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QueenOf6

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hi, my 10 y/o cat Lola suddenly developed a swelling on the right side of her neck/jaw. I didn't even noticed this. She is otherwise very healthy, got a clean bill of health from her vet this February. She is strictly indoor and alpha cat. On Wednesday 11/15/23 i noticed that she did not greet me at the door, which is unusual, she always meets me at the door. She also did not come out to ask me for food, also unusual, she loves eating. So i went to check on her, she was lying in her large bed, looking sleepy, so i encouraged her to come out and eat but she didnt want to be bothered. I let her rest and decided to get her into the vet next day. I brought her in on Thursday 11/16/2023, the vet ran labs, took images, we were thinking it might be a GI bug or something. During the exam, the tech noted swelling right side of neck which prompted imaging. The vet said it was soft tissue with no bony involvement. Labs didn't show white count. She was given shot of convenia and we went home to continue monitoring. She ate when she got home and then went to bed. Friday, swelling was now more noticeable. Saturday a little more worse, she didn't eat much. I decided to take her to the ER because who known what will happen on Sunday. The vet in the ER ran labs, Lola was febrile with fever of 105, she had leukopenia with suspected bands and low platelet count, picture looked infectious. The vet decided to sedate her then shave her to take further look in her mouth. She also took images and was concerned that opacity of soft tissue was same as rest of her body, she was thinking tumor more than infection. She said her teeth didn't look bad enough to be causing this infection and she could not find an area to lance. Also she was concerned about grayish looking tissue in the back of the mouth on right side further concerning for tumor. She told me to follow up with primary vet for biopsy to see what this is. She sent us home on buprenorphine for pain and clindamycin. A day later, the swelling seems about the same if not worse, she is not able to fully close her mouth, she is now drooling. She is in so much pain that she is unable to eat. She wants to eat but unable to bring her head down. Ive done everything to accommodate her, but she starts growling at me and moves away. i dont want to stress her too much.

I have so many questions. I did have a discussion with ER vet, she says this could be a really bad infection but possibly a tumor. I asked her if tumors pop out of nowhere and grow this fast? she said they do what they want to do. I've looked online, didn't find much. This think popped out of nowhere, overnight, and grew, and is sore and painful. Nothing about this sounds like a tumor. I feel like we are losing time. I took tomorrow off from work so i can get her in to see a vet ASAP. i will post pictures so you can see evolution of this swelling. I am just looking for information, see what you guys think? i am feeling so confused, sad, heart broken. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

Norachan

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I'm so sorry to hear that Lola is sick.

In my experience tumours can grow remarkably quickly. One of my cats developed a tumour on her cornea a few years ago, that resulted in her needing her eye removed. By the time the stitches were removed there was already a slight swelling below her ear and by the time her fur had grown back the tumour was much bigger. Unfortunately she didn't survive.

My main concern right now is that Lola is unable to eat. If cats stop eating they develop fatty liver disease and that can be more serious than whatever caused them to stop eating. She also sounds like she needs some pain management.

Can you call your vet now, explain the situation and ask if they can either give her enough pain medication that she will tolerate syringe feeding, or if they think tube feeding would be an option?
 
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QueenOf6

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I just gave her more pain meds, she’s on buprenorphine which I was told to give 6-8 hours but I’m giving her 4-5 hours. She has an appetite, she wants to eat but unable to bring her head down. Last full meal was at 2am Sunday morning, I’m trying to get her to eat now. She is seeing the vet in the morning. Besides this swelling, there are no other swellings or abnormalities on her body. Her labs were normal except for the white cells being low with bands due to possible infection. I am truly shocked how quickly this hapnd. I duno what I’m going to do without her! She’s been my buddy since she was a year old, we have lived life together, she is my shadow and my heart. I am so shocked, hoping and praying this is not a tumor.
 
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QueenOf6

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the last image is the most recent one
 

IndyJones

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Where do you think?
Are you able to elivate her bowls a bit in the meantime? Maybe place a couple books underneith them so she doesn't need to bend her neck.
 

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Can you try syringe feeding her?

You need a large syringe, without the needle, and some soft wet food. If you can get it Hills A/D is perfect for this. If not mix her regular wet food with some warm water and put it through a blender until it is soft enough to go through a syringe. There's a video here that shows you how, lots more on YouTube.


I'm so sorry. I hope it's not cancer. You focus on trying to keep her comfortable and get some food and water into her for today. Fingers crossed from some good news at the vet tomorrow.
 
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QueenOf6

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She has elevated bowls, I’ve held them up to accommodate her, I’ve tried syringe feeding, hand feeding. She’s on puréed food which I blend myself. I’m giving her whatever she likes eating. Right now she’s very irritated so I will let her settle down and then try again. This mass is hard kind of and it might be painful for her to open her mouth. I am doing my best to comfort her, I don’t think it’s enough.
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. I am afraid syringe feeding is only going to hurt her. If she was my cat, I would try to take her back to the ER. If you think she can wait, then wait till morning. If she was my cat, I would be fairly generous with the buprenorphine. This looks horribly painful. Please don’t do anything that stresses her or causes her to expend energy. She needs everything she has to get her white blood cells back.
Be sure that you tell your vet or any vet about the lack of platelets and WBC before they touch her. She is at a great risk for bleeding internally and externally.
This lump was found before they ever drew blood right?
Did any of the vets mention this might be a lymph node or have lymph node involvement?
Has anyone given her steroids?
 
