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Advice needed, cat with cancer.

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 08:25 AM
It is a very sad time for my family right now. My father's 13 year old cat Pasha has been diagnosed with cancer of the spleen and cancer of the skin.

My parents had surgery done because she had a big hole in her tummy that came out of no where. The vet did not know what it was, and all her bloodwork was good, so they preformed surgery and he removed two large masses, had to remove all the belly fat because it was full of nodules and also had to remove part of her back leg muscle. They sent the cat home with my parents and said to wait for the biopsy results in a week.

So the results came back cancer, the vet said that she may live for a day, a month or a year. He still feels that there may be a larger mass somewhere inside her because after all the trauma she hasn't lost a bit of weight.

The vet sent her home with some pain medication and told my dad that if she starts suffering to bring her in and it will be time to have her cross the bridge. Right now she is eating and going to the bathroom like normal. My parents said the only odd thing(other than her back leg being very tender from the missing muscle) is how much she is eating, she is always hungry.

Does anyone have any tips or advice on how my parents could make her last remaining time with them more comfortable? Is there anything they could be adding to her diet? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

clm
March 11th, 2008, 08:54 AM
I'm sorry, I have no advice. I'm so sorry your kitty has cancer.

Cindy

hazelrunpack
March 11th, 2008, 12:33 PM
I'm so sorry about your folks' kitty. :grouphug:

What are they feeding her? Sometimes a raw diet seems to help...but I'm no expert. :fingerscr that someone with some experience chimes in.

Love4himies
March 11th, 2008, 12:43 PM
The only advice is lots of love and to be cognizant of any changes that indicate the kitty may be in pain.

:grouphug: to you and your family.

rainbow
March 11th, 2008, 12:52 PM
I am so sorry to hear about Pasha. :grouphug: I have also heard that raw is best to feed for cancer pets. If your parents don't want to do that then I would suggest feeding one of the grain free brands. Other than that all they can do is enjoy the remaining time with her. :grouphug:

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 01:05 PM
They feed Wellness Chicken kibble and Wellness Wet all varieties. Been a few years of feeding that, before that they had Performatrin wet and dry.

They brought me all of her treats and kitty nip for my two kitties. I told them that she is not gone yet. My dad is just devasted, he lays on the bed and pets her all day.

This is my dad's only pet ever....and he is just a mess. I thought I would ask here because I have no experience with this.

She is still doing cat things....but doesn't have a lot of energy. I was just looking for some advice to pass on to them.

So sad.

rainbow
March 11th, 2008, 01:09 PM
Wellness makes a grain free formula called Wellness CORE. It should be eay to start feeding her that. Cancer thrives on carbohydrates (grains) so that's why a grain free or raw diet is best.

sugarcatmom
March 11th, 2008, 01:10 PM
First of all, I’m so sorry to hear about Pasha. How sad for you and your family to have to go through this.

Your parents might want to talk to their vet about something called “Pawspice Care”, a concept developed by veterinary oncologist Alice Villalobos. It’s along the same lines as hospice for people, trying to make the pet as comfortable as possible using different combinations of pain management and treatment protocols.

Quality of Life Care Program

"Palliative care should not be the last resort ..... or about giving up. It's about increased quality of life and enhanced coordination of care. It is not about dying. It is about living with cancer. It's not less care. It's more care."
Fred Meyers, MD, University of California, Davis School of Medicine

CONSULTATIONS
Individualized Quality of Life Care Program that considers both the pet care giver's level of ability and participation, while addressing the pet's comfort and medical needs.

CHEMOTHERAPY
Administration of the most current chemotherapeutic agents and protocols.

MEDICATIONS
All necessary medical therapy with treatments such as blood transfusions, electrolyte imbalance replacement, steroids, antibiotics and hormone therapy.

NURSING CARE INSTRUCTION FOR PET CARE GIVERS
Detailed instruction to pet care givers including administration of subcutaneous fluids, injections, application of pain control patches and all aspects of at home nursing care.

