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Cat has cancer - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

Brian in L.A.
May 3rd, 2006, 07:55 PM
Hi everyone. I'm new to this and appreciate your patience. Our 10-year old tom, Lincoln, started vomiting bright yellow fluid. Vet x-rayed him and found a "mass" in his belly. Today's ultrasound found 8-12 masses in his abdomen, largest being a walnut-sized one on his lymph node and somewhat smaller ones on his bladder and liver. Vet rules out surgery due to number of tumors. He's recommending fine needle aspirate to attempt to determine type of cancer and if it is treatable. My understanding is that if treatable, likely treatment would be radiation or chemo which would possibly extend his life 3 months to a year. 2 years ago, Lincoln developed fatty liver, and we had to do the tube thing. We thought we lost him, but we were given a reprieve -- until now. Our other 2 cats have cut him off, and in some ways it seems cruel to make him go through this trauma (again). In the last 2 days his appetite dropped off and all he wants to do is sleep, and we're worried again about the liver condition coming back. Vet is out until Monday. We're devastated. Does anyone have any words of advice or thoughts?

Lucky Rescue
May 3rd, 2006, 08:30 PM
So sorry to hear this. It sounds like you love your kitty very much.

I cannot tell you what to do, but only what I would do.

Our other 2 cats have cut him off, and in some ways it seems cruel to make him go through this trauma (again).

With so many tumours, especially the huge one on his liver, I also think it would be cruel to put him through any aggressive treatments and I would not do it. Quality of life is more important than quantity, IMO, if treatment is going to buy so little time that it's not worth it.

Again, so sorry. We all know how you feel.:(

May 3rd, 2006, 08:38 PM
i'm so sorry for you and your situation. i'm afraid i have to agree with lucky. to put your angel through so much agony for such a short life extension just doesn't seem worth it - to him or you. it's always hard to make that decision. we had to have our stray, bandit, put down a few years ago. he had kidney damage from being blocked. we did all we could for him, but he wasn't going to be getting any better and we couldn't stand to watch him starve himself to death (like yours, all he wanted to do was sleep).

please take comfort in the fact that your dear baby lived a good life and that you did everything possible for him. thank god he had you to take care of him! you'll see him again someday - i honestly believe that.

tracy :sorry:

Brian in L.A.
May 4th, 2006, 03:49 PM
Thanks so much for "listening" and for your support. Lincoln slept hiding under the bed all night, which would have been unheard of before this. We felt he was detatching and would have gone off to die if he was an outdoor cat. Still no food or water (about 3 days now), and his breathing was becoming rapid. Vet confirmed this morning that we'd have to treat both the cancer and the liver dysfunction and that it would be a long tough go of it. Vet also confirmed we'd have about a year at best. He has always been a big, strong, proud boy, and we just couldn't bear to see him whither away. After much soul-searching we decided to have him euthanized this morning. We had a great morning with him and let him roll around outside as much as he wanted. He went to sleep in our arms and that was that. He'll always be our boy.

May 4th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Brian,how sad,but you did the right thing for Lincoln,no more pain for him and he thank's you for it.:love:

Lucky Rescue
May 4th, 2006, 04:26 PM
You did the right thing, although I know how very painful it was for you. Yes, they have their dignity too and deserve to keep it.

It may not seem that way now, but your boy was oh-so-lucky to have such a loving and caring owner.

RIP Lincoln.

May 5th, 2006, 12:54 PM
so sorry to hear of lincoln's passing. it sounded as though it was for the best, considering his deteriorating health. thank god he had such a wonderful caregiver. RIP, dear lincoln.

tracy :sorry:

May 9th, 2006, 05:55 AM
Note from ADMINS: Our deep condolences on your loss. Lucky Rescue is right Lincoln was very lucky to have you.
Since our vet did answer this question, perhaps it will help others.

Answer from Dr. Van Lienden:

A biopsy will be required; some tumors/masses exfoliate easily when an ultrasound guided needle aspirate is done, and the diagnosis is readily obtained.

Other times, these needle biopsies do not collect anything diagnostic, especially if the tumor/masses do not exfoliate cells easily. You are likely dealing with lymphoma, and this could account for the inappetence (rather than hepatic lipidosis, as was likely the "fatty liver" you were referring to). However this just an over-the-fence diagnosis, these could also be multiple abscess secondary to various bacterial/parasitic/fungal agents, as well as other causes for these x-ray silhouettes/"masses".

For the sake of discussion, if there is significant tumor dispersal, then chemotherapy will be the likely treatment of choice--as opposed to hospice.

But you need an accurate diagnosis, therefore the biopsy sample collected will be key to the solution.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124