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Diagosing Lucas

Airlies
March 26th, 2006, 10:07 AM
My cat Lucas is approximately nine years old. He is diabetic. He also has one eye that is discoloured. He was tested once for FIV and tested positive but I understand that a second test is usually recommended because of the high incidence of 'high false positives' in cats. I was told he would probably only survive another year and that was seven years ago so I'm hoping that was a false test. I did some research and wonder if it could be feline herpes since I once saw a cat with the same eye condition.

Believe it or not - poor Lucas now has more problems. I noticed he was doing this 'snorting' thing - like he was trying to clear mucus or something. It's not a cough. He started doing it more often so I decided to mention it to my vet on one of Lucas's frequent sugar checks. About the same time (a week or so ago) I noticed he was breathing more rapidly and it seemed a bit laboured (he sounded like he was purring, but I know he wasn't happy!)

The vet did a blood work up and a chemistry profile. Luke's kidneys are functioning very well (although at one time they were only functioning 30%), his heart is strong, there is no sign of pneumonia. His white and red blood cell counts are good. His appetite is good, he's still affectionate and grooms himself but the rapid breathing is obviously a concern. The vet then took an x-ray which showed (what he thought) was fluid between the rib cage and the lungs as well as a shaded area that the vet suspected was a tumour.

He tried to draw some fluid but was unsuccessful on two tries from both sides of Lucas. Luke is now on antibiotics (Clamavox) and a steroid (Novo-Prednisone). The steroid is to treat what may be inflammation in his lungs (instead of a tumour). This is his second round of antibiotics and he started the steroid on Wednesday evening (March 22).

I realize that rapid breathing and fluid are common signs of feline lung cancer but he doesn't have any other related symptoms. I don't want to put him through a biopsy since the vet said it's extremely invasive and hard to even get a sample at all. But I still want to do everything I can to save my cat as long as he's enjoying quality of life.

I would appreciate opinions on whether this is lung cancer (and if so, what is the prognosis) or if not (I hope!) what else if could possibly be.

Luke has an appointment on Monday afternoon and I want to be able to do what's best for him.

I wish I could post a picture of his sweet little face. He is an incredible cat and everyone falls in love with him. Even now, he comforts me when I am crying, touching my face gently with his little paw and smooching my cheeks. I can't bear to let him go but I can't bear to let him suffer.

Someone - please help!

mastifflover
March 26th, 2006, 10:54 AM
I am sure one of our very knowledgable cat lovers will probably have some answers or possibilites for you. I hope all turns out well we hate the C word

OntarioGreys
March 26th, 2006, 12:06 PM
Ask your vet if an ultrasound is possible means to check. It was a method that was used to detect for possible cancer in one of my dogs

My vet had notice that the abdominal region of one of my dogs looked a bit swollen , so he ask to do x-rays, the x=ray reveal that his spleen was very enlarged, bloodwork was normal, so we decided to do needle aspirations while he was under for a dental, but i was warned it may not reveal if cancer was present because you would need to take the sample from near the affected area, the sample came back negative so the next option to rule out was an ultrasound, I was told it can provide a clear enough image to pick up lesions if they are present, you may have to go to another vet hospital to have done as very few vets have ultrasound imagining equipment or they may be able to arrange a mobile unit to come by the hospital to do if this is an option. Approx time to complete the process was about 6 hours with prep time to shave , anethesia, ultrasound and recovery time, cost was around $300 for Sunny's ultrasound, fortunately not signs of lesions in his case, that was almost a year ago, he will need to go back shortly for repeat x-rays to see if it has enlarged further and then a decision willl be made whether to remove. The pic was taken the day after the ultrasound as you can tell they shave a fairly large area inorder to get the clearest and best views possible http://www.mypetpages.net/artists/1731/0/64205c8f875408c1e09e972648ff722d.jpg

justncase
March 27th, 2006, 10:17 AM
If your cat, at any point, received the FIV vaccine, he will always test positive for it. A downside to the vaccine. Vets and shelters can mistake a FIV+ diagnosis as proof that the cat actually has the disease when, in fact, it doesn't, it was only vaccinated against it. Some vets will advise euthanasia, and some shelters will put down an FIV+ cat on that basis alone. If your cat does not show the progressive symptoms of FIV, that may be the reason why.
If your vet tried twice to extract fluid from the lung area, it's possible that there was no fluid there to extract. Before making any kind of final decision , you might want to get a second, third, even a fourth opinion, in order to find out exactly what the problem is. Is it possible that your cat is asthmatic? Shortness of breath is one of the symptoms of asthma and could account for the laboured and increased breathing rate.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040207202508/http://acatsdesire.com/fiv.html

Airlies
March 27th, 2006, 10:36 AM
If your cat, at any point, received the FIV vaccine, he will always test positive for it. A downside to the vaccine. Vets and shelters can mistake a FIV+ diagnosis as proof that the cat actually has the disease when, in fact, it doesn't, it was only vaccinated against it. Some vets will advise euthanasia, and some shelters will put down an FIV+ cat on that basis alone. If your cat does not show the progressive symptoms of FIV, that may be the reason why.
If your vet tried twice to extract fluid from the lung area, it's possible that there was no fluid there to extract. Before making any kind of final decision , you might want to get a second, third, even a fourth opinion, in order to find out exactly what the problem is. Is it possible that your cat is asthmatic? Shortness of breath is one of the symptoms of asthma and could account for the laboured and increased breathing rate.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040207202508/http://acatsdesire.com/fiv.html

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

When Lucas was 'diagnosed' with FIV, there wasn't a vaccine available. The vet's prognosis was that Lucas could live up to a year and that he probably should be euthanized. I had just lost my 18 year old cat, Jake, to kidney failiure and Lucas didn't have any symptoms so I decicded to keep him indoors or allow him outdoors only with supervision in order to protect other cats. That was seven years ago.

As for asthma, the vet doesn't think that's Lucas's problem. Luke has been on Prednisone (a treatement for inflammation and asthma) since Wednesday evening and he's still breathing shallowly and rapidly (although maybe not quite as bad as before). He's also had two episodes of wheezing since he went on the medication which leads me to, sadly, believe that the Prednizone isn't working. ( Although I am starting to wonder if Luke has nasal tumors due to his snorting/snoring sound while breathing)

He's still eating very well, not hiding away and is still affectionate and interacts with people and my other cat, Max. I take all this as good signs but I can't ignore his continued breathing problem. He has an appointment at the vet's this afternoon so I'll update Luke's situation after that. I also e-mailed my local vet association to see if there's a feline cancer specialist in my city but no response yet. I'm not even sure if Luke HAS cancer but I'm doing as much research as I can. Unfortunately, I'm doing just as much crying.