Brain Tumor (Astrocytoma) in Cats

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Astrocytoma in Cats

Although rare in cats, astrocytomas can be dangerous, even deadly. These tumors affect the brain's glial cells, which surround nerve cells (neurons), giving them support and electrically insulating them. Astrocytomas can also be rarely found in the spinal cord, and there was one reported case of an astrocytoma located in the retina.

Symptoms and Types

The astrocytoma's biologic behavior depends on the tumor's location and degree of lack of cell differentiation (graded I–IV, from best to worst prognosis). The following are some common symptoms associated with this type of brain tumor:

  • Seizures
  • Behavioral changes
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of conscious proprioception (i.e., clumsy misplacement of feet, tripping, etc.)
  • Cranial nerve abnormalities
  • Paralysis


The underlying cause for the development of astrocytomas is currently unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to the veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, complete blood count, and electrolyte panel to rule out other diseases.

An analysis of cerebrospinal fluid may indicate increased protein levels without an increase in cell count, which is indicative of astrocytoma development. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are also highly instrumental in diagnosing astrocytomas, as is radionuclide imaging, which may show an area of increased activity at the tumor site.

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An involuntary action in which the muscles contract; caused by a problem with the brain.


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The layer of the eye that is charged with receiving and processing images


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


A bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body


A tumor of the head that is made up of astrocyte (star-shaped) cells.

Courtesy of Original Article

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