Lump under right arm/leg

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Mia_puss
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Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:23 pm

Sorry, I never know whether to call them legs or arms :)

Last week my partner picked up our 9 year old tuxedo cat. She likes to watch me do the bins in the back garden :) She is very healthy and alert and w've not noticed any change in behaviour. When lifting her to the window ledge my partner felt a lump under Mia's right armpit.

I've recently lost my job and as we claimed housing benefit we got Mia a quick appointment to the PDSA. Two years ago (at 7) she got spade after a severe infection, poor little mite.

The VET felt all over her and listened to her lungs and weighed her etc. Then when she said "Let's pop her back in her box and have a little chat"...I though "Oh no!! Not THE conversation!".

The VET explained that Cat tumours are very aggressive and 90% of them are cancerous. She said it like she was talking about a common cold. It shocked my partner so much she nearly fainted. She hasn't taken it well at all because we don't know what to do.

I asked the VET if it was definitely malignant etc and she kept repeating that 90% of cases are aggressive.

What I wanted to ask you guys is should she be so certain without a Biopsy? Could it be anything else?

She said her lungs were healthy but said they wouldn't operate if little Mia had cancer that had spread.

She also said that if they operated it will come back!! So she doesn't really like doing it!! The option was cat steroids to prolong her life as long as possible.

We went into the VETS expecting that it may be a CYST or something, and we left with some anti-inflammatory tablets and a death sentence for our Mia who we just love so much.

Any advice/experience would be most welcome. We're drowning in decisions and we have another appointment on Thursday...

Thanks guys, on behalf of Mia !! x

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by catsue » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:53 pm

Hi, I would definitely go to another vet as this one seems to have made her mind up without all of the facts. Yes, it might be cancerous but without removing it or doing a biopsy the vet cannot say for certain so I would insist on them doing it. Easy for me to say but try not to worry too much as I've had cats in the past that have had lumps that have been nothing to worry about. I found a lump on Pebbles a few months ago, on the inside of her back leg, and rushed her to the vet and it was just a lymph node that was quite prominent as she is really skinny.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:07 pm

Thank you. That gives me hope. She does seem to have made her mind up. I think it's because it's on the mammary gland behind Mia's front leg.

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catsue
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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by catsue » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:14 pm

Hi, I'm so sorry to knock you down when I built you up but now that you've mentioned the lump is on the mammary gland it throws some light onto why your vet seems to have made up her mind that the growth will be malignant. I have no experience of this type of cancer, either with my own cats or the rescues but, sadly, mammary gland cancer does seem to be quite aggressive and although there is an operation to do a mammary gland strip apparently it is quite a big operation and very often the growths come back. I think I would still talk to another vet to get a second opinion as, at nine years, your cat is still quite young. Hopefully somebody will be along soon that has experience of this and be able to give you some first hand advice on what is the best thing to do. Take care.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:20 pm

I went through this with Lily a few weeks ago (she's 16 and generally quite frail). She'd had a lump one of her mammary glands for a while, which one vet wasn't too worried about as she said it might be a fatty lump, and given Lily's medical history I was reluctant to put her through more surgery. But then it suddenly doubled in size and I decided to take it seriously. Another vet in the practice decided it would be better to operate, as in 90% if cases with cats, it turns out to be malignant, and untreated they can turn really nasty and cause some considerable discomfort to the cat. So we decided to operate, if only to remove this particular lump rather than a full strip. Mercifully it turned out to be non-malignant in Lily's case. So don't despair (as I did), it might be ok, but you won't know if you don't get it checked out, and there is a chance that even if it is malignant, the operation could buy your puss many months of quality life.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Marmalade77 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:02 pm

I would always go for another opinion/confirmation if possible and not at a cost to the cat (such as operating in an elderly cat).

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:22 am

Marmalade, I wasn't happy about operating on an elderly cat either, but my vet knows Lily's history very well, (poor lass has had awful health problems in the six years I've had her) and was confident that she would come through the operation fine. I was extremely reluctant, so we did full blood tests before and after, kept her on a drip for over 24 hours, and gave her loads of pain relief. We made sure the surgery was quiet so she wouldn't be too stressed, I made sure the vet was aware of her arthritis so he didn't over extend her hips during surgery, and it gave them the opportunity to do a dental as well. She came through with flying colours, to my eternal relief and gratitude, the wound is already fully healed, she was eating well from the moment she came home, and has been perkier in herself than I've seen her in ages.

