Bile Duct Cancer In Cats: What Do You Need To Know About It?


Bile duct cancer is seen in both dogs and cats, especially those above 10 years old. Generally, the viewpoint isn’t advantageous for cats detected with this kind of cancer. Bile duct cancer’s actually a typical liver cancer, which may be hard to treat, because of its fast rate of metastasis and its aggressive nature. The overall diagnosis for the cats with this particular condition may depend largely on the health of the cat, as well as whether the cancer has already spread to the other organs. In this article, we will discuss some more interesting facts about bile duct cancer in cats including its causes, symptoms, prognosis, and treatment. Read on to learn more about these!

What is Bile Duct Cancer in Cats?

Bile duct carcinomas are an aggressive kind of cancer, with the metastasis happening in 67-88% of affected animals. Historically, they’re hard to remove completely through surgical means. Moreover, this malignant cancer commonly arises from the epithelia, the cellular lining of the liver, bile ducts and happens more frequently in the intrahepatic bile ducts, instead of in the extrahepatic bile ducts. Complications of this condition may include the failure of the bile in passing through the bile ducts because of the tissue mass, which is blocking the duct, as well as the metastasis through the lungs, abdominal lining, and the lymph nodes of the liver.

Due to the tendency of the carcinoma in metastasizing extensively, it may also spread to some other regional lymph nodes, just like the diaphragm, pancreas, kidneys, bone, urinary bladder, spleen, and intestines. This is known as a specifically malignant kind of cancer. Hence, animals with this kind of condition commonly have a fortified to poor prognosis.

In addition, the bile duct carcinoma is the most typical kind of liver cancer, which is found to affect cats. Thought its occurrence doesn’t appear to be associated to the cat’s breed, it actually has been found to be much more common in female cats, as well as in cats that are ten years old or older.


There are actually 2 different kinds of bile duct tumors, which may develop in cats.

Biliary Carcinoma

These tumors are the second kind of liver tumor you can find in cats. These are malignant and may spread quickly to some other areas of the body. These are commonly found in the liver within the bile ducts.

Biliary Adenoma

These tumors are the most common kind of liver tumors in felines. This kind of tumor is located in 50% of cat liver tumors. They are not cancerous and might not cause issues until they become large and push against the other organs.


The real reason why some cats develop the bile duct cancer is actually unknown. Nonetheless, veterinarians think that there are specific factors, which may increase the risk of a cat to developing this kind of cancer. This includes the following:

  • Environmental toxins
  • Exposure to specific kinds of poisons or chemicals
  • Parasitic infection


The bile duct cancer may cause an extensive array of symptoms in felines. Below are some of the most common symptoms that come with this kind of cancer in domestic cats.

  • Swollen abdomen
  • Enlarged liver
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Increase in thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Lethargy


The vet may need some info from you in order to diagnose the condition in your cat. They will start by asking some questions with regards the past health history of the cat. Make sure to include whatever unusual birth instances, recently diagnose conditions, as well as when you saw an onset of a symptom.

After taking the medical history, the vet may then examine the cat. He will observe the gait, demeanor, and neurological functions of it. He’ll draw some blood testing as well. The common panel may include a CBC and complete biochemical profile. He’ll also take urine samples in checking for infection. He may also check the liver enzymes in determining whether they’re elevated or not.

X-rays might also be done in determining the liver condition. Furthermore, an ultrasound might also be conducted for a more detailed view of the liver. On the other hand, the lone way in determining if a bile duct cancer is existent is a biopsy. Commonly, this is done through fine needle aspiration.

Treatments for Bile Duct Cancer in Cats

If a cat is diagnosed with the biliary adenoma, its treatment might vary in accordance to its symptoms. In other cases, no treatment is necessary, as long as the tumor is small. Some vets may use a needle in draining fluid from the cyst or tumor in order to reduce the possibility of it pressing contrary to some other organs in the body.

Cats that are diagnosed with the other type of this condition –biliary carcinoma commonly need surgery in removing the tumor. This is actually the best method treating bile duct tumors. Vets may safely get rid of about 75% of the liver to get rid of the cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation hasn’t been found to be so effective in treating this kind of cancer in dogs and cats.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here