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Feline Mastectomy

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I am very new to these forums but really need some support in this..

My first cat died of renal failure in my arms, and that still brings tears to my eyes over 3 years later. We were best friends and I loved her very much. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to go through.

My cat now I adopted from the Toronto Humane Society at 6 years old. She had been spayed by them so it was really late for a cat and I read it causes problems. Lately her right nipple has been inflamed. It went away and then returned worse than ever. I went to the vet last night who informed me that it is most likely a tumor, in which 80-90% are malignant. Also was informed of an altogether cost of about $1600 for x-rays, bloodwork and the surgery. I am only working temporarily and have been trying to save for school. That and my ex, despite telling me he would help with 'our' cat has said he doesn't want to spend the money. This kind of money is just not in my pocket. Tomorrow I'm going to a family member vet who can hopefully help me out a little with the cost issue, but I am really starting to get upset.. for her life.

I love this cat like she's my best friend and daughter almost. I spend a lot of time with her, play with her, feed her, cuddle, talk, everything. I knew when I got her I wouldn't have as much time with her being that she was an older cat, but I thought at least I'd have longer.. It isn't fair that my cats can't just die a natural death..old age. They have to suffer. I don't know what to do. All the sites I've gone to have said that there is a chance of the tumor recurring in the spot where the surgery was performed. I want to know if anyone has gone through this particular thing? They have to remove the lymphnodes and nipple of at least the right side. I'm afraid that it won't work, or that she'll deteriorate and live the rest of her life in pain. Keeping up a chemo regimine is not in my budget in any way. I feel so terrible. How do you deal with problems like this? What are your experiences and how do you deal with the loss?

Thanks for any insights
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Nobody seems to have had the same problem here..

I'll be going in tomorrow to a family vet, I'll update on the situation. I am beyond upset that my ex- backed out of his promise to help me pay for medical problems. I hope the verdict is better than the vet from yesterday
post #3 of 26
I'm so very sorry you and your baby are going through this. It's wonderful that you've come to us to share this trying time. Although we may not have experienced this same situation, so many of us have had similar experiences of having to make difficult decisions concerning our babies and carefully and lovingly nursing them back to health.

While I haven't been through this same situation, I understand completely the love you have for your little girl. Sierra is my love, my heart, my soul mate, and Serenity is my precious joy. They are my life. You may find some people, perhaps your ex, for instance, don't understand the love and commitment you feel for your daughter, but here, please know we do, and we feel your pain. My heart breaks for you just thinking about what you're both going through. You are both in my prayers and on my heart as you visit your family Vet tomorrow. Please let us know how your little girl's appt goes, what her Vet has to say, and how she is feeling.

Snuggles to you both from my girlies
post #4 of 26
Good luck with the vet visit - I have dealt with mammary cancer, but it was in a cat that treatment wasn't an option, so not dealt with the mastectomy side - my neighbour has though. Do be aware that mammary cancer does have a high incidence of recurrence, I think my neighbour bought her cat about a year or so by having the nipples removed. It does depend on what the x-rays show though, as if there is signs it has spread, it isn't fair on her to put her through any treatment. Here is a link to an article I wrote about mammary cancer after Blackie's diagnosis, dont know if it will help you though

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...mammary+cancer
post #5 of 26
I am sorry, I don't have as much time lately to spend on here, and didn't see your post yesterday.

I have had a cat with a mastectomy, and one where it was proposed. In the first case, we removed all the nipples on her right side, lymph nodes (x-ray was done first to try to be sure it had not spread to the lungs), and we thought we caught it early.
Within a short time (about 2 weeks after a couple of weeks of healing), it became clear it had spread to her lungs. I honestly wish I had not put her through it...but that is in hindsight. We truly thought we were giving her a chance for extended, good quality of life.

