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Lymphoma in cats
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My 11 year old kitty Olive was diagnosed with lymphoma in her colon today. She had an endoscopy on Friday and the took biopsies of her colon, small intestine and stomach. So far it is confined to her colon but her small intestine and stomach show inflammation which is a sign it might be spreading there.

My vet is waiting for a call from the oncologist for ideas on treatment and prognosis. It is an intermediate cell cancer, not small or large cell which are more common and the treatment/prognosis is clearer.

I won't know whether I'll pursue treatment until I hear back on her conversation with the oncologist. If I lose her I will be devastated. She's been a great friend this past winter and got me through a very difficult tmie. She's amazing and I'll do whatever is reasonable to treat her but don't want to put her through hell if it doesn't extend her life significantly.

Anyone out there been through lymphoma treatment with their cat? I'm painfully aware, through experience, what the dying process is but never actually treated cancer in my animals, I ever seem to catch it in time. I'm not sure if I have this time either but I'm trying to keep hope.



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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
Last edited by: JenSw: Apr 9, 12 22:05
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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I share an office with a veterinary medical oncologist and overhear her discussing this frequently on the phone with clients. I haven't paid attention enough to be able to give you figures on response rate for remission, longterm prognosis, or cost, but it seems that this is a relatively "good" type of cancer to have. I hear her talk about them living more than a year with this on oral chemo at home (leukeran/chlorambucil and prednisolone is the combo I hear her mention the most) with minimal side effects. There are some injectable protocols too that require outpatient visits and I don't know how they pick which recommendations for which cats. They seem to approach it as a really severe extension of inflammatory bowel disease more than a lot of other cancers we think about with surgery or radiation, hair falling out and bad chemo side effects, metastasis spread.

I'm sorry that I don't know much since it's not something I treat (so haven't stayed current or proficient in discussing), but I wanted to give you something positive while you're waiting for more details. I don't think this is as scary as it sounds and you have some decent options with treatment. Best wishes for both of you.

Katherine
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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First, sorry about Olive Cat.

I've had a cat in the past that had lymphoma. I do not know if it was the same thing Olive has (and, ironically, he looked just like Olive).

We didn't treat it at all, except for some aspirin for pain (this was an old cat of 13 years). He lived for about a year without treatment. He ended up with a huge tumor on his neck (don't know if it was related) and three days after it was remove ($$$) he got killed by coyotes, damn it.

Only you can decide how much money is worth spending and I'm not even going to attempt to define "quality of life" for your cat. We had another cat more recently that hit by a car and we spent over $5k to save him. I would not have done it if it wasn't for my wife's insistence. He has recovered "completely". He's a little stupid and seems to get winded easily (brain and lung damage) but most people don't notice.

Again, sorry about the cat.

”look, duffy is a great lover. the best!” -

slowman (owner of slowtwitch.com) 10/01/17
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Jen,

Im so sorry to hear about your friend. I can't even try to pretend like I know how you feel. I lost my cat on 9/11/2011 and I still have dreams about it, I dont really kno what im trying to type here. but I am very sorry for your heartache and I hope for nothing but the bet for your cat.

I live in China and theres lots of stray cats, for soem reason they seem to approach me, like they run away from other people but they run upto me and rub my leg or meowww for an ear scratching. I dont know what it is, but I always liek seeing my cat friends on the street.

Again, Jen, im so sorry, I dont think anything I can say will make you feel better, but I knwo how you feel.

-adam
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [kbskelly] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you so much. My last several months have been really chaotic and they will continue to be for the foreseeable future. I'm really hoping I can treat her and keep her around for a while longer because she has been so great through all of it.

I do know the large cell is quite treatable, but not really cureable, but the small cell isn't. (I might have that backwards). The intermediate cell, which she has, can be more of a grey area so I'm hoping the oncologist will be able to provide some clarity.

Unfortunately cancer is prevelant in my animal household as that is how I've lost 3 other pets. My dog Fitzgerald had lymphoma and we had him on prednisolone. It kept him around for another 6 months until he developed Cushings. At that point we let him go. Another dog had bone cancer as did my cat. I am very aware of the progression of this damn disease but this is the first lymphoma in a cat I've dealt with.

I also have a cat who is turning 17 this summer who has kidney disease, thyroid disease, a heart murmur, bladder stones and he's gone deaf. Poor old guy is falling apart. Still his same funny personality though. I don't know how much longer he will be with me either. All I know is if I lose both of them I'm headed to the cat shelter and bringing home another one who nobody wants. Life is so much better with pets.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry about Olive. Yes, life is so much better with pets. I lost 15 year old Dusty to intestinal lymphoma last June, Olive's face reminds me of Dusty. His sister Katy misses him greatly, which is why the following video is hilarious in its accuracy to my life now.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJIrr42A--4

Again, sorry to hear about Olive. They bring great joy, and afterwards great sorrow.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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All I know is if I lose both of them I'm headed to the cat shelter and bringing home another one who nobody wants. Life is so much better with pets.


Bless You.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Life is so much better with pets.

As the house-sharer with a black Lab and two cats, I can't argue with that sentiment...and thinking back over my adult life, I don't think there's been much of a stretch of time where I didn't have at least one, and usually two, cats in the household. Years ago we had one that developed diabetes, and giving it twice-daily insulin shots was interesting but it wasn't all that expensive and seemed to help prolong his life without any real issue. I've not yet had to deal with something like what you're faced with now, so hard to comment other than to echo the comments from above about it being your call as to the expense involved versus the quality of life for both of you...

Don't envy you right about now...best of luck to you and kitty.

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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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>Anyone out there been through lymphoma treatment with their cat?

