet and supplements, along with traditional medicine may help improve the chances of survival of the pet. Based on this, I have put together a regimen for pets suffering from alimentary lymphoma.


I strongly recommend coupling this regimen with a customized home-cooked diet or a prescription diet that your veterinarian recommends.

This regimen may help the body fight against the alimentary (gastrointestinal) lymphoma, regardless of which part of the stomach or intestines is affected:

TumFlora: Our newest herbal supplement can help support the gastrointestinal tract health of your furkid. This product can also help relieve the symptoms of gastrointestinal lymphoma, help support the immune system, and help provide anti-inflammatory properties to help ease inflammation in the digestive tract.

Felimm: This formula helps balance the immune system that is unregulated in an animal with lymphoma. It also helps fight against feline leukemia (FeLV) that is related to lymphoma, the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), canine herpesvirus, and parvovirus.

In addition, it helps fight infections, encourages detoxification of the lymphatic system, stimulates the appetite, improves energy levels, and helps combat upper respiratory tract infections.

Milk Thistle: Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side effects, such as toxicity of the organs. Milk Thistle can be very helpful to prevent and decrease these toxicities. As it can detoxify the liver and kidney by removing toxins that can build up in a pet’s system when taking pharmaceuticals or from chemical-laden foods.

Not only does it improve the liver and kidney function, but it also supports the regeneration of the liver, and supports overworking kidneys. It also has antioxidant properties and may work as anti-cancer support.

Yucca: As corticosteroids are often used in the treatment of lymphoma and Yucca contains steroidal saponins, they can be very useful for pets suffering from alimentary lymphoma. This is well researched and reported that these steroidal saponins present in Yucca stimulate the body to produce its own natural corticosteroids. NHV Yucca is formulated and dosed specifically to be safe for long-term use in pets. It has been used successfully to help control discomfort and inflammation in the body.

Plantaeris: It helps maintain normal bowel functions, soothes and relieves spasms of the digestive tract, and reduces the discomfort of the pet suffering from alimentary lymphoma.

Gastrointestinal Lymphoma in Cats and IBD in cats

Is it intestinal lymphoma or is it IBD? This question is one that arises in most cases in cats because both Gastrointestinal (GI) lymphoma and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) present similar symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, and weight loss. An ultrasound would show thickening of the intestinal or GI tract which could also mean either. This is why diagnosis becomes difficult unless there are other symptoms like enlarged lymph nodes or noticeable lymphatic changes in an ultrasound. This is why if you have a senior cat with a suspicious case of IBD and lymphoma, we’d recommend starting both supplements – NHV Felimm or the lymphoma and NHV Plantaeris for the IBD. And in such cases, diet becomes even more important.

cat nhv

Talk to an NHV Pet Expert today about your cat with Gastrointestinal Lymphoma

Helping a cat cope with alimentary lymphoma is quite overwhelming and there are lots of decisions to make – diet, chemo, supplements, and how to best keep the cat’s quality of life good. NHV’s Pet Expert team can be a part of your pet’s lymphoma journey – a part of your pet’s integrative vet team.

You can book a consult with Dr. Amanda here or get a customized diet plan, specially formulated for your pet.

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NHV Pet Experts

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Published: November 1, 2019

4 replies

  1. Lisa says:

    My name is Lisa and I have a cat with lymphoma and she started chemo last week. It is only her second pill and she is off balance, doesn’t want to eat, has diarrhea. I can’t get her diarrhea under control. She has lose weight. I tried different diets from Hills and nothing is working. I would like to try a cat food called small… It is human grade, but not sure if that will help. I don’t want to lose her. I am afraid to give her the next dose of chemo. She is so week. I syringe feed her wet food and she eats some dry on her own but not enough to keep herself going. What I put in just comes right out of her. Please help if you can

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to us.

      We’re so sorry to hear that your girl is going through all that. We can’t even imagine how stressful everything must be right now. Please know that our team is right here with you every step of the way, you’re never alone and you can always reach out to us any time you need.

      We have a few suggestions for you that we think could help:

      First, we would recommend ES-Clear. This is our main support for cancer in pets. This powerful yet gentle blend of herbs can help to support uncomfortable symptoms, manage immune health, and can help the body scavenge for free radicals.

      More information on ES-Clear here:

      Next, we would suggest our Turmeric. This superfood can help to reduce inflammation, and discomfort, support pets with cancer, and can help to encourage liver and heart health.

      More on Turmeric:

      We would also suggest Milk Thistle for your girl as traditional medications, like the ones she’s taking, can take a toll on the liver and kidneys. Milk Thistle can help to naturally support the liver and kidneys while encouraging regeneration of the liver.

      More information on Milk Thistle:

      We think adding Plantaeris to your kitty’s regimen would be helpful as well as it is our main support for diarrhea in pets. The herbs found in Plantaeris can help to encourage healthy bowel movements, reduce inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and can improve bile production while soothing and healing the digestive tract.

      More on Plantaeris here:

      To help support her appetite, we would suggest Yucca. This superfood can help to naturally stimulate appetite, reduce inflammation and discomfort, and can help to improve digestion.

      More on Yucca:

      Last but definitely not least, we would suggest our Multi Essentials to help with her weight loss. Multi Essentials is our multivitamin supplement that can help to fill dietary gaps, provide the body with essential vitamins and minerals, improve quality of life, and can help to improve skin and coat.

      More on Multi Essentials:

      All of our supplements are completely safe to be used alongside vet-prescribed medications as additional support! We just recommend leaving a window of about 30 minutes to 2 hours between our supplements and other medications, just to avoid overwhelming your little one.

      And because your girl is dealing with some tummy issues, we would suggest starting off the supplements super slowly. You can try maybe one or two first and then in a few weeks start to introduce a few more! This will hopefully help her adjust to her natural regimen slowly.

      We know this is tons of information to take in so please take your time in reviewing everything, we’d be more than happy to help answer any questions you may have.

      Sending lots of love and healing vibes to you and your precious pup!

      Yours in wellness,
      Team NHV

  2. ben says:

    Mon chat de 16 ans est diagnostiqué avec un lymphome au niveau digestif, qui apparement l’empeche de respirer correctement et donc ne mange plus et boit plus intentionnellement ( je n’ai pas le terme exacte de son problème précis). Je suis donc coincé avec les choix de l’euthanasie sous quelques jours, chimio ou autres interventions (ont me la même pas proposé), en sachant qu’elle ne mange plus du tout depuis 15 jours, boit très peu, faible et maigre, très maigre. Si vous avez quelques choses de fonctionnel rapide, qui pourrait lui permettre de prolongé un peu sa vie je suis preneur.. sans que ca me coute 500 par mois ,Merci .

    1. Team NHV says:


      Merci pour votre question. Puisque votre chat n’a pas mangé pendant si longtemps, nous considérons qu’il s’agit d’une situation vétérinaire d’urgence. La famine peut mettre la vie en danger, surtout pour les chats.

      Nos suppléments sont entièrement naturels, ce qui signifie qu’ils mettent un certain temps à agir.

      Si le chat se stabilise, vous pouvez essayer d’utiliser ES-Clear et Yucca. ES-Clear peut fournir un soutien contre le cancer et Yucca pour aider à stimuler l’appétit et soulager la douleur.

      Nous espérons que cette réponse vous aidera.

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