In the second case, we simply beat the odds...fluid filled cyst around one very bright pink enlarged nipple, that once drained totally went away. It does come back and refill, we get it drained and she's fine. This has been going on for over a year, it is clearly not cancer. Misty is one of the rare ones with a breast lump that is benign.

I wish you all the best, I can imagine a bit of how difficult a decision this is, and I surely understand not wanting our kitties to be ill
post #6 of 26
Please let us know how your little love is feeling and how her Vet appt. went. You've both really been on my mind and remain in my prayers.
post #7 of 26
I haven't had experience with mammary cancer, but have had with several other kinds of cancer. I lost my 19 year-old kitty to cancer 3 years ago. My greatest wish was for her to go to sleep and not wake up, but that didn't happen.

I hope your vet visit goes well today. You and your kitty will be in my thoughts.
post #8 of 26
Sorry to hear about your troubles. Around Christmas time this year i had some pretty huge unexpected vet expenses - i applied for a CareCredit account and used that to get Rajah the treatment she needed. A lot of people thought i was crazy to drop $1500 on a 13 year old cat, but she's worth every penny and seems to have pulled through. I am very happy to have bought some more time with her. Maybe Care Credit could work for you too, many vets accept it, and if your's doesn't you should be able to find one who will. The payment plans are very flexible, i paid it off fairly easily.
post #9 of 26
My baby Cassandra was also jut diagnosed with mammary cancer. I don't know how early we caught it. I've been to my regular vet twice in the last week and have an appointment with a specialist sugeon on Wed., June 27. I just got Cassandra 2 years ago from a shelter when she was about 7. She was there for 2 years before I found her. She is the sweetest long haired calico princess. Hopefully after the consultation with the specialist we will schedule a unilateral mastectomy very soon. So far her lungs are clear. I understand how the money can play a big part in the decision. My friends and family all think I'm crazy for doing a $2,000-$3,000 surgery on my cat but my mom understands (she has 4 kitties). She is actaully going to put it on a credit card and then we'll both just pay what we can. I would do anything for Cassandra except prolong her pain.
post #10 of 26
Good luck for Cassandra.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the support and advice.

I took my baby to a family vet last Wednesday and he was amazing. He is also charging a lot less which is a huge weight off my shoulders, because I would have spent any money to make her better.

I brought her in on Monday night and she had surgery yesterday. Today I talked to the vet and he said that he had hoped he would only have to remove the one nipple but ended up having to do a full masectomy on her right side. Poor baby is shaved from her chin to her bum.

I was supposed to pick her up today but the vet said I should wait til tomorrow since she it is a painful procedure. I miss her so much! He mentioned something about how it might not be a good verdict when they test the samples to see if it's malignant, and we might have to be 'aggressive' with it to help her live longer. I'm not really sure what that would entail.. and I'm really worried. I don't want her to be in pain for the rest of her life, through many surgeries and whatnot. Every scenario is running through my mind right now.

It's so confusing because she's still a rambunctious girl, still very lively.. to think she may slowly be dying just doesn't make sense. I understand COMPLETELY with hoping that they could just go gently from old age in their sleep instead of dying in pain due to something like cancer.

Good luck to your Cassandra. Jenni and her are in this together.
post #12 of 26
my 1st cat, Medley, had to have some mammary cysts removed when she was about the age of your cat. i don't know if it was cancer or not - might've been, but if so, they didn't diagnose it as such & she wasn't treated for it. she lived for 2 more years. i don't know what, exactly, she died from - she started losing weight, had audible lung sounds... the vet [different one, long story] said it was one of 3 possibilities, 2 of which i knew were fatal. rather than subjecting her to testing, etc., i treated her for the non-fatal possibility. she only lasted a month after that, but didn't seem to be in any pain at all.
good luck with your baby Jenni [& also Cassandra, cassandrasmom!] prayers for both on their way from Texas!
post #13 of 26
Fingers crossed that the surgery gets it all - do check her remaining nipples on a monthly basis though, as it does have a chance of recurring. Good luck.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
I brought my baby Jenni home from the vet yesterday and she was SUCH a mess. She had developed and absess on her back from where the vet had poked her with a needle, so he had to drain it. She has big stitches all up her stomach, and to make things worse, she has an eye ulcer from when she was undergoing anesthesia. She had a cone around her head too.