EFFECTIVE PAIN MANAGEMENT
Pain control through means such as use of oral medications, injections and patches.

ADEQUATE NUTRITION
Optimum caloric intake and nutrition through immunonutrition supplements, feeding tubes and excellent quality food sources.

ADEQUATE HYDRATION
Fluid intake through increased fluid consumption or subcutaneous fluids.

HYGIENE
Proper cleanliness through bathing, brushing, applying diapers and antibiotics for tumors.

MOBILITY
Maintaining muscle mass and healthy joints through walking, assisted swimming, harnesses, slings and physical therapy.

CONTENTMENT
Joy, mental stimulation, and interaction with their family through socialization, grooming and activities.


Here are some links to check out:
http://www.pawspice.com/
http://www.caninecancerawareness.org/html/EndofLifeCare.html
http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/oct00/s100100d.asp
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-practice-news-columns/bond-beyond/pawspice.aspx

And here’s a quality of life scale that may be helpful for evaluating level of suffering and determining when to make end-of-life decisions: http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-practice-news-columns/bond-beyond/quality-of-life-scale.aspx


As for nutrition, what is the cat eating now? It’s best to stay away from carbohydrates (for healthy cats as well, but especially where cancer is concerned as cancer cells feed on carbs). I wouldn’t want to stress Pasha out with a drastic diet change at this point if she’s resistant, but your parents might want to try feeding a quality grain-free canned food like Wellness, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Innova Evo 95% meat, By Nature Organics etc. (if they aren’t already). Some additional fresh meat like chicken or turkey (can be lightly boiled or broiled if they don’t want to try raw) would add easily digestible, high quality protein to her diet. Here’s a link to some nutrition info: http://www.zzcat.com/resources/nutrition.htm

All the best to you and your family, and I hope that whatever time your parents have left with Pasha is peaceful and filled with love.

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 07:34 PM
Thankyou very much sugarcatmom. I have passed the links on to my parents to check them out. My mom was a bit confused, her vet told them that they do not do chemotherapy for cats with cancer. But she is going to look into the info that you passed on.

I also passed on about cancer feeding off of carbs. They already feed wellness, I mentioned the wellness core and she will see if the pet store carries it. I imagine if they carry the regular wellness they should have that one too.

She had another appt today to remove the stiches. She has a bit of an infection in the incision, so the vet gave antibotics. He doesn't know how well her immune system will fight off the infection. He wants to see her every two weeks to check her health.

My dad was upset, I guess the vet said that he doesn't expect her to live much longer. He was crying and saying well she is eating, drinking and moving around why would she die? I told him to put the vet's words out of his head and just spend his time loving her and be with her. He said she purrs like crazy, I didn't have the heart to tell him that some cats purr when they hurt. I would rather him think of the purring as a good sound.

It's so hard to see a tough ol'farm boy cry. I feel so sad for him.

Thankyou once again for all the kind words and information. It's never easy but having help from others takes a bit of the sting away.

rainbow
March 11th, 2008, 07:45 PM
I also passed on about cancer feeding off of carbs. They already feed wellness, I mentioned the wellness core and she will see if the pet store carries it. I imagine if they carry the regular wellness they should have that one too.

If they don't have it they can get it in. Unless there is another pet store that already carries it. Like I mentioned, it's the carbs that they want to eliminate.

:grouphug: :fingerscr :goodvibes: :grouphug:

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Thankyou rainbow.

sugarcatmom
March 11th, 2008, 09:26 PM
My mom was a bit confused, her vet told them that they do not do chemotherapy for cats with cancer.

The vet was greatly mistaken. In fact, many cats do quite well on chemotherapy (most tend to handle it much better than humans do). It could be that chemo isn't appropriate for the type of cancer that Pasha has, but to say that they don't do chemo at all makes me wonder how up-to-date their vet is. Perhaps he could refer Pasha to an oncologist who could give your folks a better perspective of what's going on.

I also passed on about cancer feeding off of carbs. They already feed wellness, I mentioned the wellness core and she will see if the pet store carries it. I imagine if they carry the regular wellness they should have that one too.

