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smithduke May 7th, 2009 04:43 PM

My vet is 99% certain my cat has intestinal cancer
My 15 year old cat Howie has lost some weight recently and started having major diarrhea. A bland diet and Flagyl didn't help so he had a biopsy today. The vet just called and said his intestinal walls were very thick and his lymph nodes were swollen and "angry" looking. I won't know the results of the biopsy until early next week but the vet said he's 99% sure that he has cancer. He did say that sometimes these things can fool even the best vet so there still could be a chance he has a severe form of irritable bowel syndrome.:fingerscr

Has anyone had a cat with this type of cancer? If so, I'd like to hear how things went and what I can expect. I hope we will be able to spend more quality time with him but he's already uncomfortable and getting dehydrated from diarrhea. Poor baby! It's been nothing but bad news for our cats lately. In the past month and a half, I've lost my two twenty year old cats and now my Howie could be next! :cry::cry:


Jim Hall May 7th, 2009 05:45 PM

20and 15 wow you must take exceptional care of your friends

I havent had any experiance with this but i just wanted to wish you luck

im sure someone will be bye this thread to help

smithduke May 7th, 2009 06:55 PM

Thanks Jim. It's always wonderful to have support and caring! As my vet says, we grow our cats old. We found a stray cat in 1988 and the vet said he was about 7+ years old at the time. We named him Bob and he was the greatest, bravest and most loyal cat you could ask for. Bob would actually try to attack passing dogs being walked on a leash if he thought we were in danger! Our Bob passed away in 2006 and was at least 26 or more years old. He had no illnesses at the time but was just... old. What a life he had!!! :lovestruck::cat:

Like everyone on these forums, we love our cats very, very much! I have to admit, we've been very blessed to have had them live as long as they did!! Luck was on our side.

smithduke May 7th, 2009 09:52 PM

I think everyone must be tired of hearing from me in light of all my tragedies. Believe me, I wouldn't know what to say either if I were you. I just want to thank those who've read my posts and who've wished me well. :grouphug:

catlover2 May 7th, 2009 10:46 PM

Compliment yourself on taking such wonderful care of your cats---26 y.o. my goodness! I do hope you can get some help for "Howie". I had an almost 16 y.o. cat die a few years ago and her beloved 18 y.o. catfriend grieved and fretted over her loss for six months---meowing for her, insisting I open closet doors for her to look inside, and sitting in places her friend sat. When I got a kitten to keep her company she went downhill in a matter of a few months, even tho the kitten was very respectful of her. I wonder if Howie is missing his 20 friends a lot too? We can only give them as much love as possible and when its time for them to go to the "rainbow bridge" make it as comfortable as possible.

hazelrunpack May 7th, 2009 11:30 PM

Sorry to hear that Howie is ailing now, too, smithduke! :grouphug:

:fingerscr that the biopsy doesn't show cancer. Not that IBD is easy to treat, but it often can be managed easier than cancer.

Hang in there and see what the results are. You and Howie are in my thoughts and prayers.

growler~GateKeeper May 8th, 2009 02:28 AM

Hi [B]smithduke[/B] I'm sorry your kitties are having more troubles :grouphug:

[QUOTE=smithduke;777532]I hope we will be able to spend more quality time with him but he's already uncomfortable and getting dehydrated from diarrhea[/QUOTE]

Has the vet given/suggested either subq or IV fluids to replace the fluids lost? I would suggest you speak to your vet about it, dehydration can aggrevate other conditions as well as just making the animal feel awful.