It was a huge gamble, but having lost two dearly dearly loved cats to cancer (liver and chest cavity, neither of which would have been realistically treatable), diagnosed very late as there were no easily identifiable symptoms, I found it too hard to stand back and do nothing when the lump suddenly started growing. She's had such a tough life before I had her, she deserved at least one more chance, particularly as the growth was just below the skin. I wouldn't have allowed any major surgery - had it been more aggressive and harder to reach, I would have gone for palliative care only. I'm a firm believer in giving them a short happy life than a long miserable one if the treatment is worse than the illness.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:31 am

Thanks for the help. It's such a shame for her.

The Vethasn't mentioned a Biopsy. What does this entail? Because surely that will identify if it malignant/benign?

Thanks

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:47 am

The biopsy would involve taking a small sample of the growth under anaesthetic and sending it off for analysis. But my vet took the view that while she's under anaesthetic, they may as well remove the whole lump. In our case we decided not to go for a full mammary strip (ie removing all mammaries on both sides, and the connecting tissue between them) as it is a big operation, and probably too much for Lily, but removing just the one lump would at least buy her a bit more time, if it did turn out to be malignant.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:28 pm

Thanks again. It's nice to know that people are out therewho have a similar expereince.

Can I ask...has anyone had anything to do with the PDSA? It's just the Vet didn't seem to be very open to suggestion? I could be wrong but she did say:
"When we operate we take out the whole mammory gland. It's a big operation and it probably will come back."

There didn't seem an option to remove the lump only? It's a free charity vets, you just have to give a donation after.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 am

He's probably just trying to manage your expectations - a full mammary strip is a big operation, and if it is malignant, it may well come back at some stage, although as we never got to that point with Lily I'm not sure what the statistics are on that. You could just ask whether he could start with doing a local lump removal, and send that off for biopsy. That way, if it turns out not to be malignant, you haven't wasted a lot of (the PDSA's) money on an expensive and unnecessary operation.

Sorry, I don't have any experience of the PDSA, but if this approach potentially saves them money, he may go for it. My vet says around 10% of cases are just fatty lumps, so there's a chance that this is all there is, albeit a small one.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:57 am

I don't have any experience to offer but wanted to wish you and darling Mia well. Another opinion seems to be key if you can stretch your resources to go to a mainstream vet. Or Blue Crosd which James and Bob support? Anna's experience with her little old lady was encouraging to us all. Thinking if you. Xx

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by booktigger » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:43 pm

Unfortunately 80% of mammary tumours are cancerous, and it is a very aggressive cancer with a high return rate. My friend's cat did have a full mammary strip removal (which is normally just the one side, unless there are lumps on both), and it is a big operation so I Can understand a PDSA vet being reluctant - I can't remember exactly how much it cost though. The average age for mammary cancer is 12, so she does have age in her favour, and it normally only affects cats who have been neutered late in life, do you know when she was neutered? Is it definitely near her nipples?

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:17 pm

Thanks guys.

She was neutered late in life. Two years ago in fact. She had an infection and had the operation then, so she was 6 (almost 7) when neutered.

She does have age in her favour and in the two weeks since we noticed it the lump hasn't increased in size. It moves around, which is apparently another good sign because malignant tumours 'tend' to attach themselves to the skin underneath as well as the mammary tissue. I'll take the 10% any day. I'd prefer it to be 90% in her favour but the Vet didn't seem to offer that 10% possibility last week.

We have an appointment at 12.10pm tomorrow afternoon. I think I'll ask if they can remove the lump and see if it's cancerous. I'm just nervous because she did allude to that not being an option last week. So if she says no, I could try and get some funds for a local Vet with a good reputation. Does anyone know how much it would cost (roughly) to pay a Vet to remove the lump?

