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Maybe Lymphoma Maybe Not?

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by giabean27, May 17, 2019.

  1. giabean27

    giabean27 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    6
    4
    May 17, 2019
    Suburbs of Atlanta, GA
    First time visiting this site and wondering about people who have been through issues with their cats having enlarged lymph nodes in the intestines. Our cat Polky Dottie (Pokie for short), is 12 and went in for his routine checkup last week. We noticed that he appeared to have lost some weight but he had no other symptoms of any kind. I mentioned the weight loss to the vet, and he had, indeed, lost 2 pounds since the prior year. She said she felt a mass in his belly and did an xray and normal blood work and urine. She said the xray looked like either a tumor or IBD, and his urine had bilirubin but all the other blood work that they could do in house looked fine. However, with the bilirubin, she was concerned about multi-system cancer. So, she sent off the rest of the blood work and called me back two days later with somewhat better news - all his numbers were within normal limits. His bilirubin and lymphocytes were high normal but within normal, and everything else was completely fine. So we scheduled a special ultrasound for the following day. Ultrasound showed "multifocal mesenteric lymphadenopathy" which is concerning for lymphoma and mild pancreatitis. So, the vet is saying it's almost 100% lymphoma and wants to send him off for chemotherapy. Here's the thing, though, we love Pokie so so so much, but he is 12, and the vet is telling me it's likely 6 months of weekly treatments and best case scenario is 2 years of life - best case - if everything is perfect. He HATES the car and going to the vet gives him major anxiety, and the oncologist is 30 minutes in the car each way, so our family is feeling like it would be a lot of stress for him and us, emotionally and financially (it can cost $1000 a month). Has anyone else gone through this? Were you glad you did the chemo if you did? Our other alternative is prednisone, but I'm being told that if we do prednisone, it eliminates chemo as an option. Just looking for thoughts/opinions. Thanks in advance.
     

  2. giabean27

    giabean27 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    6
    4
    May 17, 2019
    Suburbs of Atlanta, GA
    One more thing - he is acting TOTALLY fine - no vomiting, no poop problems. He's not eating a ton, but he is eating. He does not love having anyone touch his belly. Otherwise, he's acting completely normal.
     

  3. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

    5,587
    6,779
    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    Hi. Sorry to hear about Pokie's possible lymphoma. Have you considered getting a second opinion from a different vet practice? You can even get a copy of all of Pokie's records from the current vet to share with the second vet, and hopefully reduce some of the redundant tests/costs.

    I am also sorry you haven't heard from other members whose cats have been diagnosed with lymphoma. I am sure some of them will see this post in the very near future and offer their experiences. Until they do, perhaps you might want to read some of the previous threads that have been posted on this site about lymphoma?

    Search Results for Query: lymphoma | TheCatSite
     
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  4. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

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    3,334
    Sep 7, 2018
    The rule of thumb that I have heard for lymphoma vs IBD, if you're not going to do the endoscopy (and I don't blame you since most cats that reach this decision point are senior cats): if you can put weight back on a cat that's lost weight, it's probably not cancer. Easier said than done. Senior cats eat less but require more nutrition. Regardless of his diagnosis, he'd probably do well to switch to smaller meals, fed more frequently. That's how you'll get his calories up to overcome what he may be losing to poor digestion, whether it be caused by age or disease, or both. B-12 shots will also be essential to putting the weight back on. These are simple enough to give at home once you buy the supplies (less than $100) and learn how to do them (easy enough to learn from a Youtube video.) I would do these two steps (feed him well and B-12 shots) regardless of whatever else you may decide for him. Feed him for 30 calories per lbs and figure out how many meals you need to feed him to get him there. That sounds like a lot of calories because it is. Cats with an active disease process are going to need more nutrition. Senior cats are going to need more nutrition because their digestion tends to lose efficiency with age. Combine the two and your boy is going to need a lot of nutrition to get through this regardless of what the Drs think it may be. Getting his calories up and the B-12 shots will give him the best chance no matter what the diagnosis is.
     
