or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › PLEASE help - deciding about surgery!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

PLEASE help - deciding about surgery!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi. My cat (Baby) is 13 and a half years old. On 12/25/06 I found blood in his stool – (what a Christmas present). He went to the vet right after New Years, and went on medicine for colitis. Long story short, on May 8th he had a colonoscopy. They found just what I had feared – Cancer. I am looking for anyone who has had a cat with colon cancer or any vet or surgeon who would be so kind as to give me their opinion and advice.

The type of colon cancer he has is called adenocarcinoma, and it is pretty far inside the colon and deep from what I understand. Basically what I am trying to do is decide whether or not to put him into surgery for this. If he has the surgery, it will be “exploratory†because they will see if there are any other small cancerous areas, and if not, they will remove the one tumor we are sure exists. Because of the location of the tumor, they will need to “split†his pelvis to remove the entire thing. Also, he has gotten chest xrays, ultrasounds, and complete cardiac checkup and all came back ok. We go to see the surgeon on Monday (June 11) for a consultation, so I am trying to gather all of the info and advice I can, so that I can make the most informed and educated decision possible.

My cat means the world to me – I’ve had him since I was 11 and he is like a child to me. I have been told that without surgery he is expected to live about 3 more months. With surgery (followed by chemo), he would be expected to live 3 – 18 months. (I was concerned about the chemo but I have been told that this type of chemo is very well-tolerated by cats).

The problem is that I have gotten advice from 2 different surgeons… and their takes on this were complete opposite of each other. One surgeon was consulted by his old vet near where we used to live. She consulted the surgeon as a courtesy to me and got some information. (All of Baby’s colonoscopy results and history, etc were faxed over to her, so she knows the whole story and type of cancer, etc). This surgeon was VERY negative about putting the cat through surgery. She said she’s done this exact surgery before and the outcomes have not been very good. She said that sometimes the cat is debilitated and can never walk the same due to the splitting of the pelvis. She also said that he may not me able to control his bowel movements and urination – at that could possibly be permanent. She said owners have had to sometimes put them down afterwards anyways because of their quality of life and owners having to deal with the special needs of them not being able to control going to the bathroom, etc.

So after hearing that, I was certainly leaning towards NOT doing the surgery. However, the other surgeon (who would do the surgery if we decide to) was consulted by the Dr who did Baby’s colonoscopy. I will be speaking with the surgeon directly on Monday, but in the mean time, the colonoscopy Dr and my Vet have both spoken to him. They seem to have a more optimistic outlook on things. They are not too concerned about him not getting through the surgery (he does have a small heart murmur and high blood pressure – which is under control with medications). We know it’s a risk with any surgery, but it didn’t seem to be a huge concern from what the surgeon said. They did not seem too concerned about splitting the pelvis either, and said that since it’s a small cat, it shouldn’t be that bad (as opposed to a large dog or something). It will add a little time onto recovery, but they weren’t too concerned. My current vet also was not as concerned about him losing control of going to the bathroom. She said it is possible, but because of the location, it isn’t a huge risk. My vet said she has worked with this surgeon and he is very very good, has many many years of experience, and he teaches at one of the top veterinary schools in the country.

So with that being said, I have one surgeon telling me there is no way she would put her cat through this… and then a vet and colonoscopy Dr telling me that they would go the surgery route.

I am so torn, and I only have until Monday to figure out what to do. Another option would be to not do the surgery and just go with Chemo and hope it helps a little, and maybe give him antioxidants and anything else that would help.

Overall, one would never know anything is wrong with Baby (at this point). He is so happy, pretty active (for being almost 14), always purring, eating and hungry as usual, chasing the birds outside (from inside the window – he is an indoor cat!). The only way one would ever know anything is wrong is that he has blood in his stool and strains a bit sometimes.

If there is anyone out there who has dealt with this – colon cancer (especially adenocarcinoma) and/or the splitting of the pelvis, (or even deciding on something when getting 2 opposite opinions from surgeons) - I would be so very grateful beyond words to hear about your experience and any advice. At this point I have no idea what to do, so any information would be greatly appreciated. I wish I had more time, but I need to make a decision by Monday. We want to do what is best for him – whether that means taking a risk and giving him the chance with surgery, or enjoying the time we have left together. Many thanks in advance…. From Baby and his very worried Mother.
post #2 of 6
Golly!! What a tough thing to have to go through I'm so sorry about Baby. Be comforted knowing that you've given him a wonderful life, and it sounds as though whatever decision you make will be a very well informed one.

