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my cat was just diagnosed with possibly having cancer

spazsmom
May 21st, 2008, 12:12 PM
he's 14 years old and has been losing weight. the vet thinks it's cancer. he's being treated currently for a urinary infection with baytril and has lost his appetite and another pound, down to 5 pounds now. the vet thinks it's very likely he has cancer. i'm worried sick about him. he seems to have really gone downhill since starting Baytril. he's very spoiled and i'm very attached to him. i just lost my father to cancer two months ago and now my cat might have it? i'm devastated. how long will he live w/ cancer if that is what he has? what am i to expect in the next few months as far as decline in his health?

sugarcatmom
May 21st, 2008, 12:37 PM
What tests has the vet run, or is he just guessing that it's cancer because of the weight loss? I would want something more definitive than that. Lots of cats lose weight for lots of reasons, cancer just being one of them. You might want to go for a second opinion, and perhaps a consult with an oncologist if cancer really is the issue. And depending on the type of cancer, chemo is often well tolerated by cats, so I wouldn't give up just yet. But do pursue this more aggressively - just taking the vet's word for it he "thinks it's cancer" wouldn't wash with me.

spazsmom
May 21st, 2008, 12:45 PM
Thank you so much for the encouragement. The vet didn't run any tests, other than blood tests, which were all normal. She said they could do an ultrasound, but that will cost $300. They are basing it on the weight loss. Do you know of other causes for weight loss? He's never been a big cat; at his heaviest, he weighed 9 pounds. He was 6 pounds before he went on Baytril, now he's down to 5 pounds.

sugarcatmom
May 21st, 2008, 01:18 PM
Diabetes, hyperthyroid, renal insufficiency, etc can all result in weight loss in an older cat, but I'm assuming those were all tested for in the blood and urine work-up. Also, nutrition can play a big role, with low-protein senior diets resulting in muscle wasting. What do you currently feed Spaz? How long has he been on Baytril?

spazsmom
May 21st, 2008, 01:32 PM
currently, IAMS hairball care. the vet just put him on hills id wet food, and is going to be putting him on steroids, which will hopefully get him to gain some weight. he had all the tests that you mentioned, with the thryoid level being borderline. they tried him on some pills for his thyroid, and then it was too low, so they stopped those.

spazsmom
May 21st, 2008, 01:33 PM
he's been on Baytril for 5 days and has gone downhill since being on it. i'm very hesitant to give it to him.

badger
May 21st, 2008, 01:47 PM
Appetite is so important in older cats, I would ditch the Baytril and ask for another drug - there are many. Do NOT give him Cipro, an appetite stimulant, it is contraindicated for cats with urinary problems.
Just by palpatating an animal, a good vet can generally get an idea of how healthy his kidneys are; renal insufficiency is unfortunately very common.
Was he eating normally before being put on the drug?
I have a 13 year old rescue (who is probably mine now :lovestruck:), quite skinny, not interested in food. Two weeks ago he was put on a tetracycline/neomycine/prednisone combo which did wonders for his appetite. I was concerned that he would stop eating when the drugs were gone but his appetite has not only held, it has increased! He still has failing kidneys and is on 100% canned food to help him with that.
I agree that you should look carefully at his nutrition. Plenty of experts here to help you. My vet gave him Hills for kidney problems as well, wet and dry. After a few days, he wouldn't eat the canned. The dry has never been opened and will be returned. I would stay away from dry food, period.
Funnily enough a couple of days ago, Mousse brought up a huge hairball, which may have been part of his problem. If your cat is prone to hairballs, try some of that tasty gel on his paws.

spazsmom
May 21st, 2008, 01:57 PM
the vet said his kidneys were a little enlarged, so they took a clean urine sample via catheter, and the results came back normal. hopefully, the steroids will increase his appetite and he'll gain weight and be back to normal again. i talked to the vet about stopping the baytril, and she suggested giving him half doses to see if that makes a difference, but i'm hesitant to do even that. she suggested possibly zenoquil -- does anyone know anything about that antiobiotic?
thank you for the encouragement.

14+kitties
May 21st, 2008, 02:58 PM
No suggestions. Just wanted to say good luck with your baby. :grouphug: It's tough. I am so sorry about your dad.

sugarcatmom
May 21st, 2008, 07:16 PM
currently, IAMS hairball care. the vet just put him on hills id wet food, and is going to be putting him on steroids, which will hopefully get him to gain some weight. he had all the tests that you mentioned, with the thryoid level being borderline. they tried him on some pills for his thyroid, and then it was too low, so they stopped those.