Of course it's up to your parents, but I personally wouldn't feed any dry food, just canned. Even the grain-free ones like Wellness Core or Innova Evo etc, still have plenty of starches, just in the form of potato or tapioca. If Pasha really really likes her crunchies and they think it would be detrimental to her happiness to take them away, then that might be a different story, but cats really don't need any dry food at all.

My dad was upset, I guess the vet said that he doesn't expect her to live much longer.

I understand that the vet wants to prepare your dad for what's to come, but there are more compassionate ways to do this. Focusing on making Pasha comfortable and educating your dad on what to look out for would be a much better plan than just saying she's going to die soon. I feel so bad for your dad, I hope he can try to focus on the here and now, loving Pasha for all he's worth, rather than dwelling on her death. Give him a big hug for me.

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 09:50 PM
Pasha is not a real big kibble eater, she really is into the wet food. My parents added the dry kibble because they were told that feeding only wet would rot the teeth and the dry kibble would help clean the gunkies off. They only buy the little bag and maybe have to get another every 4 months or so.

I have one question, should they feed her as much as she wants to eat or should they stick with a normal feeding schedule? She is just so hungry right now.

They were having to hand feed her, with the drain in the incision and all those stiches (she had to be cut from privates to breast bone to remove all the lumps and nodules) plus that darn cone on her head, she had a very hard time moving around. Now the cone is off she wants to move, although still a little akward with a peice of her leg muscle missing. But she is leaving her sick bed and eating/drinking/using litter box all on her own now. She still needs help getting up on things, but my dad is more than accomodating in that regard.

Thankyou so much for your input. And I agree about focusing on the here and now.

sugarcatmom
March 11th, 2008, 10:20 PM
Pasha is not a real big kibble eater, she really is into the wet food.

That's great! Wet food is important for hydration, which cats eating dry food have trouble maintaining.


My parents added the dry kibble because they were told that feeding only wet would rot the teeth and the dry kibble would help clean the gunkies off.

Ya, that's an old myth that we're starting to realize isn't the case with cats. Dental health is more complicated than that, with genetics playing a big role. Some good info on that can be found here: http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=doesdryfoodcleantheteeth and here: http://home.ivillage.com/pets/cats/0,,p8ds,00.html

I have one question, should they feed her as much as she wants to eat or should they stick with a normal feeding schedule? She is just so hungry right now.

My feeling would be to let her eat as much as she wants, especially if it's several small meals spread over the day. This way the food doesn't overtax her digestive system all at once. She needs nutrients to keep up her strength and being ill can really sap your energy. But this is something the vet should probably be answering. I also wonder if there are some supplements (like Transfer Factor (https://www.4life.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?id1=1&id2=105) or Standard Process (http://www.standardprocess.com/display/2144.spi) )she could be taking to boost her immune system. Growler would be a good source of info on that.

But she is leaving her sick bed and eating/drinking/using litter box all on her own now.

Awesome! Those are very good signs. I also wanted to mention that while cats in pain do purr, it could also be that she's purring due to the meds she's on. Or perhaps she's trying to comfort your dad. Sometimes it's hard to know what they're really thinking, cats being cats.

dogcatharmony
March 11th, 2008, 11:22 PM
The vet told them to buy the MD food from them. That is why I came here for some advice because of all the knowledge. He never gave feeding advice other than that, I really don't think he expected her to make it to the appt. to get her stiches removed, after the surgery she was not in good shape at all.

My parents believe that all vets know everything.....I don't know much about the vet they go to. I bring all my animals elsewhere, and if I could talk them into considering maybe just speaking with another vet I would try.

loopoo
March 11th, 2008, 11:27 PM
my prayers are with your family and sweet pasha.. everyone here has given excellent advice. perhaps you could show your mother or father their way over to this site to check out? wet grain free is the way to go, she sounds likes she has real spirit.. and so good that she is wanting to eat, moving around and about..:grouphug: :goodvibes: for her