Suspect lump

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Raydan
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Suspect lump

Post by Raydan » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:06 am

Hello everyone,

My lovely cat Fafaff has a lump of about 1cm of diameter on his hipbone and the vet suspects sarcoma. I"m absolutely shattered.
We have sent off samples of the lump that my vet took by poking a needle through the lump and the results come in on Friday. I'm now regretting that as I'm afraid that cancer cells might have been spread through the needle hole to other parts of the body, although I still don't know it's definitely cancer I have a bad feeling about this. A little blood came out when the needle but not a lot, which the vet said was a sign that something might be wrong.

I'm terrified of losing him ;( he is such a gentle soul, smart as anything and so loving. He is 12 years old but he doesn't look it al all. Lately he has been sleeping a lot on top of the fridge and kitchen units, which is out of character with his usual dashing self, it doesn't help that I have a toddler running around and Fafaff has found adapting to the new comer confusing. The toddler is mostly not botheres about him although she sometimes tries to kiss him/cuddle, which Fafaff doesn't mind in small doses, and of course I keep the toddler under check but she's you know, loud and running around playing with her toys and he just gets out of her way a lot.

Has anyone been through this? Could anyone advise me on anything that I should be doing for him? Someone on a FB group suggested booking a veterinary oncologist ahead of time, my vet is not specifically an oncologist and I don't know her she's a new vet at the local Medivet practice, should I book an appointment with the oncologist ahead of the results to buy time? I do prefer gentle herbal and homeopathic remedies as I have found that they work really well with animals, although I am aware that cancer would not be cured with herbs maybe I can ease any discomfort? He just looks confused and a bit apathetic and I wish I could help in any way.

Thank you for any advice you can give, I am worried sick and I feel terrible at the moment.

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Ruth B
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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Ruth B » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:48 am

I feel for you, the waiting is always the worst part.

I'm no expert but I do know that a needle biopsy is a very common form of biopsy and to my knowledge the least intrusive. A biopsy of some form is also the best way of truly diagnosing what the lump is. Secondly the needle will not spread the cancer if indeed there is one. Cancer is not formed by an infection in all but a very few specialised cases (such as some cervical cancers) it is caused by an abnormality in the cells DNA which causes the effected cells to keep multiplying which then forms a lump of effected tissue. There are however an awful lot of other things that could cause a lump to form, from warts, to cysts, to infected wounds, I do hope Fafaff lump turns out to be one of these.

You say the vet was new to the practice, is your normal vet still there, could you contact the surgery and make an appointment to discuss it with them, or even ask them to phone you and discuss it over the phone, explain how worried it has you and want to talk to someone you feel comfortable talking to about it, I'm sure they will understand. You could also ask about an Oncologist appointment then, the vet is the best one to advise you on their availability.

If worst case scenario, it is cancer, then talk to your vet about the best options and treatments. I would also advise asking them about alternative treatment including homeopathic remedies that might help, even if they can't prescribe them they can tell you if they are likely to react with any other medication he is given. I certainly don't write off alternative medicine, my Mum's old cat benefited from acupuncture for her arthritis, I've yet to meet anyone who could explain how the placebo effect could work on a cat.

As for his sleeping on top of cupboards and the fridge that could just be he feels like a change or he is using it as a bit of a refuge while he adapts to having the toddler wandering about.

Let us know he gets on, all paws and fingers will be crossed here that it is just a cyst or similar.

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Kay
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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Kay » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:29 am

my Trigger had a sarcoma at the very top of his leg, which made removal very difficult - he was 13 - as he hated vet visits I decided not to risk an operation, and kept him comfortable on regular Metacam

he had a couple of good months lying out in the sun - September was wonderful that year - and when I could see the metacam wasn't keeping the pain at bay any morev the vet came to us and helped him to the Bridge

if it is bad news, I think I can promise you that hearing it will be the worst for you - after that you will slip into caring mode, and the actual parting will not be so bad when you know it is for him

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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Mollycat » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:46 am

Don't panic. Your cat will be sensitive to your emotional states and become anxious if you are but not understand why. Your cat is still your cat, he just has a lump that needs a bit of investigating. If it is cancerous you will need your money for treatment if it's appropriate to treat, and tests have to be done first. Also, if it is, he's going to get put in a carrier and taken places and poked and prodded enough without you jumping the gun. Please, calm down for both your sakes. What cats need is as much normality as possible. Not sure why you mention the toddler but if the new normal includes the normal not too rough manageable attentions of a small child, then let that continue - the time to teach children to leave the cat alone would be if the cat feels ill or has surgery, not as a panic response to a possibility.

