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Cat with potential Intestinal Cancer
An_252825 posted:

I'm searching for any advice on what path I should pursue for my cat of 14 years whom I've just been told "may have a mass in her intestines that is indicative of intestinal cancer." I brought her in due to recent incidents of her peeing and defacating through out the apartment. Blood tests and urinalysis were run and everything is very healthy except for a UTI. The behavioral problems, we concluded, are most likely due to changes we've made in the apartment and my current pregnancy. However, the doctor said while taking the urine (which I am gathering involved some kind of partial ultrasound) he saw a mass in the intestine. He stressed that he does not know for sure but states he's seen things like this before which turn out to be cancer and he would hate to miss this opportunity for an early diagnosis which if its a treatable cancer can add at least 6 mos. or even years to her life since she is not symptomatic of cancer yet. I have not yet seen any rapid weight loss, loss of appetite, problem with stool (other than location) or significant lethargy (she's normally a pretty chill cat). My dilemma is this: I am expecting a baby and don't have any extra money to put forward for testing/treatment that will not actually add significant time to her life. The diagnostic testing will cost from $700 to $1000 and if diagnosed AND treatable, meds will be at least $100/mo. The doctor insists that if diagnosed early we can add significant time to her life. From what I've seen on-line, she'll be lucky if we do add 6 months and the quality of that 6 mos. is questionable if she's receiving chemo pills, etc.

Is diagnosing a worthy path to take? Or am I better off just loving her, hoping its not a cancerous mass, but if is just make the time she has left as painless as possible?

Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!!
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
It sounds like the mass your veterinarian saw is an "incidental finding" while looking for something else. That can be very fortuitous, meaning it's a chance to treat something early, or may not be significant. This is an excellent opportunity for a second opinion. Ask your veterinarian to refer you to an internal medicine or feline specialist to see if they agree about the mass. If so, they may be able to do a "fine needle aspirate" to see what it is (this is an inexpensive procedure that doesn't usually require anesthesia.)

Once you know what you're dealing with, you'll be able to make an informed decision on whether it's in her best interest to pursue treatment. I always look at this as a quality-of-life issue. Some cancers respond dramatically to treatment, but some don't. But at this point, you don't really even know if what's there is serious.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice
Bknyla replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
Thank you. Is an abdominal ultrasound absolutely necessary before the fine needle aspirate?
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP replied to Bknyla's response:
The ultrasound is used to accurately and safely direct the needle into the mass, so in most cases it's necessary.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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