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Liver cancer in cats-looking for answers...

August 17th, 2007, 06:00 PM
Hello All-
This is my first posting to this site and I am here seeking wisdom from any of you, pet parent or veterinarian, who may be able to share your experiences on what to do in my current situation.

My beautiful 11 year old calico cat Allegra was diagnosed last week from ultrasound test with inoperable diffuse hepatic neoplasm...which in lay terms is liver cancer. The Veterinarians told me I could have a biopsy done to determine what type of cancer it may be and treatment options which appear limited to chemo. I was told that Alley's prognosis is not good (could have less than a month to be here with me and her brother cat Tucker) and after shedding an ocean of tears I have decided not to put her through any more tests or treatments other than things that will keep her comfortable and free from pain and suffering.

She is currently still eating and drinking a little bit each day (with alot of encouragement) is not in any respiratory distress, no jaundice, no vomiting or diarrhea,and still purrs and plays a bit, although she has lost alot of weight. She was never a good pill taker and the 3 medicines the vets gave me (anti diarrhea antibiotic liquid med, appetite stimulant pill and stomach soothing pepcid pill) she just wont take- despite trying to crush and put in food or syringe into mouth in tuna juice, my poor girlie wretches at the site of the syringe.

My question is this, if any of you have had to go through this with a pet I would greatly appreciate any advice regarding how to help Alley accept the medicines, any homeopathic treatments that may be helpful, and anything else I can do for my beautiful girl. Blessings to you all and your pets.. Beckah

August 17th, 2007, 10:34 PM
I'm very sorry to hear about your cat. My cat (Spooky) of 14 years had to be put to sleep last Saturday. She had liver disease. Liver disease supposedly is not painful to the animal. However, it can cause other problems that are. No autopsy was done, so I do not know if she had cancer or other specific disease. She did have some type of liver disease.

Has your cat had a complete blood workup to show the bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, ALT and AST levels? These ae all related to liver health. Spooky had high liver levels last summer when my wife and I took her and our other two cats for a checkup and teeth cleaning. Our vet did not seem to be overly concerned. Spooky was a rather large cat, weighing in at 16 pounds last summer.

In April of this year she started vomiting on a regular basis. Not just your typical hair ball or eating too much too fast. So, to the vet we went. Blood work and an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory for two weeks. She weighed 12 pounds. Back for more blood work in May and a follow up visit. Her liver levels had increased from last summer and from April. We asked what could cause the increase and the vet said it could be a number of possible diseases. An ultrasound would be necessary, but they did not have the equipment to do the exam and no other vet in the local area did either. Her weight stayed steady at 12 pounds in May. Even if an ultra sound exam could be done it might not show anything and even if it did, there was not much the vet thought could be done for Spooky.

Spooky seemed to improve and did not vomit or appear to be losing any more weight over the next two months. Last Friday afternoon I noticed she was having trouble breathing after she had finished eating. As soon as I put fresh food in the cats' bowls Spooky would come and eat. Last Friday was no different. But, after eating I saw her breathing was labored. She had been sleeping most of the day out my sight on a dining room chair. She would often curl up and sleep on the floor in my home office while I worked. On Friday she did not. Had she done so I may have seen her breathing problem sooner.

I called my local vet and took her over early on Friday evening. He did an x-ray. She had fluid in her lungs and chest. He also took a fluid sample. Spooky was given a Lasix injection and an anti-biotic as a precaution. When we got home and I let her out of the cage she appeared to have severe lameness in her left leg. Literally dragging it along. Her foot rolling under at times. It was if she had no feeling the leg. The only thing we could figure was she had a blood clot on the way home in the car.

Spooky passed a good bit of water, but was in pain and struggled to get into and out of the litter box. At one point she could not get out and had to be helped. She also had no appetite. Twice she walked away from tuna and wet cat food.