Once you know the score with the lump, you can make some decisions calmly and for the benefit of your cat. If treatment is appropriate, if it is cancer, if his quality of life is your priority at all times, then you need a clear head to make good choices. Regardless of this lump the time eventually comes for all our furry friends for us to stop running around like crazy looking for the magic cure and allow some time for them to just relax and enjoy being with us. To be just our pet again when they are tired, and share a gentle time together while we still can.

The time is coming soon for me to respond to my renal failure cat each day as it comes. Some days he is tired, some days he is bright. We are currently dealing with very bad tummy issues, he lost 10% of his body weight in 8 days. We have had a steroid injection and a vitamin B injection and changed his food, and luckily he has brightened up, because after this there is really not much more we can do and it's up to him.

Stay calm for both your sake and your cat's sake, hopefully it's either harmless or easily treatable and you will have more years before this little pep talk needs to come back into your mind.

Raydan
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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Raydan » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:11 pm

Thank you Mollycat,

I needed to read this pep talk. I must calm down, you are totally right. This morning at 5 he went hiding (or maybe exploring) under the bed, which he never does, so I think that I really am making him anxious. So for the rest of today I have tried not to freak him out with my fussying and I just gave him some love when he came asking for it, trying to be really positive and "usual" about things. He was his usual dashing self briefly, rushing on the bed suddenly as he does for surprise effect. He keeps licking the shaven area where the needle was inserted but he doesn't seem overly bothered. He then climbed back up onto the kitchen units and hasn't come down in 5-6 hours.

He of course hates the carrier and being carted around, and on his way to the vets he howled his little lungs out the whole journey poor mite :|

I must stay rational and I'm finding it a little hard at the moment...
I mentioned the toddler because since she's been around things have changed and I have an irrational fear that it's change that has brought this on, but of course there's no way I can possibly know that.

My heart goes out to you and your kitty with kidney failure, I lost my dear 20 year old cat to that in April 2016. He had lasted about 8 years with it, managed through supplements, good food and a static routine. It is a really hard thing to say goodbye, but with kidney disease I was told by the vet that they don't feel pain as much as weakness, if that's any comfort. I hope that you can both enjoy many more happy days together.

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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Raydan » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:18 pm

Thank you Ruth B for the reassuring words re the biopsy not causing the spread of a possible cancer, and for giving me hope that it might not be that worst of all possible things.

Unfortunately my local vet is part of a Medivet franchise, they have around 600 vets around the country apparently and they move them around quite a lot. There is always someone new when I take the cat in. The vet who treated my other cat in 2016 at the same practice was the resident vet at the time and I knew her quite well, nevertheless she insisted on a tooth cleaning and extraction on my 20 year old cat with kidney disease, which resulted in a lot of unnecessary stress and I was later told by other vets that it was a very unusual suggestion. My cat had developed a gum infection and as it turned out it would have been fine to just treat it with antibiotics but trusting the vet I went for the cleaning and tooth extraction which she said was definitely necessary. In the end she did not extract the tooth she had told me we had to remove as in her words "it turned out to be solid" and so my cat went through the stress and trauma of anesthesia for nothing. She even gave him pills for pain relief which were actually for humans, making me sign a disclaimer in case something happened to the cat, swearing that it was absolutely safe and she prescribed them for her patients all the time. Again, stupidly I trusted her but when I gave my cat one of the pills he became extremely restless and wouldn't settle, he seemed to see things that weren't there and kept going around for hours, unsteady on his legs. It was terrible to see him like that. When I told the vet about the cat's reaction she assured me that he was ok, just a little nervous. Needless to say I threw the pills away and it still bugs me to have fallen for it. He never recovered fully and died within the month after going through much unneeded stress and suffering.
It's horrible when you can't trust the person in charge of your beloved pet's life. She has since left the practice and this new vet seems ok but she didn't really give me the impression of being very confident. Maybe I should try another practice.