Thanks

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:20 pm

When Lily had her lump removed a few weeks ago, they kept her in overnight afterwards to make sure she was properly hydrated (although my lovely vet didn't charge me for that part), and she also had a dental (1 extraction and clean up, plus long lasting antibiotic), and some metacam to go home with, and a blood pressure test and pills for same (she's got high blood pressure as well now - I swear she's going for the full set of medical conditions!)

The whole lot, including the anaesthesia and various associated drugs, came to around £390.00, including £55 for the tests on the lump.

Lily's lump wasn't attached either, which can be a good sign. Try to stay positive, but as Booktigger says, mammary cancer in cats can be a nasty one. I decided not knowing was worse than knowing, and I wanted to give Lily a chance so long as the vet felt she was up to the op. I don't think I'd have put her through the full strip, but the local lumpectomy was, for me, an easier decision to make.

Good luck with the vet visit. I know you'll have Mia's best interests at heart. Do what you feel is right for her.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by catsue » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:16 pm

Just wondering how you got on at the vets today. :)

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:01 am

Hi everyone,

Went to Vets yesterday (much to Mia's dissatisfaction!). The anti-inflamatory tablets that she has been taking have reduced some of the swelling. This allowed the vet to better feel the 'mass'. She said it needs operating on asap and I asked about removing the mass as opposed to the entire mammary strip. She agreed immediately and Mia is booked in for an early Monday morning operation. She can't eat after 6pm and we have two cats that tend to eat together...so we'll need to separate them :(

The PDSA don't send away the mass to be analysed afterwards. She said that if it's a tumour that will return then the biopsy won't make any difference. So we have to hope once it's gone, it stays that way.

Not looking forward to her having the cone on her head again. Two years ago when she was spade it really upset her.

I'll keep you updated.

Thanks xx

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:23 pm

Pleased to hear the vet's at least going to remove the lump. Unless you're prepared to go for the full mammary strip anyway, she's probably right about the tests. It would give you peace of mind to know what it is, and if another lump appears after, then you could look at further treatment at that stage. But if it's benign, then this op should deal with it.

I've never bothered with the collar after any ops that any of my cats have had, and it's never been a problem. So you could just leave it off to start with and see how it goes, and if she starts pulling at the stitches or making it bleed, put it on then. There's a soft padded collar you can use instead (I think it's called a buster collar?), which isn't quite as scary as the lampshade collars. I always feel desperately sorry for cats and dogs who have to wear these - it's more stressful for them than the operation, but sometimes (not always) necessary.

Good luck for Monday. It's not a huge op, and I'm sure it will go fine.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by booktigger » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:14 pm

I'm glad they've agreed to remove the lump, just a shame they don't do biopsies. The soft collar is called a comfy collar

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Mia_puss » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:12 pm

Hi everyone,

So Mia's had the operation today and it went well. There are no signs of any secondary cancer and she had a fair size lump removed. She was ko'd when we picked her up but as soon as we got her in the car she was bubbly.

The Vet said not to let her jump around too much. But how is that possible? Have you tried taming a cat? Lol. She just wants to wash herself and keeps licking the cone. She is sloppy with her drinking and eating so she'll have to figure out an easier way, but she did last time within a few days.

We're keeping her in the bedroom and one of us will be with her most of the time. How can you stop her jumping on the bed? I don't think it's realistic but the Vet said these type of stitches can come loose because of their positioning...

Thanks for all your help as always. God bless you all (and your feline friends too!)

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by lilynmitz » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:47 pm

So pleased to hear the operation went well. I suppose without tests you won't know whether it's malignant, but if it came out well with no obvious spread or attachments, that's a positive sign.

It's good to hear she's coping with the cone ok. It really freaks some cats. There's not a lot you can do to keep her quiet except for cage rest. Can you borrow a puppy cage from someone? If she's only jumping on the bed it might not be too bad, but if she's getting really frisky, cage rest might be a good idea.

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Crewella » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:38 am

So glad it went well. :)

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Re: Lump under right arm/leg

Post by Willowgill » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:11 pm

I've only just seen this thread so it was good to get to the end of it and find your baby had come through the op well. Fingers crossed the cancer doesn't return.

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