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  5. squirrelymonki

    squirrelymonki TCS Member Young Cat

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    40
    Apr 20, 2016
    Florida
    My Greg is FIV + AND has intestinal cancer - the tumor he had was a visceral mast cell tumor. He's on Palladia and Prednisolone, and he's doing great. A 180 from the cat he was becoming. I think a second opinion is also a great idea. All in all though, your gut and instincts will yell you what is right. It's about quality of life as much as it is quantity. So don't feel bullied to go with treatments. But don't dismiss them either, if that makes any sense.
     
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  6. GPandS

    GPandS TCS Member Young Cat

    25
    69
    Apr 18, 2019
    west virginia
    sorry he is sick :( Mine has cancer, but it was breast cancer (mammary gland) she had the surgery, but now her breathing isn't 100%. so my vet thinks it may have spread to her lungs. she is as also 12 (will be 13 in September) The surgery (april 12)was hard on her, and she hates being in the car, and away from her sister. If I had the option of 6 months of weekly treatments to give her a few years at best, I would probably decline, my opinion is, for her, the car rides back and forth, plus needles, treatments, pokes, who knows what..every week, or even once a month.. making her feel bad, for no guarantee at a better life, I don't think I would do it. And I have the best vet around, and she is only a few minutes driving time. I would pick quality of life over quantity, especially at her age. once you weigh the options, you will come up with your answer what is right for you and your kitty. Make a list of pro's (MAY extend life a little, vet recommends) and Cons (costly, hates cars, may NOT work, may make sick) etc. As someone else suggested, a second opinion wont hurt either. Maybe you have less invasive options to help him get better/ ? Good luck and prayers.
     
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  7. daftcat75

    daftcat75 TCS Member Top Cat

    2,520
    3,334
    Sep 7, 2018
    Chemo doesn’t wreck cats like it does with people. Make sure you discuss that with your vet before you make a quality of life decision on that assumption.
     
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  8. giabean27

    giabean27 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    6
    4
    May 17, 2019
    Suburbs of Atlanta, GA
    Thank you! Yes, That's kind of how I feel with the pros and cons. We had a family meeting with my husband and I and our older kids who can understand what's going on, and everyone was in agreement that they don't think he would do well with weekly chemo treatments and long car rides, etc. Even my 13yo daughter who loves this cat more than anything in the entire world (She actually said "Sorry mommy, but I do love him more than anyone, even you" lol) said she wants to choose what's best for him and not what's best for the people, and she thinks he would hate the chemo and be so upset with us. Anyway, next step is to call and discuss options with the vet again to see if we can determine if it really is lymphoma or not.
     
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  9. giabean27

    giabean27 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    6
    4
    May 17, 2019
    Suburbs of Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for this! I had read some things about B-12 shots. Also, over the weekend, I read several articles about foods to feed a cat if they have IBD, and I went out and bought some canned food (Apparently, a lot of people swear by Fancy Feast chicken pate for some reason - because it's high in protein and easy to digest I guess), and he was SO excited and eating like crazy. I haven't seen him eat like that in a while. Good point on the small meals, though. I put a 3 oz can out, and he ate half of it and then came back like an hour later and finished it. So, I think I'm just going to split it up. I work from home, so it's not a big deal for me to feed him frequently if necessary.
    My vet has not recommended an endoscopy, but I do have plans to talk with her today so will ask. As for second opinions, I have a good friend who is a veterinary anesthesiologist in another state, and I told her about his test results and ultrasound results. Her response was basically that we need to sit down and have a family meeting to decide if we're ready to let him go. Obviously, that's no a substitute for an in-person exam, but I knew she would be honest with me about what she would think of test results like that.
    I guess if he weren't acting so normal, I would feel less weird about it, but something in my gut is just telling me not to let this go. So, I'm calling the vet with a new list of questions. :)
     
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  10. giabean27

    giabean27 Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    6
    4
    May 17, 2019
    Suburbs of Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for your reply! I have been doing lots of reading and research the past few days, and I think I feel better about where we stand. I don't want Pokie to be sick, but I feel better prepared to talk to my vet again versus my complete shock freak out from Friday.
     
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  11. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

    5,587
    6,779
    Jun 13, 2018
    Central FL (Born in OH)
    I am glad that you were able to get enough information to prepare for a another discussion/question session with your vet. And, I hope you receive some different options that you can consider. Please keep us posted! :vibes:

    We are rooting for Pokie and you!!! :cheerleader:
     
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