Now he wants me to put drops IN her eye 4 times a day and feed her a pill.. Something pretty damn impossible when you can't hold her down too hard because her stitches are still fairly fresh. I don't know what to do!

She doesn't trust me at ALL right now, I can't get near her, nevermind shove a whole pill down her throat without getting my finger bit off and eyes scratched out. I tried crushing the pill and putting it into cheese but she doesn't trust a thing I give her right now after trying to put it in her mouth once already. When he calls me today I'll have to ask what to do but.. does anyone here have advice? I can't man-handle her because of her wounds.. Either I'll hurt her or she'll hurt herself.
post #15 of 26
Is she on pain medication?? If not, that might also explain why she won't let you near her. She sounds like she's just totally stressed out.

I would ask for pain medication, and try using a large towel to gently wrap around her and to then do your treatments.

When Mervat had her mastectomy they didn't have the options they now do for pain med (that I know of), and (with my vets permission) I used Arnican Montana - sublingually,and it def. helped. But...these days there are pain meds such as torubesic in VAL syrup (mis-spelled that I am sure) and buprenex.

I hope she feels better soon.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think they're actually anti-biotics to help keep her wounds clear of infection. I bought these 'pill-pockets' that the person at the pet store recommended. I called the vet office and the secretary recommended them too, as well as buying wet cat food and hiding it in there.
Hopefully these things work, they're not cheap :/
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalyno View Post
I think they're actually anti-biotics to help keep her wounds clear of infection. I bought these 'pill-pockets' that the person at the pet store recommended. I called the vet office and the secretary recommended them too, as well as buying wet cat food and hiding it in there.
Hopefully these things work, they're not cheap :/
What I am suggesting is that if your cat is still just a couple of days post-op, she's still in pain. Please ask your vet for pain medication and/or discuss this with them.

If they tell you cats don't feel pain, run to another vet (my very blunt 2 cents). It took Mervat a while to seem to not be feeling pain from her mastectomies (one whole side was done).
post #18 of 26
I pray for all of these darling kitties.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalyno View Post
I think they're actually anti-biotics to help keep her wounds clear of infection. I bought these 'pill-pockets' that the person at the pet store recommended. I called the vet office and the secretary recommended them too, as well as buying wet cat food and hiding it in there.
Hopefully these things work, they're not cheap :/
they should work if your cat likes those soft, moist treats - that's basically what they are. don't work for me, 'cause none of mine like them. for pills, i use a pill popper, & i butter the pill first. but since i hold the cat between my legs, that wouldn't be good for her, because that's where her wounds are. i agree with Yosemite - she probably needs some pain meds... maybe they can give you some injectable ones? injections aren't nearly as difficult to give as pills or liquids, IMO.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
i agree with Yosemite - she probably needs some pain meds...
I made the suggestion
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat & Alix View Post
I made the suggestion
oops, my bad
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
oops, my bad
Oh take the bag off your head I'm grumpy today...sorry.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat & Alix View Post
Oh take the bag off your head I'm grumpy today...sorry.
hmmm... so tell us, why are you grumpy?
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
hmmm... so tell us, why are you grumpy?
I have a thread on an injured knee that I just updated...found out I have arthritis in both knees...am using a cane, may need a brace. I have to lose weight...you can see why I might be grumpy
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat & Alix View Post
I have a thread on an injured knee that I just updated...found out I have arthritis in both knees...am using a cane, may need a brace. I have to lose weight...you can see why I might be grumpy
yeah, i can see that... poor baby!
post #26 of 26
Aww, I would certainly ask about pain meds for her, and fingers crossed.
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