My cat, age 13, is currently undergoing lymphoma treatment. We took her into the vet after she lost a ton of weight despite - she got scary skinny and lethargic. After the diagnosis, I was pretty sure it would kick off the "dying process."

That was about six months ago. Now she's gained all her weight and energy back, and is like a kitten again. For two weeks she was on a daily steroid pill. It was magic - her appetite instantly rebounded, and her digestive tract lost all the lumpiness associated with lymphoma. Now she she takes her pill every other day.

This may not be common, but just know that when the vet says it's not always a death sentence it's not just to make you feel better. Some cats *do* respond extremely well to treatment. It's my understanding that it'll eventually get her, but it could take a long time, even years (which would put her at the natural life expectancy of a cat anyway).
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you thank you! My vet and I talked about the possibility of lymphoma before the endoscopy and treatments. She did mention that some cats are very responsive to treatment and can live a year or two. Sadly there isn't a cure but they can live a while with a good quality of life.

In the meantime Olive is still pretty much herself. She is still digging the cat nip.

No word yet from the oncologist. Should be tomorrow.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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I got bad news today. She has the aggressive form. We are starting her on prednisolone tonight and I'll get in to the oncologist as soon as possible for a consult.

Really didn't want to hear this.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Hugs to you. We lost our Zed cat (another 10.5 year old tabby) a few weeks ago when what presented as an ordinary UTI ended up being something else entirely.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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That's tough news. Best of luck with the consult and treatment. Extra treats for Olive.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Olive got her first chemo treatment today. If she responds well to it the median survival is 7 months. That number is pretty worthless though. There isn't any information on what their cancer status was when they died so it could be their people put them to sleep before trying different chemo protocols that could have extended the cat's life. If she doesn't respond well her life expectancy is dramatically lower, in the month or two range. Again, hard to state that as a rule. My dog with lymphoma lived 6 months. My cat and dog with bone cancer lived a couple weeks.

Day at a time.

She is so tired of visiting vets' offices but she is a trooper. If I didn't tell you you'd never know she's sick.

Inspecting the office:


Treat jar! Score!


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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Ugh, that doesn't sound good at all...best of luck to you in going through this, it will obviously be tough to deal with.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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I am so very sorry to read of your sad news.

We have always had at least one pet in our family. We now have two dogs and a cat, all from our local shelter.

I will share that we lost a cat to renal failure about two years ago, and, I must say, that it was MUCH harder than I would have expected. We went through what I would consider somewhat extreme measures to keep him alive for awhile. In looking back, I will say that, for us, I wish we would have let him go sooner than we did. He was just really starting to hurt so much and we just couldn't accept it at the time. I am not advocating that approach, as every situation is different, but I just wanted to share my experience.

Hang in there.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [Oldnewdad] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks. I've had to make that call 4 times in the last 7 years. It is extremely difficult but I have a wonderful vet who will be honest with me about when it is time. I dread the day, it will be brutal, but I know it is coming for both my cats.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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How is you kitty doing?

Olive isn't great. She is still being herself, playful and sweet, but she keeps losing weight despite the chemo treatments. We are trying an appetite stimulant and anti-nausea meds to see if that helps. I'm getting her weight early next week. If the downward trend continues, her next chemo is the following week and that will be when I make the call. If she holds stable I'll keep going, if she is still losing I'll stop. After that she will probably go pretty quickly.

This is brutal. We have been so close, I don't know if I can handle it. This might just be my toughest one.

Here she is chillaxing on the couch with me last night. She pretty much stays here all the time.



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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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>How is you kitty doing?

Pretty good! I'll have to upload a picture when I get home. She also lost weight, but stabilized at a reasonable weight. She does sleep a lot, but she still gets playful and kittenish at least once a day. And she can still slap down our 1 year-old cat when she needs to.

Good luck with Olive. I know just how you feel when you know can feel the day coming.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Olive continues to lose weight although we had a bit of a victory last week when she got a weight that showed a slight gain. Today that was gone plus more. She got what will likely be her last chemo treatment today. The oncologist agrees that if she hasn't gained weight in the two weeks until her next appointment we will stop treatment.

This is crushing.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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I'm so sorry. Clyde continues to hold her ground. Over the weekend she jumped about 4 feet from the ground to the top shelf of the cat tree thing we have, which is downright athletic.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [trail] [ In reply to ]
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Glad to hear Clyde is doing well! Chemo does work for some kitties. I still don't see a picture :-)

I have a friend who is really great with animals, does rescue, coming over Friday to talk me through this. As a single parent to my cats my judgement is likely clouded. I think I'm in denial but really need an objective analysis. My vets have been great but I also look for hope and they give me just enough to keep me going forward with treatment.

It's just too hard to let her go. She has been a great friend to me.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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I just came across your thread and wanted to say I'm so sorry about your kitty Olive's diagnosis. I'm a huge animal lover and pets are an important part of our family. I lost my strong, stoic black kitty Baxter a year ago to intestinal lymphoma. By the time he showed us that he was ill, the disease had progressed too far. He stayed with us a few more days, but looked miserable and just wanted to be left alone and it became clear it was time to put him to sleep. We miss him terribly.
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [Honey~Badger] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you very much. It is never easy to lose a family member.

Olive is still enjoying life. She is skinny but otherwise you wouldn't know she is sick.

I have decided to stop chemotherapy. She isn't going to survive this and pumping her full of chemicals isn't going to change that. She isn't responding so it is time to stop. She has had more time because of the treatment but the end result is the same. I will be doing palliative care only at this point.

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Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Lymphoma in cats [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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I just saw your original post and have to reply.
I have nothing medical that I can offer you; however, I can say that If you truly love your cat (and it is quite apparent that you do ), whatever decision you make out of this love will be the right one.

I hope that Olive remains comfortable and as happy as she can be.
Best wishes to you both.
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