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Small Cell Lymphoma (recently Diagnosed Kitty)

Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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My cat was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma via FNA back in late November. He is 14 years old (12.8 lbs.), and for many years we had trouble getting him to eat wet food. We believe that his diet of mostly dry food and also allergies and and intolerance of certain food contributed to this condition. Up until several months ago, he intermittently had sniffles and coughed, and we always thought those symptoms were related to the chronic feline herpes virus that he contracted when he was a kitten. His coughing became more regular about a year ago and that's when we started changing his diet a lot as we began to think that maybe he had allergies. Several elimination diets later, we discovered that chicken and seafood made his respiratory symptoms worse, and he also started to vomit more frequently. The doctors say that allergies don't present themselves with respiratory symptoms, but as soon as we started feeding him LID food, the respiratory symptoms 100% abated, but the vomiting continued, and after a week of daily vomiting, we took him to the vet. After the testing, but before visiting an oncologist, we had been instructed by his primary to continue feeding him LID food, but to try a novel protein. We immediately began feeding him Nature's Variety Instinct LID rabbit and no dry food, and his transformation began as his appetite increased and vomiting decreased. Then his oncologist prescribed Leukeran (2.5 mg. five consecutive days, then every other) and Prednisolone (5 mg. every day). He stopped vomiting his food, and he gained back any weight that he had lost. He is very playful, and his body looks muscular. His stool is perfectly formed, but sometimes he has a hard time passing it. Once he did vomit saliva when he was straining. We are giving him some canned pumpkin to counteract that constipation. After one month, his blood work was a lot better. We are hopeful for remission, but very concerned about long-term use of the drugs.

In the case of our cat, we truly believe that his diet had much to do with his illness. My cat's inflammation may also have been related to some of the other things that are found in cat food--carrageenan, guar gum, etc., but it's hard to tell--at least I know his current food doesn't have any of those things in it. We believe the first mistake we made was feeding him all the dry food that he requested for most of his life up until a few months ago. It didn't matter that it was premium dry food. Like a lot of cats, our cat is fussy, so it took a lot of effort to change his diet, but we are glad we tried.
 

Furballsmom

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Good for you and your vet - Go Team getting this kitty's life and system back on track!! One other nasty additive to look out for is menadion (a synthetic vitamin K). It's not easy to know, some cats live a long healthy life on kibble alone. Also, keeping in mind that a lot of manufacturers use the same ingredients and/or formulas in their dry and wet your cat could have had bad troubles stemming from the contents of a wet food so not to beat yourself up on that score. However in this case, whether kibble or an ingredient or several he has shown you exactly what worked. (Wish I could get my Big Guy interested in pumpkin, but that was a definite no).Thank you from the bottom of my heart for working with him to get things right!
 
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Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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Our kitty went for his monthly examination and CBC. All okay except some of the blood work was a little worse--neutrophils high, monocytes high, lymphocytes low. Both his oncologist and gp said those items aren't that important. Still it's hard to disregard from our standpoint since then neutrophils and monocytes were within normal limits last time. He continues to eat very well and is playful. The oncologist reduced his dosage of prednisolone to every other day. Next month's examination will include an ultrasound, so we'll know a lot more then. We continue to feed him Nature's Variety Instinct rabbit. He is on a monthly B12 shot, and once in a while we give him some canned pumpkin.
 

Mamanyt1953

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So long as his quality of life continues to be good, and it seems that it is, you are doing everything just exactly right. I know how worrisome those blood counts are, but...some changes are to be expected, and he is still "catting" with joy and gusto!
 

Mamanyt1953

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So long as his quality of life continues to be good, and it seems that it is, you are doing everything just exactly right. I know how worrisome those blood counts are, but...some changes are to be expected, and he is still "catting" with joy and gusto!
 
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Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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Our Ginger Man is doing well. He recently went for an ultrasound which showed improvement. The vet decreased his prednisolone to 2.5 mg every other day, and he is still on 2.5 mg of Leukeran every other day. His appetite remains strong, and he is very playful, though he sleeps for many hours. He doesn't vomit his food, but we noticed that four or five hours after taking Leukeran he spits up saliva/bile. This usually happens after upon waking after having slept for several hours. It doesn't always happen, but I realized it had to do with how much food he had in his stomach before and after he gets the Leukeran. As long as he has a full stomach, he doesn't spit up later. So, we just make sure he eats a lot. We do have Cerenia as a back-up, but I haven't had to use it since the full stomach method works. His diet still consists of two cans of Nature's Variety Instinct LID (rabbit). He also continues to receive a monthly B12 shot.
 