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QueenOf6

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Hi. I am afraid syringe feeding is only going to hurt her. If she was my cat, I would try to take her back to the ER. If you think she can wait, then wait till morning. If she was my cat, I would be fairly generous with the buprenorphine. This looks horribly painful. Please don’t do anything that stresses her or causes her to expend energy. She needs everything she has to get her white blood cells back.
Be sure that you tell your vet or any vet about the lack of platelets and WBC before they touch her. She is at a great risk for bleeding internally and externally.
This lump was found before they ever drew blood right?
Did any of the vets mention this might be a lymph node or have lymph node involvement?
Has anyone given her steroids?
this swelling is large and painful, it is clearly difficult for her to open her mouth. I have only offered her food, haven’t forced her becauSe of this situation. She was eating the lickable tuna but she has stopped since last night. She is not panting, she is lying still in her bed. I have not seen her close her eyes completely in over 24 hours.

the labs were checked twice, and yes second draw was worst with low white count, suspected bands, and low platelets. Lump came before the abnormal labs. I don’t think pain meds are doing much. The vet said she didn’t feel comfortable loading her with pain meds because were still trying to figure out what’s going on.

we are going back to our regular vet today to talk abt the next steps like biopsy. I hope it’s not a malignant tumor. It sounds Like an infection but she has not improved on clindamycin, she’s had three doses so far. If it’s a bad infection, it probably needs iv antibiotics.

Her vet gave her 3 day supply of onsior on Thursday, and last dose was Saturday night. She can start steroids on 21 after the washout period. Onsior is a nsaid and mixing with steroids increases risk of gi bleeding.

From your latest picture her mouth looks stuck opened, is she panting/choaking or is it just the angle?
She’s not choking. I called the ER vet because I was concerned abt airway obstruction, and she said this was not a concern due to location of the mass. It’s by her last molar on right side between the upper and lower jaw.
 

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It sounds as if you've done everything you can to keep her comfortable. I hope the vet has some answers for you today, fingers crossed that it's something treatable.

Please keep us updated. We're thinking of you.
 
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QueenOf6

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She was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma this morning. The vet recommended I put her to sleep. He said getting oncology involved would be a mistake as this is aggressive and by the time they do anything, she’ll be far gone. I know this thing is aggressive, I tried to open her mouth for meds a few minutes ago and the right side looks horrible, it’s dark, gray, blood tinged drool, difficult to open. I am going to have to bury my child against my will. Life has cornered me.

we are flying home tonight to my parents, I want her buried with the others in NY. It seems selfish but I don’t want to cremate her. I live in florida, I have not laid down roots here so I don’t wana bury her in a random place. I called the vet for sedation so we’ll do pain control as much as possible. Our flight is about 2.5 hours.
 

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I am so sorry to read this. Please remember that we are here for you and that we understand how horrifying this is.

As I read this, I wondered about SCC because I lost an indoor only cat, Matilde, to that several years ago. The first sign that anything was wrong came out of nowhere, just as with Lola a swollen face. We did a biopsy which only caused more pain and she was gone within a week. My own feelings are that going further with this condition is futile and painful. I still regret even allowing the biopsy on Matilde.

Going back home to allow her to rest with your other pets is a beautiful way to honor Lola.
 

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I'm so sorry. I also lost a beloved feline friend to this type of cancer. I made the same decision as you are, for the same reasons. I miss him desperately to this day, but remind myself that I was lucky that I was able to give him the gift of a peaceful end. Hugs to you. I am sorry.
 
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QueenOf6

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Lola and I flew home last night, she did pretty well during the flight due to pain meds and sedatives. She was able to eat and drink when we got home. One of my brothers saw her and he said this is an abscess and we need a second opinion. I sort of ignored him but he asked me good questions like is this confirmed cancer? Was biopsy performed etc.? I told him she’s declining so fast that I don’t want to put her through anything further. But man, he was convinced and was adamant abt second opinion. He called me at 7:30 this morning to be ready and we were on our way to an animal hospital here in Brooklyn, NY. I didn’t have much hope, I thought at least we’ll get pain meds.

Lola was assessed by one of the senior vets, I told him everything except the cancer diagnosis as I wanted him to arrive at his own conclusion. He said the reports from florida vets were concerning but he wanted to do his own exam. He took her back, 45 minutes later he came back with exam findings and pictures, and informed us this was an abscess and it had started to drain. He found soft pockets around the hard mass and felt that it could be drained, so he drained from inside and outside. He said this was a really nasty and large infection with a necrotic core, he removed large chunks of dead tissue and showed me.

I almost put my cat to sleep today! This was a scary experience, but I am so so grateful to God for the current turn of events! We have a while to go, she will continue to drain for the next several days, he put her on clavamox twice a day, she continues with pain meds and warm compresses. I am just beyond relived, and ecstatic that I will be taking my cat back with me. This was truly a miracle!

Thank you guys for your words of comfort, they mean a lot to me ❤❤❤
 
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