lymphoma? or bad teeth...

coco23

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Hi,
I have a fourteen year old cat in bad shape. I took her to the vet for severe weight loss about two months ago, and the vet used blood tests (elevated lymphocytes) and an ultrasound to get a diagnosis of lymphoma. But it was never confirmed, that would require a biopsy. She has no signs of lymphoma other than the weight loss. No digestive issues, no vomiting.
She has been eating a lot, but these past two days she has been in a lot of distress. She lies like she has fallen over on her side, with her head resting on the floor, she is staggering, and she is extremely listless but is still eating a lot. Yesterday she was drooling, and was spending a great deal of time washing her face. Without any symptoms of lymphoma, I was wondering if it could be that she has an abscessed tooth or teeth? Wet cat food is bad for the teeth.
She is extremely emaciated, despite her appetite, and I have noticed that her stomach gets really hot. Would it be worthwhile to get her teeth done when her overall condition is so poor? Should I just resign myself to losing her? The vet is saying that her condition is due to lymphoma, but I could take her to a different vet to get another opinion about her teeth. It's odd, though, how her blood test a couple of months ago did not indicate an infection.
Thank you in advance for any advice.
 

daftcat75

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Sometimes the only symptoms of lymphoma is unexplained weight loss despite a normal or more than normal appetite.

If the vet is leaning towards lymphoma based on the ultrasound findings, I would trust that judgement. An ultrasound reveals thickening that is consistent with either IBD or lymphoma. A biopsy is usually needed to determine which one. But if she's not showing any poop or vomiting issues consistent with IBD, the thickening on the ultrasound combined with the weight loss is pointing fairly convincingly towards lymphoma. Skip the biopsy. At this point, it's more risk than reward. Any weight she might lose during the recovery from the surgery is not coming back until the lymphoma is in remission. A biopsy answers an either/or question. Your cat's symptoms are pointing much more towards one than the other.

Skip the dental too. If she's eating well, then it's not pointing toward dental issues. And wet food is not bad for cat teeth. That's a myth that dry food is good for teeth. Wet food is better for lymphoma because it has fewer irritating ingredients and is better digested.

The only second opinion I would seek here is if this vet did not discuss chemotherapy with you. Go find one who will. Chemo in cats is not nearly so miserable as it is in people. Please don't skip the chemo option based on your perception in human patients. Cats will experience few and mild side effects from chemo, if any at all. At the same time, many cats do achieve remission with the chemo extending their life without much or any negative impact to the quality of their life.

I trust the ultrasound finding. I think you're reaching or in denial trying to blame teeth or an infection here. Talk to the vet about chemotherapy or find one who will talk to you about chemotherapy.
 

LTS3

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Low B12 levels can result in weight loss. There is a specific blood work test for it. The vet has to specify it when submitting a blood sample.

You can seek out another vet opinion if you feel there is more going on that what the current vet says. Have the teeth checked in case there are any dental issues going on. A senior panel blood work should be done if that has never been done before.
 

T.O.

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Hi,
I lost my 14+ year old cat to lymphoma this past fall. I had some chewable b-12 that I went ahead and crushed up and put in his food once. Vet said it would help. It perked him up some. Helped balance his electrolytes.
I found out he had lymphoma because I was going to get teeth cleaned because he was uncomfortable eating. I never went through with it. It wasn’t his teeth.
I ended up having to get him softer, smoother food and wet it down more and more as it progressed. The treatment plan for him was a course of steroids. I believe we were too late in getting diagnosed for it to be effective. It was missed in an earlier vet appointment probably because of all the Covid restrictions and stress my veterinarian was dealing with.
 

T.O.

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Hi,
I lost my 14+ year old cat to lymphoma this past fall. I had some chewable b-12 that I went ahead and crushed up and put in his food once. Vet said it would help. It perked him up some. Helped balance his electrolytes.
I found out he had lymphoma because I was going to get teeth cleaned because he was uncomfortable eating. I never went through with it. It wasn’t his teeth.
I ended up having to get him softer, smoother food and wet it down more and more as it progressed. The treatment plan for him was a course of steroids. I believe we were too late in getting diagnosed for it to be effective. It was missed in an earlier vet appointment probably because of all the Covid restrictions and stress my veterinarian was dealing with.
I hope my story helps you
 

daftcat75

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I lost my Krista to lymphoma last summer. She had teeth issues. Those were incidental. They didn’t cause her lymphoma. She had IBD. She had pancreatitis. Those were manageable. The worst was the lymphoma. Because the weight loss was relentless. She was hungry all the time, eating twice what she used to, and still losing weight. It was frustrating that my vet wouldn’t prescribe chemo without the biopsy. I went over her head to the owner and founder of the practice. I said, “Look. We tried steroids like it was only IBD. That didn’t stop the weight loss. At this point our choices are a surgical biopsy knowing she won’t be able to regain any weight lost, doing nothing, or trying the chemo. The drug is less risk than the diagnosis.” Luckily he agreed with me. In Krista’s case, she also had liquid stools with her lymphoma. After the first dose of chemo, her stools firmed right up. Unfortunately for her, she wouldn’t achieve full remission until I finally eliminated all her trigger foods including the small amount of fish flakes I was using to get her to take her nightly steroid pill. If only I had switched her to transdermal pred sooner... When I finally did, she finally achieved remission. It was night and day. Her poops used to be multi-round affairs ending in barfing. She went back to being a perfect pooper pretty much overnight when I eliminated that final trigger of hers. Sadly, it wouldn’t last. It took so long and the steroids and weight loss took so much out of her that a bladder infection proved too much for her tiny, weakened body. 😿😭

B12 deficiency is a result of IBD/lymphoma. Not a condition that happens on its own. When a cat’s gut and butt is working as it should, they have no issues getting B12 from their diet. It’s when the gut has been changed by inflammation and disease that it becomes harder for cats to absorb oral B12 (even chewable supplements.) You can certainly test for a B12 deficiency. Or give the shots. But until you address the primary cause for the deficiency, what is causing the thickening of the intestines observed on the ultrasound, B12 alone will only do so much.

Please talk to your vet about chemo because you need to stop the weight loss.
 
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