Sorry to have gone into all that, it was just to say that unfortunately I don't have a trusted vet at the practice I usually go to, and even if I was to switch they would be a new vet I don't know. I keep going there because the practice is really nearby and as my cat HATES travel and the carrier I try to minimise travel times, hoping that they might have a better vet but I don't really trust them as a practice after that incident. I have the ugly feeling that it was a way to fleece me out of unnecessary money with complete disregard to my cat's best interest.
I will however ask bad them about referral to the oncologist if the results are bad, and advice about homeopathic treatment, and totally agree about the supposed placebo effect on animals not being possible.

Fafaff was really cheerful just now as I gave him his dinner and some valerian as a treat, he seems like his usual self and that's the best feeling in the world to me right now! He even played catch the mouse with my hand under the duvet. Joy.


Ruth B wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:48 am
I feel for you, the waiting is always the worst part.

I'm no expert but I do know that a needle biopsy is a very common form of biopsy and to my knowledge the least intrusive. A biopsy of some form is also the best way of truly diagnosing what the lump is. Secondly the needle will not spread the cancer if indeed there is one. Cancer is not formed by an infection in all but a very few specialised cases (such as some cervical cancers) it is caused by an abnormality in the cells DNA which causes the effected cells to keep multiplying which then forms a lump of effected tissue. There are however an awful lot of other things that could cause a lump to form, from warts, to cysts, to infected wounds, I do hope Fafaff lump turns out to be one of these.

You say the vet was new to the practice, is your normal vet still there, could you contact the surgery and make an appointment to discuss it with them, or even ask them to phone you and discuss it over the phone, explain how worried it has you and want to talk to someone you feel comfortable talking to about it, I'm sure they will understand. You could also ask about an Oncologist appointment then, the vet is the best one to advise you on their availability.

If worst case scenario, it is cancer, then talk to your vet about the best options and treatments. I would also advise asking them about alternative treatment including homeopathic remedies that might help, even if they can't prescribe them they can tell you if they are likely to react with any other medication he is given. I certainly don't write off alternative medicine, my Mum's old cat benefited from acupuncture for her arthritis, I've yet to meet anyone who could explain how the placebo effect could work on a cat.

As for his sleeping on top of cupboards and the fridge that could just be he feels like a change or he is using it as a bit of a refuge while he adapts to having the toddler wandering about.

Let us know he gets on, all paws and fingers will be crossed here that it is just a cyst or similar.

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Ruth B
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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Ruth B » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:51 am

Don't worry about long explanations here, we are all happy to hear the details and often it helps to talk things through. I know there is some cross over between human medication and animal medication but I also know there are some tablets that are fine for humans and harmful to animals. I know normally checking the internet for anything medical can cause more stress than you started with, but if in doubt when it comes to medication it doesn't hurt to put the details in to Google and see if they are alright for cats and if there are any medical problems they shouldn't be given with.

When I was a child the first cat we had developed minor liver and kidney problems as he got older, he then developed something else, I can't remember what, so we took him to the vet and got a cause of tablets for him, they were only labeled with a three letter abbreviation (we are going back over 30 years). My Mum was a Nurse and my Father a Dentist so medical knowledge was higher than most peoples, and something rang warning bells. They then spent several hours going through the text books they had on various drugs and finally identified what those three letters stood for. It was a medication which while good for the condition he had should never be given to anyone animal or human with a liver condition. Another vet had recently fallen out with the ones at that practice and set up by himself 30 minutes drive away, we took Rusty (the cat) to him for a second opinion, according to him if we had given Rusty the tablets the way his liver was they would possibly have killed him. We never went back to that first vets, the stress of a 30 minute drive each way was worth the stress relief we had for seeing a vet we trusted.

I wouldn't suggest changing vets now, it would probably mean another biopsy for Fafaff get the results and decide if he needs to see an oncologist (which will probably be another vet anyway), if he doesn't then you might want to think of changing if there is a vets in the area that doesn't have the staff turn over that the Medivet practice has. The reduction in your stress levels when you have to take him may offset the added stress of a longer journey. it's something to think about in the future.

