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Question about abscess vs. tumor

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My cat Buffy was 11 years old and she started acting lethargic. I assumed her behavior change was because she was getting older and I started to monitor her more closely.

Within 2 days she was sleeping all the time and refusing to eat. I took her to the vet on the 3rd day, and the vet found an abscess on her upper leg, by the thigh area. My kitty was long-haired and I never noticed this abscess.

The vet looked at it, determined she had an infection and was "too far gone" to help her. He asked me if I have other cats, which I do, and he told me abscesses are from cat bites that get infected. He told me that if I tried antibiotics she would be dead by morning. I was in shock, and a complete basket case. Here I thought she was just getting older, and the whole time it was something that I could've prevented if I had given her an examination at home. He also told me that it was the result of a cat bite that had become infected.

My problem is that my cats are all indoor cats, that have always lived together, and are all declawed. They don't fight. They have their own areas they live in....and they've never bitten each other before.

So, I guess I'm wondering if a vet can determine the cause of an abscess just from looking at it? I kept asking him if he needed to test the abscess and he became very rude at times and told me he had been a vet for 40 year and knows what he is talking about.

I know it was in her best interest to be put out of her pain, but do you think it's possible the vet misdiagnosed her? Is it possible it could've been a tumor?
post #2 of 23
I would definitely get a second opinion, even if you have to drive to another town. You're doubting the vet's diagnosis, and it's better to feel that you have done all you can than to wonder forevermore if something could be done. Because of the suddenness of the symptoms, and abscess is likely, but I don't understand why it couldn't be treated. Abscesses can be drained, and then antibiotics can be administered. It is also possible to treat an abscess without antibiotics if necessary (my cat had very bad reactions to most antibiotics), so I don't understand why the vet would just send you home and do nothing.

If you can't get her to another vet immediately (let them know the urgency of the situation), then you can try warm compresses on the area--if it is an abscess, that will help the abscess to burst, and lots of icky, pussy fluid will eventually come out of the lump. When it bursts, you can clean the area with sterile saline solution (often found in the eye care section at the grocery store or in the first aid aisle). I would still strongly recommend seeing another vet as antibiotics may speed the healing process and your first vet sounds off--did he do blood work or any kind of test? His rude behavior may indicate that he's not competent anymore--perhaps he has a medical issue that he's dealing with, but that kind of aggressive would tell me that I don't want him treating my pets.

Also, while most abscesses form from cat bites or scratches, there can be other causes as well. My cat Spot had a couple of abscesses in his first six months living with me. I never saw my other kitty bite him, though it's possible. The second abscess was very stubborn to treat and ended up requiring a couple of surgeries. We think that it may have been due to a cyst beneath the skin that burst, leading to infection, or to a previous issue that was aggravated and therefore lead to the abscess. There can be other causes besides cat bites and scratches.
post #3 of 23
I am sorry about your Cat. Meeko had one and it was bad and the meds helped her and she is fine now. I would have got a 2nd opinion. I was once told coco had no chance when she was 9.5 years old but got the 2nd opinion and she is 16.5 now. Do not blame yourself. I would file a complaint also.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anyaisisbeatrix View Post
he became very rude at times and told me he had been a vet for 40 year and knows what he is talking about.
this alone would cause me to switch vets. after all, they're working for ME - i deserve respect & politeness if i ask for clarification on ANY matter!
wasn't sure from your post - did you have her PTS?
i would've INSISTED on antibiotics... after all, if she was going to die anyway, how could they hurt her?
sounds like a very insecure guy, to me.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately she was pts. The vet said she never would've made it- even if he "pumped her with antibiotics." She was drooling and meowing. It was really sad.

I am just having such a hard time believing that one of my cats would've bitten her. I also can't believe that I never noticed she was in any type of pain, or hurting, until it was too late.

Poor kitty. I hope this doesn't happen to anyone else. It has been a horrible experience. I called the vet again today (yeah, I'm a pain) and wanted clarification of what he determined the cause of her "infection" to be. I just don't understand how he could say it was an abscess from a cat bite without doing any testing. He told me it wouldn't have been worth the $$ spent because she was going to die.

