Common paraneoplastic syndromes

Clin Tech Small Anim Pract. 2003 May;18(2):123-6. doi: 10.1053/svms.2003.36629.


Cancer has many effects on the veterinary patient. One group of syndromes that must be paid particular attention to is the paraneoplastic diseases. These are a group of changes that occur in the body at sites distant from the actual tumor. Paraneoplastic syndromes can affect many different body systems. Paraneoplastic diseases are important to recognize for many reasons. Often the paraneoplastic change is the earliest indication of cancer and, thus, neoplasia must be included on any differential list when typical paraneoplastic changes are found in the routine medical work-up. Paraneoplastic syndromes can also be used as markers of remission. Many of the paraneoplastic changes will disappear when remission is achieved, and will reappear once the period of remission had come to an end. Identification of paraneoplastic changes is also important in that often they must be treated before treatment of the primary disease can occur. Treating the remote effects of cancer will increase quality of life. Although many different paraneoplastic syndromes exist, hypercalcemia, hypoglycemia, cachexia and anemia are the most clinically significant in the veterinary patient. Chronic treatment most commonly involves removal or treatment of the primary or inciting neoplastic process. The acute treatment of these syndromes can occur quickly. Rapid identification and treatment will allow the patient to have a better prognosis and will help to improve quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Hypercalcemia / veterinary
  • Hypocalcemia / veterinary
  • Hypoglycemia / veterinary
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / veterinary*
  • Veterinary Medicine