I know nothing about cancer (kitty or human), so can't comment on that side of things. Which vet do you feel more confident in? Can they just do the exploratory surgery to see the extent of things, then let Baby recover and decide then if it's worth going ahead with the surgery to remove the cancer?

My kitty Stumpy had been in a car accident and had broken her pelvis in 2 places, and broke her tail. We brought her home from the shelter (we were "just" fostering her...) so she could recover in a home rather than a cage, and this was about 2 weeks after her accident and she was trying to run around! She was moving very gingerly, and didn't have a lot of strength, but within a few days she was jumping up and down on to our couch and trying to run up and down the stairs. If she went too fast on the stairs, she'd stumble, but she recovered SO fast. A human with a broken pelvis has a much longer recovery time. The vets said because they can walk on 4 legs and distribute the weight better, they deal with it much better, whereas we need to walk on 2 legs which puts a whole lot of pressure on our pelvises.

My kitty was only about 7 months old at the time, but I think in general cats are pretty resilient and deal with things much better than we can.

So maybe start with the minimum required to see the extent of his problems, then if you can afford it, do whatever you can. If nothing else, you'll know you've done everything you can for Baby. You'd hate to regret not trying everything!
post #3 of 6
I'm so very sorry to hear about Baby . . . my heart goes out to you. I've dealt with cancer way too many times and I always hate to hear that another of our babies has it.

I wish I could give you some advice, but I haven't had any experience with this type of cancer or the surgery that's being suggested for Baby. Have you done a search on line to see if you can find any more information about it? Since you've gotten such different advice from 2 different surgeons, maybe it would help if you could find out a little more on your own. Yahoo has a wonderful group for feline cancer. I'm sorry, but I don't have the link right now, but if you go into Yahoo Groups and do a search for feline cancer, you should be able to find it.

Sometimes you just have to go with your "gut feeling" to make the decision. You know Baby better than anyone else, and you know what he will be able to tolerate.

My Shasta was 19 years old when she was found to have 2 tumors in her lungs. Not long after we found those, the cancer metastasized to her toe. My regular vet definitely wanted her to have surgery to amputate the toe and she referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon went over the surgery and all the complications that Shasta might have. He said that he could do the surgery, but because of Shasta's age, other health problems, and especially because of the tumors in her lungs, she wouldn't be with me much longer anyway, so he wouldn't really recommend putting her through surgery. I pretty much made up my mind after talking to him that I wasn't going to put Shasta through surgery. After I got home, I called her regular vet and told her that. We went round and round because she still felt that Shasta should have her toe amputated. But I went with my "gut" because I knew Shasta and loved her, and I knew what was best for her. And to this day I know what I did, or didn't do, was the right thing.

Whatever decision you make will be made because you love Baby and want what's best for him, and I really believe it will be the right decision.
post #4 of 6
IMO it depends more on your finances and what you can and are willing to afford. Mitten was 13 when he died - he had cancer (not sure what kind, but it was cancer). He went downhill fast. From 14 lbs to about 6-7 - skin and bones. He couldn't keep food down, could not make it to the litter pan fast enough and yet he purred and wanted attention.

The vet told me he could treat the symptoms (the cancer was thru his body) and he could live a few more months, but in the end I would come home to him being gone.

Personally, I loved him too much to let him suffer any more, so I made the decision to put him to sleep. I cried and cried, but for me, it was the best thing I could do.

Our prayers are with you on making the right decision for you and your cat
post #5 of 6
I assume the chemo will be 5FU, or Fluorouracil. It is usually very well tolerated.
How big is the tumor? Any tumor that is 1 cm in diameter or larger is big enough that it is usually considered a high risk to have spread.

I don't know about cancer in cats. You know your cat and will make the right descision. Thoughts and prayers for both of you.
post #6 of 6
I am so sorry that Baby is sick, I can't tell you what to do, only you can decide that.

But I would do what ever I had to do, our beloved Sambo was very sick and we tried and tried everything that the vet knew to do.

It wasn't until Sambo's body was shutting down, that we decided to have him put to sleep.

And I don't regret trying either, I will never be caught not trying for my pets.

Please keep us posted on what you decide to do about Baby.

I am sending hugs and prayers from Mississippi for you and for Baby.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › PLEASE help - deciding about surgery!