Couple things - I would ditch both the Iams and the Hill's I/D. For starters, dry food is not the best choice for cats because it's way too high in carbohydrates (cats are obligate carnivores and need little to no carbs in their diet), and also because it's, well, DRY. Felines have evolved getting all or most of their water requirements met through diet (nice juicy rodents, birds, lizards etc). They have a naturally low thirst drive and a cat fed only kibble is chronically dehydrated, which sets them up for a whole host of problems (kidney and urinary tract issues at the forefront).

The other thing about carbohydrates is that those are what cancer cells feed on. So if cancer really is in the picture, you want to minimize carbs as much as possible. Which is why, IMO, I wouldn't feed the Hill's I/D. Even though it is a wet food, it doesn't have great ingredients (contains corn and rice flour) and is still terribly high in carbs (24% of calories - cats should be getting less than 10%). Why did your vet prescribe I/D? It's typically used for gastrointestinal disorders (vomiting, diarrhea).

It may not be prudent at this point to stress your cat out with a big diet change, but if you can slowly incorporate some higher quality, meat-based wet food into his diet, that would be my recommendation. Some good low-carb options are Wellness (http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_wellness_can_index.html) (grain-free varieties only), Nature'sVariety Instinct (http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/cat_wellness_can_index.html), Innova Evo 95% meat (http://www.evopet.com/), or By Nature Organics (http://www.bynaturepetfoods.com/productpages/catmain.php). If you need tips on transitioning Spaz over to a better diet, this link might help: http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitioning_Dry_Food_Addicts_to_Canned_Food_
And for an overview of why wet food is better than dry: http://www.catinfo.org/

My other concern is about the HyperT. It could be that Spaz just needs a smaller dose of Tapazole than he was originally prescribed. An older cat with T4 levels at the high end of normal is worrying. There's a bunch of info and links here that you might want to check out: http://www.felineoutreach.org/EducationDetail.asp?cat=HyperT


Diagnosis

Unfortunately, hyperthyroidism is often not diagnosed until later stages – when the cat is very thin and has a poor coat.

Hyperthyroidism is often diagnosed with a blood test. A “total T4” or simply “T4” can be diagnostic. Care must be taken in evaluating T4 levels, as the reference range used by labs include young healthy cats. For cats over 10 years of age, T4 levels should be in the lower half of the range, and they should decrease over time. T4 levels in the upper half of the range, or increasing over time should be regarded with suspicion. The “free T4” blood test can also be useful in diagnosis.

In some cases, total T4 and free T4 are in normal range or inconclusive. A technetium or scintigraphic scan by a specialist can provide absolute diagnosis.

Winston
May 21st, 2008, 07:31 PM
I had my female on zenoquil and unfortunately it did not take the infection away. SHe had blood in her urine..ended up trying 2 more antibiotics before it went away. I think all cats are different with the meds though! Good luck with your little one!

Cindy

badger
May 21st, 2008, 09:57 PM
very interesting post sugarcatmom, and a big help to me as well. thanks.

spazsmom
May 22nd, 2008, 08:28 AM
he was put on hills because he has trouble digesting wet food - i've tried several other varieties and he always vomits it up. he's doing better today. i think he was od'd on baytril. he's not 100% my spazy, but he's slowly getting better. he was put on steroids yesterday, so hopefully that will help him gain weight. thank you for all of the helpful advice and the links, sugarcatmom.

badger
May 22nd, 2008, 09:12 AM
Hang in there, Spazsmom, one day at a time. I'm glad you took him off the Baytril, particularly after Dr. Lee weighed in. In Mousse's case, the steroids took a couple of days to work. He is now asking for food :), but I only give him small amounts.
I don't know which canned foods you have tried. Have you thought of boiling him a little plain chicken?

spazsmom
May 22nd, 2008, 09:23 AM
thanks, badger. i'm hanging in there as best i can. i haven't tried chicken yet; thanks for the suggestion. i've tried fancy feast and iams canned food. he's not vomiting the hills.
who is dr. lee?

Love4himies
May 22nd, 2008, 09:27 AM
I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. Baytril is too hard on senior cats. :grouphug: Hope all turns out well for your kitty.

badger
May 22nd, 2008, 09:30 AM
Oops, he discussed Baytril on another thread.

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=595894&highlight=renal#post595894

Dr. Lee is our 'resident' vet; we are so lucky to have his input.

spazsmom
May 22nd, 2008, 09:54 AM
thanks, badger. i forgot i put something on that thread, with all the stress of thinking spaz may have cancer.