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Cat with liver mass

February 20th, 2006, 09:03 PM
My almost 16 year old cat, Rascal, has been found to have a very large tumor attached to his liver. He has had no symptoms other than an enlarging abdomen. The vet specialist performed an ultrasound but was unable to do a biopsy due to pockets of fluid in the mass (most likely blood, she says). More extensive tests would have to be performed to see if he is a candidate for surgery. Rascal has always been very healthy and the vet thinks he would probably make it through the surgery in spite of his age, but is not necessarily recommending that he go through this since there are so many unknowns. She thinks we have a little time to think about it since Rascal is feeling well right now and has no abnormal function in any of his organs (as shown on a blood test). Unfortunately, I also have to think of the financial burden such tests and/or surgery would place on my husband and me. (He feels that Rascal is old and should just be left alone since he is not in pain right now.) I'd like some advice, and would a teaching hospital be an option if we decide on surgery? (UGA is two hours from me.)
Thanks - cacgolden

February 20th, 2006, 09:29 PM
I'm sorry to hear of Rascal's health issues. Has your vet given any prognosis of Rascal's quality of life if this is not treated? Or, if it is treated, the outlook for the quality of life after? Any indication of how rapidly his health would deteriorate? I feel for you having to face this and having to make such difficult decisions.

Lucky Rescue
February 20th, 2006, 09:34 PM
It's very difficult to decide what to do when you don't know if the mass is malignant or not.

Can the vet not take a sample of the fluid which he believes is blood and check for cancer cells?

It all depends on how aggressively you want to treat a 16 year old cat, and what the mass is composed of.

I'm sorry. I know this is a very difficult decision for you. I can only say that if this were my old cat, and the mass was malignant, I doubt I would do too much in the way of aggressive treatement.

February 20th, 2006, 09:54 PM
The vet was unable to get a fluid sample because she feared massive bleeding would begin - the only way they will be able to check for cancer is to biopsy it during surgery, if we go that route. Rascal seems so healthy to have such a huge time bomb in his belly. The vet's opinion is that a cat Rascal's age would probably not have a lot of quality time left even if this is successfully removed, which is still a question without a $1000.00 CT scan, lung x-rays to assure no spreading of a possible malignancy, and other blood tests to make sure Rascal can stand the surgery. If we did all of this and he proved to be eligible for surgery, then such a surgery is "possible but very challenging". It seems odds are stacked against us, but I keep wondering how a cat with such a huge tumor is still so healthy, gorgeous, and not exhibiting any symptoms of liver problems!
Thanks for the responses. This is my first time ever to participate in anything of this sort, so sorry if I don't follow proper protocol right away!

Lucky Rescue
February 20th, 2006, 10:09 PM
I"m glad you joined our forum. You'll get support and sympathy here!

From everything you say, I would not subject such an old cat to all that. Quality of life is more important than quality at this point.