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


The synovial membrane is actually the layer of the soft tissue, which lines the surfaces in the joints, just like those in between the joints at the elbows and knees. Furthermore, the synovial sarcomas are the soft tissue sarcomas or the malignant cancers, which arise from the precursor cells outside the synovial membrane of the bursa and joints. In this article, we will be discussing about the joint cancer in cats. If you want to know more about this, feel free to give this article a read.

Joint Cancer in Cats: What is this feline condition?

Cancerous arthritis or joint cancer is a feline condition, wherein an abnormal cell growth happens in the joint tissues, which results in the onset of tumor. Furthermore, joint cancer in cats is typical malignant, instead of benign. Also, it generally spreads through some other systems via the bloodstream.

Furthermore, joint cancer in cats may happen in any joints of the cat’s body, and may be hard to treat. It is possible to regrow even after the surgical procedure, and it may respond poorly to different common cancer treatments like chemotherapy. In the event that the cancer is known at an early stage, before it may spread, the chances of the survival are considerably increased. If the pet is showing symptoms of joint cancer, contact your vet immediately.

Types of Cat Joint Cancer

Even though the synovial cell sarcoma is the most common among all types of joint cancer in cats. Some other types of cancer may also be found in the surrounding tissues and joints. Here are some of the types of the feline condition, which may cause cancerous arthritis:

  • Undifferentiated sarcoma
  • Squamosal cell carcinoma
  • Solitary plasmacytoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Myxosarcoma
  • Myxoma
  • Melanoma
  • Mast cell tumor
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Synovial cell sarcoma

Causes of Cat Joint Cancer

The joint cancer in cats, just like all cancers, is due to the abnormal cell growth. In both malignant and benign joint cancers, this abnormal cell growth may cause tumors in the surrounding tissues and joints. The certain cause of joint cancer hasn’t been determined. Studies actually suggest that a combination of various factors may contribute to the possibility that joint cancer may happen.

Moreover, the risk factors may include previous injury to the bone or joint, austere viral infections like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus, as well as the abnormal development of joints. Joint cancer in cats is more common in the older cats and may affect male species more commonly than the females.

Symptoms of Cat Joint Cancer

The main symptoms that comes with this feline condition actually mimic closely arthritis and may include pain, loss of mobility, lameness, and inflammation. Further, joint cancer is so likely to spread over and may affect some other parts of the body –including the vital organs. As the cancer progresses, additional symptoms might be observed. In a more significant cases, this kind of cancer may spread into the lungs, thus causing lung-related issues.

The more common symptoms of joint cancer in cats include the following:

Vet examining cat with stethoscope
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Muscle wasting
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lump or mass in or near the joint
  • Surrounding area or joint might feel hot to touch
  • Vocalization, which is related to pain
  • Pain
  • Joint infection and surrounding tissues
  • Joint inflammation
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to use the affected limb
  • Lameness
  • Limping

Treatments for Cat Joint Cancer

In general, joint cancer in cats needs limb surgical intervention, as well as amputation. These are the most commonly recommended method of treatment. Further, cancerous arthritis may respond poorly to some other treatment methods and is so likely to reemerge even right after the surgical intervention. The treatment might not be a feasible option if the cancer has already spread or is at late stage. Some of the most common treatment methods include the following:


Joint cancer has proven hard to treat with chemotherapy only. This particular method of treatment is more commonly used together with surgical intervention. This carries a low-moderate risk of the side effects, with the most common side effects, being lethargy and a sapped immune system.

Surgical Intervention

In the cases with much smaller tumors, surgical removal of the affected cells might be prescribed. This treatment may also need anesthesia and carry a moderate risk. Surgery is commonly performed on an inpatient basis and might need one or more days of hospitalization.


Thorough surgical removal of the affected limbs is the most common and most successful treatment method for the joint cancer in cats. This particular treatment may need the cat to be hospitalized and be placed under anesthesia for a surgery. This may carry a moderate risk, just like with some other surgery. Further, hospitalization might also be essential for a several days to two weeks in ensuring the proper healing. Various lifestyle changes might also be needed, while the pet adjusts to the life without its limbs. 5


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