Kitten70

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Jul 26, 2017
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Longmont, CO
I just read your first post today. The symptoms you described were exactly the same ones our cat Kitty had: upper respiratory problems that never went away, then later weight loss and vomiting. We took him to multiple vets, they did not know what the problem was. I did not know this wonderful site existed. Unfortunately Kitty was ultimately diagnosed by a good vet with large cell lymphoma and died shortly after... Like you, I was convinced it was his diet (dry food most of his life) that contributed to this condition. I wish I had caught it much earlier. You are doing the right thing, keep it up!
 
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Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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I just read your first post today. The symptoms you described were exactly the same ones our cat Kitty had: upper respiratory problems that never went away, then later weight loss and vomiting. We took him to multiple vets, they did not know what the problem was. I did not know this wonderful site existed. Unfortunately Kitty was ultimately diagnosed by a good vet with large cell lymphoma and died shortly after... Like you, I was convinced it was his diet (dry food most of his life) that contributed to this condition. I wish I had caught it much earlier. You are doing the right thing, keep it up!
Sorry about your Kitty. Thank you for your encouragement. We are hopeful that our boy has a good quality of life. There is so much to know, but this site is full of great information. Comparing notes about our experiences is so helpful.
 

cookiebeast

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May 19, 2018
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Hi,

Just read your post, as I was looking for some answers for my cat. She just started her dose pred and leukeran and diagnosed small cell lymphoma 2 weeks ago. Does your cat seem lethargic from taking the leukeran? My kitty's energy seem to be wiped out.

I am glad your kitty is doing well!
 
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Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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Hello cookiebeast,

Thank you.

On leukeran day, Ginger gets his pill between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. Then he sleeps for many hours straight. In late afternoon, he starts to come around, and is pretty active until the next dose. I know the drugs affect every cat differently, but he was much more lethargic in the beginning of his treatment. Is the dosage the same for your kitty? (2.5 mg every other day) We give him the pred on the same day as the leukeran, but 12 hours later (8:30 p.m.). Ginger always gets leukeran on a full stomach, maybe 20-25 minutes after we feed him. We believe the most important change we made was to feed Ging a limited ingredient diet (only including wet food without additives like carageenan, etc.) of a novel protein (per the instructions of our vet). His stool is consistently perfect and never loose or stinky. If IBD progressed to lymphoma, and what we were feeding him previously possibly caused the IBD, then it seems logical that his diet should be as non-inflammatory as possible.

We are in this thing together. Please feel free to ask me a lot of questions.
 

cookiebeast

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May 19, 2018
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Thanks for your response!

She was on pred for a week and was doing decent. I just started the Leukeran last night, and she was lethargic and lost her appetite. I gave her pred earlier during the day. After 8-10 hours, she started to come around. It was a relief as I was panicking thinking what I have done to her!

Her cocktail of meds is 2mg of leukeran every 3 days and 5mg prednisolone daily. Other stuff is a plus or minus depending how she reacts. The cerenia and mirtazapine gave her so much drooling - I usually try not to. She is a more petite cat, and she used to be overweight. She dropped from 11.5 pounds to 8.94 pounds - that's when I start noticing. Her last weight was 7.48 pounds. So she has lost quite significant. I am trying my best to get her to eat but she is SO picky!

Like you - I think her diet was one of the problems. She was on premium dry food all her life. But right now, I need to get her eating and stable. Then I'll think about her diet.

So, Ginger was on chemo for a month and you can see some results? That's wonderful!
 

Furballsmom

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Jan 9, 2018
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Hi! C cookiebeast
Double check with your vet, but have you tried toppers such as
  • boiled unseasoned chicken or turkey,
  • sardines,
  • tuna,
  • tuna juice from the tuna can,
  • canned kitten food,
  • kitten replacement milk powder or liquid as an add-in,
  • bonito flakes,
  • heating the wet food slightly,
  • parmeson or shredded cheddar cheese,
  • fortiflora
  • mackerel
There are also commercial toppers, Applaws is a brand that can work well as a topper, you could crumble her kibble onto the wet food, Tiki Cat has a mousse topper, etc.
 

cookiebeast

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Young Cat
May 19, 2018
27
20
Hi Furballsmom! (What an awesome name :))

I have tried bonito flakes and applaws and tiki cat. She didn't like applaws and bonito flakes (go figure). Tiki cats - it has to be very fishy and will stink up my whole apartment. I'll try parmesan/shredded cheese. This is something you just get at a regular grocery store, right?

Thanks for your response!
 
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Ginger Tabby

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Jan 13, 2018
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Great that she came around! Yes, Ginger showed improvement in his blood work after the first month, but his symptoms abated after the first week. The pred gave him a ravenous appetite. Since the dosage of the pred is less now, his appetite is more normal. We are happy about the ultrasound done in March which showed great improvement. He will have another ultrasound next month.
 
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