In defense of the previous vet I will say it is very hard sometimes to really check a cats teeth well without them being sedated, particularly if there is a bad infection in the root. With your previous cats on going conditions i would have thought trying a cause of antibiotics first would have been a better cause of action and then going for the surgery if they didn't work, but deciding not to extract when they could check properly is the right thing to do if the tooth is still healthy.

Raydan
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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Raydan » Fri May 03, 2019 1:35 pm

Thank you Ruth for the suggestion of changing vets,

The results are back and it's bad news.... It's a malignant neoplasia. I can not believe it and I am absolutely shattered. My beautiful friend Fluffersons...the smartest and kindest cat I have ever known. It feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest and I keep thinking that I have failed him and that it's all my fault for not realising sooner how sick he is.

The vet has referred me to a veterinary oncologist and I will be waiting to hear from them, hopefully today.

The vet said that we should do x-rays to see if any metastasis are present and blood tests to see if he is fit for surgery, then remove the mass and send it off to determine which grade it's at. I don't want to put him through extra stress and suffering but I can't just let him die without trying to help him. He is otherwise in fine fettle and still playing and running around.

I don't know what I am asking here, I'm sorry if I'm coming across as irrational. I guess it's just very sad news.

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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Ruth B » Sat May 04, 2019 9:22 am

I am so sorry to hear it was bad news, but don't give in yet, talk to the oncologist, I would say to at least have the xrays done to see how far it has spread and then decide whether to go down the surgery option when you know whether it has a good chance of succeeding. Ask the Oncologist what other treatment after the surgery will be needed. if you haven't already seen them make a list of questions you want to ask and go through it with them, there is nothing worse than coming out of the appointment and then remembering things you wanted to ask. When you know what treatment is needed and what the possible out comes are, then you will be in a better position to decide what is the best cause of action.

You are not sounding irrational over it. You are sounding like an owner that loves their pet and has just heard some horrible news and now has to decide what to do for the best. All of us here understand what you are going through even if we haven't gone through exactly the same, we have experienced similar issues and had to make the decisions as well. We all know how hard it can be.

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Re: Suspect lump

Post by Raydan » Sat May 04, 2019 6:45 pm

Thank you Ruth, your kind words are really making a difference for us at a time when no one seems to understand. It just hit me that this could be the last days that I get to spend with my incredible, dashing boy and the fear and grief feels like a gaping void in my heart.

The oncologist has called this morning to book an appointment for the 15th of May at 9:30 am which is a long time, given the circumstances. I thought time was of the essence. It was very nice of them to call on a Saturday to book us in, but it's apparently a way out of London and I don't have a car, which will mean a train+cab journey on my own with cat+toddler, or a long cab drive, as there's no public transport reaching the hospital from the nearest train station. The receptionist I spoke to was supposed to send me an email confirming the appointment and giving me the exact location of the surgery/hospital so I didn't write anything down while we were on the phone but I have not received it, so I'm wondering what kind of distance we are talking, exactly. I'm dreading the ride there with a distraught Fafaff howling for hours. I might call my vet on Tuesday and ask if there are no oncologists a little nearer. I have seen one online only a few minutes from here but I don't know if they are not the same kind of oncologist or maybe they are not affiliated with my vet. This is the link to the local oncologist: https://londonvetspecialists.vet/
I wonder if they are somehow not suitable.

Last night he briefly lost his balance and I wonder if he is in any pain. He sleeps lots, but today he climbed into a cupboard to check what was in there, with his darling sweet eyes looking curious and it gave me hope that maybe the cancer hasn't spread out so much and that he might be strong enough to go through this.

I have also contacted one of the two homeopathic vets in London (the other is on holiday) hoping that she will be able to give Fafaff something to either ease any discomfort or just feel serene and safe. She has a clinic once a month and she comes in from Denmark.

It helps to know that you understand my fear of losing him. Thank you for taking the time to respond Ruth, it really means a lot at this difficult time. I know that he is 12 and sooner or later that moment is bound to happen, but right now I don't know how I would be able to cope. It's a sadness I don't remember feeling before. He has never been ill before and it's so strange to see him like this. It feels surreal and like it couldn't possibly be true. I must not think of it.

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