Some links on cancer & IBD:

:goodvibes: for the test results :grouphug:

smithduke May 9th, 2009 12:02 AM

catlover2, how sad for your cats! That's what I worry about with Howie's "girlfriend" Jessie. They hug and spoon together and lay in bed with each other all day. I agree that losing our other girls have changed the entire dynamic of our house! There's a sense that something is missing and a sadness. Although we try to be upbeat, it's hard to know that Howie is sick.

growler and hazel, thanks for the wishes and advice. He came home today from his surgery and is on pain meds and antibiotics. The vet put him on a special diet and we just have to wait until the biopsy's come back. Despite his huge incision and effects of the anesthesia, Howie is doing pretty well. He just wants our love, kisses and hugs. Howie is a lovely boy and right now my hubby is in bed and Howie is laying next to him. I''m headed up there to give them both a big kiss.:lovestruck::lovestruck:

Thanks for all the wishes and support. I'll let you know how he's doing.:grouphug:

chico2 May 9th, 2009 07:58 AM

Smithduke,don't ever think that we would tire of reading your posts,whether it be happy or sad news:cat:
I am :pray:Howie will be ok,no ugly cancer:fingerscr
All your cats have had very long happy lives,I can only hope mine will live that long.
:pray:for good news fo sweet Howie:goodvibes:

hazelrunpack May 9th, 2009 09:27 AM

Howie sounds like a sweetie. Please do keep us posted on how he's doing.

When will you get the biopsy results back? The waiting is so hard. :grouphug:

smithduke May 9th, 2009 01:05 PM

The results of the biopsy won't be in until at least Monday. It seems like forever. Howie is on Hills Science S/D canned cat food and isn't allowed to eat any solids. Part of his intestinal tract is almost closed in some areas so solids would get stuck. He's also on Metacam for pain and Clavamox antibiotic. This combination seems to be really helping him feel better! So far he's not showing any signs of dehydration like he did before the surgery.

Howie is a very vocal cat and he meowed at me today for the first time in a week. It was a happy meow. :cat::D

I'm so happy I've found this website because it's like talking to friends who truly understand my love for my pets! :p:p

smithduke May 9th, 2009 01:09 PM

[QUOTE=chico2;777961]Smithduke,don't ever think that we would tire of reading your posts,whether it be happy or sad news:cat:
I am :pray:Howie will be ok,no ugly cancer:fingerscr
All your cats have had very long happy lives,I can only hope mine will live that long.
:pray:for good news fo sweet Howie:goodvibes:[/QUOTE]

[B]Thanks, Chico. My wish :pray: for you and everyone is to be able to have all your pets live a long, healthy, life. However long, I know it will be happy and loving!:2huggers:[/B]

chico2 May 9th, 2009 03:37 PM

Smithduke,you can be sure,that everyone here loves their pets,be it cats/dogs or whatever and every single one of us understand your worry about Howie.
I am glad he seems to feel better though:lovestruck:
Is there a reason he has to be on Hills Diet.if not I would recommend Wellness canned food,my cats all love it,it's grain-free,which I think Hills is not,Howie would love it:cat:

smithduke May 9th, 2009 08:47 PM

Hi Chico,

The vet put Howie on the Hills Science S/D and told us to mix it with some low sodium chicken broth to thin it out. I believe his food needs to be thin because parts of his intestines are almost completely blocked from the inflammation. I've never heard of Wellness food. Is it a prescription diet?

sugarcatmom May 9th, 2009 10:26 PM

I agree with chico that there are foods with much better ingredients than Hill's. Prescription diets are a big scam and vets really shouldn't be giving out nutrition advice, given their lack of knowledge on the subject. Here are the ingredients for S/D (which is typically "prescribed" for cats with struvite crystals in their urine, by the way):

[QUOTE]Pork By-Products, Pork Liver, Water, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Rice, Corn Starch, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Calcium Sulfate, Powdered Cellulose, DL-Methionine,.... [/QUOTE]

Heavy on the plant matter, low on quality protein. Completely inappropriate ingredients for an obligate carnivore, but especially one with intestinal issues. I strongly suggest finding a grain-free canned food like the [url=]Wellness[/url] that chico mentioned (there's a store locator on their website), or something with a novel protein source like [url=]Innova Evo 95% [/url] venison or duck, or [url=]Nature's Variety Instinct[/url] (which also comes in rabbit and lamb). The ultimate would be a raw food diet, which has saved the life of many a cat suffering from bowel inflammation. I urge you to read this link: [url][/url]
And here is more info on feline nutrition in general: [url][/url]

Also just want to add a warning about the Metacam. Has your cat had blood work and a urinalysis done to check how his kidneys are doing? Metacam has been known to cause kidney damage in some cats and should never be used in cats with pre-existing renal insufficiency. Buprenex or Fentanyl are safer choices.