On Saturday we took her to an emergency clinic. There was nothing the vet could do for her. She was put to sleep. We buried her in in-laws' flower garden with a host of other family pets. I was crushed after having to put her to sleep. She was my best buddy for almost 14 years. He birthday is September 1st.

In the end you have to do what's right for your cat. It was a tough decision for us to make. Part of us selfishly want our animals to liver forever. But, they cannot. I have read many posts by pet owners on this board and most of them convey the same things I thought about. How did this happen? Why? What could I have done differently? After you get done with all those questions you realize you gave your pet a lot of years of happiness and love and attention. And they returned it to you.

You will be sad when your cat is gone. That just means that you cared deeply about her and will miss her a great deal. Over time your pain will ease. Each day I feel a little better. We still have two other beautiful cats. They are getting old, too. One is 12 and the other 14. The 14 year old was a companion to Spooky for all her years. She has been searching the house for her dear friend.

I wish the best for you and Allegra. I hope you do not have to make the decision we had to make last week. I wish nobody ever had to make that decision.

August 18th, 2007, 04:10 AM
Thank you for your reply Spooky1993. I am so sorry that you lost your cat. It is so hard to think they eventually have to leave us. I know the sadness you must feel and I hope that the memories of the good times with Spooky will fill your heart and ease the pain of loosing her.
As for the question about the liver tests, yes Allegra had a full blood workup prior to her ultrasound and one level did show up with slight elevation but nothing super alarming-thats why they did further blood tests and xray and ultrasound. I too had her checked annually and there was nothing that creeped up in the yearly checkups. It is just something that occurred over time and I didn't know until she started throwing up and having diarhhea. I took her for help as soon as she showed signs of being sick, but as cats do she probably hid her illness for awhile. Now I am just looking for anything that I can do to make this time for her pain free and try to spend as much quallity time with her as I can. It does help to know that others feel about their pets as I do and your reply has brought me some comfort to know I am not alone in all this so I do thank you for caring enough to reply. Blessings to you and your family... Beckah

August 18th, 2007, 11:57 AM
:cry: :pray: :grouphug:

It's always so sad to hear these stories... I hope that the rest of her days are full of your love and little suffering.:angel:

August 31st, 2007, 12:18 AM
Just wanted to thank those of you who responded to my earlier posting. I lost my beautiful Allegra girl to the liver cancer today. Was lucky enough to find a veterinarian who came right to the house to help her go to sleep. Alley just got sicker and sicker very quickly loosing all of her energy. Her last day we spent together out in the beautiful sunshine smelling the trees, laying in the grass, sleeping together. She got to make her transition lying in her own bed with her brother cat Tucker beside her and me holding her. I miss my beautiful girl terribly but I know she is in a better place. Blessings to all of you and your beautiful pets in the memory of my sweet Allegra..... Becky

August 31st, 2007, 06:53 AM
Oh Becky, I'm so sorry to hear about Allegra. You gave her the greatest gift of love and no doubt she'll live forever in your heart. :candle:

August 31st, 2007, 07:03 AM
Becky,so sorry..Allegra went to the bridge surrounded by love:rip: little girl

August 31st, 2007, 07:31 AM
I am so sorry for your loss but you did the best thing for her. Isn't wonderful those vets who will make house calls to ease the suffering of our loved ones. I have such a vet who did the same for my Snowball.

:grouphug: for you.

:rip: Allegra :candle:

August 31st, 2007, 12:11 PM
:sad: :grouphug: :pray: :rip:

September 1st, 2007, 08:43 PM
Thank you Sugarcatmom, Thank you Chico2, Thank you Love4himies, Thank you krdahmer for all your makes the pain of letting Alley go easier to bear knowing there are kind and loving people like all of you who take time out of your day to console someone you don't even know. Tucker cat a I are keeping each other company and moving through the grief of loosing our girl Alley :cat: :pawprint: .

You are all truly special souls :angel: and I wish the best for you now and always. Thankyou again....and goodnight.

Happy Birthday Rememberance (Sept 1)to Spooky cat from Spooky1993