Magicwildwolf69 May 9th, 2009 10:34 PM

I've never had a cat with this issue but then again my older babies are just turning five in july. I hope they live as long as yours have! lots of :goodvibes::goodvibes: for the test results and that it is good news.

TeriM May 9th, 2009 10:37 PM

I don't have any advice but wanted to send some hugs and good vibes your way.

:grouphug: :goodvibes: :goodvibes: :grouphug:.

Love4himies May 10th, 2009 06:31 AM

Awww, smthduke, I am so sorry :sad: :grouphug:. The wait to get the test results can seem like forever.

I agree with sugarcatmom, a better quality food that is appropriate for a carnivore may be better for your kitty's digestion.

pbpatti May 10th, 2009 10:19 AM

I just wanted to send my :grouphug::pray: that your Howie will get better. pbp

chico2 May 10th, 2009 03:58 PM

Smithduke,Wellness can be found in most pet-supply stores,not in grocery-stores and places like Wal-Mart,you are in the US,so I am sure you can find good quality food.
Mine love the Wellness No-grain(cats don't need grains)but there are several others you can try,equally good,you can still dilute the food with the broth.
Check your phone-book,I am sure you have specialized pet-food stores where you are.
Wellness is not cheap,but I am sure neither is the vet-food,my vet don't even suggest Hills to me,he knows I would never feed that to my cats.

smithduke May 13th, 2009 11:17 PM

Hi Chico,

I found the Wellness food at our small pet store in town. Howie LOVES it! As a matter of fact (not to be gross) his stool was semi-solid rather than a river. TMI, eh? Anyway, thanks for the recommendation!! Your support means a lot to me! :lovestruck:

Bad news first...Howie's biopsy came back and he does have cancer. It's not one nodule but throughout his intestinal tract.

Now, the good new...our vet said it's a low grade cancer and he can end up living for a good while. He's having the biopsy tested further to see what grade it is. One grade is better than the other but I forgot which was which.

More good news...Howie is his old self again, which is baffling to me because the vet didn't really do anything except the biopsies and put him on the Hills Science S/D and antibiotics. He is ravenous, like he's been since he was a kitten, and meowing more and more (in a happy way). Today Howie was playing under the covers on the bed with me and attacking my hand. Could it have anything to do with the diet? Hmmmm...that's what I'm thinking!!! :cat: The extra love we've been showering upon him helps!!!

For everyone else who's responded, I so appreciate your great advice, hugs and wishes ! :thankyou: :lovestruck:

As much as the news was sad today, I'm happy that my Howie has some quality time left and is feeling great! I'm hoping for a miracle!!! :pray:

growler~GateKeeper May 13th, 2009 11:53 PM

I'm so sorry about the cancer diagnosis :2huggers: :sad: I have my :fingerscr it is the lowest grade possible :goodvibes: I wish you to have many many more good years with Howie :goodvibes: :grouphug:

If you haven't already I would suggest a read through [url][/url], it is a site written by a regular person whose cat had cancer, lots of good tips/info in there.

One thing with diet, is finding a higher protein, higher fat but low to no carb diet as cancer seems to "feed off" of carbs.

smithduke May 14th, 2009 01:26 AM

Thanks Growler!

Great advice. I've seen a big change in Howie since I've started feeding him the Wellness food and I'm convinced that it's helped him immensely! Interesting about cancer and carbohydrates... It sounds logical since cats are mainly carnivores. I'm going to continue with the Wellness food (Thanks to Chico) and see what happens. Thanks for for info on the website! :pawprint::thumbs up

zztopp May 14th, 2009 05:39 AM

That is wonderful that the cat food change has helped so much! Our dogs are on the Wellness brand of food as well and they love it ... I've seen such a positive change in them :)

There are many ways to manage cancers. I would suggest also looking into some homeopathic remedies that could help.

In the horse world, when we want to send special prayers and positive thoughts to someone and their pet, we send 'jingles,' which are made from the sound of the chain on our bits. So, all of us at the farm both two- and four- legged are sending our jingles to you and Howie that his cancer is mild :)

- S
Black River Farm

hazelrunpack May 14th, 2009 09:25 PM

I'm sorry you didn't get better news, smithduke, but I wish you and Howie many years together and all the best! :goodvibes: It's so good to hear that he's perked up and is feeling better! :thumbs up

chico2 May 15th, 2009 07:17 AM

Smithduke,I am very sorry about the cancer:sad:
Even though it's bad news,now you know and Howie and you will hopefully have a long time together.
Often times not knowing what is wrong can be worse than the actual diagnosis,cancer is certainly not what we want to hear,but now you can spend your time loving him,rather than tests,tests and more tests:grouphug:

smithduke May 18th, 2009 12:16 AM

Chico, you are so right!!! Since his diagnosis, I treasure every day with my Howie and he seems so much better. Love conquers all!!! I thank you so much for your insight!! :grouphug::lovestruck:

rubymillie May 20th, 2009 09:31 AM

Don't give up hope
I thought i would post an encouraging story for you.

Three weeks ago, my 18-month old cat (still just a baby in my eyes) was rushed to the vet with breathing difficulties. The vet thought it was heart failure, which is terminal, and I was given lots of pills for her. Two weeks later, she went in to the vet again, but this time he thought he felt a lump in her chest and stomach. She went in for ultrasound, biopsies and blood tests. Over the weekend she deteriorated sharply and i was convinced i'd lost her. On Monday 18th May 2009 she was diagnosed with thymic lymphoma with a seconary growth in the abdomen.

She started chemotherapy on Tuesday.

Today is Wednesday - she is currently sitting on my lap, having eaten a good sized lunch and sharpened her claws on my sofa! Her breathing has returned to normal and I even caught her grooming herself.

We are still not out of the woods - Ruby continues to fight for her life and although cure is not a possibility, I am hoping to get remission.

Cats respond well to chemotherapy - so I am sending you all my very best wishes that Howie can fight his cancer. He knows that you love him very much - and I think that cats have a desire to live. With that combination - he has the best possible chance.


smithduke May 21st, 2009 12:09 AM


I'm so sorry about your baby! You obviously love Ruby and that's what really matters to her!! Many people don't opt for chemo so I give you big hugs :2huggers: for going the extra mile. Like you've said, I've also heard that cat's tolerate chemo well, but my hubby, who is a big mush in most things, doesn't think it will work on Howie because he's almost 16 years old. I'm more the optimist so I'm going to work on convincing him to agree to the chemo. Just a suggestion...Howie has been a new cat since being on Wellness canned food! We ran out of it and gave him a commercial canned food and we saw a big difference in him, on the negative side. He was tired, quiet and wasn't is usual "Howie self"! We quickly started him back on the Wellness food and he perked right up. I think Wellness is the way to go, especially when you have a cat who is sick.

Please let me know how Ruby is doing! I send my prayers :pray: to her and hope she overcomes this horrible disease!!!

smithduke June 1st, 2009 09:03 PM

Rubymillie, After your post, I told my hubbie how well Ruby was doing after the chemo and he agreed to look into it. Thanks so much!

We're taking Howie to the vet on Thursday and I think we're going to opt for chemo. The biopsy showed he has a low grade intestinal T-Cell lymphoma. I read a report on treatment of cats with what Howie has. The results showed:

56% of cats achieved a complete response average remission duration of 897 days

39% achieved a partial response and had an average remission duration of 428 days

5% of cats had no response

Even if we can't give Howie a longer life, giving him a better quality of life will be worth it. The vet did say there are other treatments that can make him more comfortable in addition to chemo.

Howie is such a "young" cat for being almost 16 years old and he deserves every chance we can give him.:lovestruck:

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