I will never take another cat to him, although it's not his fault. I know I should've recognized the signs she was giving me, but I can't bring myself to return to that vet.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anyaisisbeatrix View Post
Unfortunately she was pts. The vet said she never would've made it- even if he "pumped her with antibiotics." She was drooling and meowing. It was really sad.

I am just having such a hard time believing that one of my cats would've bitten her. I also can't believe that I never noticed she was in any type of pain, or hurting, until it was too late.

Poor kitty. I hope this doesn't happen to anyone else. It has been a horrible experience. I called the vet again today (yeah, I'm a pain) and wanted clarification of what he determined the cause of her "infection" to be. I just don't understand how he could say it was an abscess from a cat bite without doing any testing. He told me it wouldn't have been worth the $$ spent because she was going to die.

I will never take another cat to him, although it's not his fault. I know I should've recognized the signs she was giving me, but I can't bring myself to return to that vet.
Is this a vet you frequently go to? The reason I ask is that Bijou recently had an abscess drained and antibiotics and it cost me over $500 so I wonder if the vet felt you couldn't afford the anaesthesia, operation and meds so just took the easy way out. I'm sorry you lost your little one but at least you now know that abscesses are not necessarily something that cannot be fixed.

It is possible your little one was past the point of saving, but I'd always recommend that in future you get that second opinion, particularly if the first opinion is to euthanize.

Our hearts go out to you as we all know how difficult it is to lose a beloved pet.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
I hope the vet wouldn't just assume I couldn't pay for the medical help. I would've done anything to save her.

Thanks for all the support.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anyaisisbeatrix View Post
I hope the vet wouldn't just assume I couldn't pay for the medical help. I would've done anything to save her.

Thanks for all the support.
That's why I asked if this was a vet you often went to that would know your financial situation, i.e. if you could afford a few hundred dollars or not. I agree that it would be terrible if the vet just assumed you couldn't pay. I sure don't like the sound of that vet if that's the way he is.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had taken my other cats to him before, but never Buffy. She had seen another vet, but I stopped going to that vet because another of my cats had megacolon and they refused to give me a referral to a specialist, so I started going elsewhere for them. I don't think I"ll go back to him either anymore.

I am having a hard time believing it was an abscess from my other cats biting her. I don't know if I'm in denial, or if there is something to it. I'm trying to do some research for answers....and honestly, it's driving me insane. :-) I can't help but wonder if it was a lump and it got infected over time. It just happened so quickly that I can hardly pinpoint what went wrong.

It has been about 2 weeks now, and it doesn't get easier. :-(
post #10 of 23
Sorry this is kind of long. I was taking care of a stray cat outside, he was completely feral, I could only feed him from a great distance. Well one day I found him in my garage, very bad off, when he tried to run from me in the garage he was running standing up with his two front paws up, he couldn't touch them down to the ground. Of course I knew he needed help right away. I don't know how I managed it but I got him into a cat carrier and brought him to an emergency hospital (of course it was a weekend and no vets were opened). They said he had very bad abscesses on both front legs from bites from other cats. They cleaned him up kept him for a day and said he was doing alright. I brought him back to my garage, and was giving him antibiotics. He still couldn't move. He was worse then ever. I had him on a blanket because at this point he couldn't even fight anymore to get away from me. My heart was broken for him. To have a completely feral cat be completely dependent on a person was just breaking my heart. I got him to my Vet that Monday, the Vet told me he was pretty bad off. She told me he was in a lot of pain, but she told me you could bring him back to the Emergency hospital. I asked her what her opinoin was, was he going to get better, she told me no she really didn't think so. I had him PTS, I know what your going through making that call just about destroyed me, but I couldn't see him suffering. I often grapple with myself about whether I should have taken him back to the hospital again, but he could have suffered more. You do what you think is best at the time.

Prayers for you at this very difficult time.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswient View Post
Sorry this is kind of long. I was taking care of a stray cat outside, he was completely feral, I could only feed him from a great distance. Well one day I found him in my garage, very bad off, when he tried to run from me in the garage he was running standing up with his two front paws up, he couldn't touch them down to the ground. Of course I knew he needed help right away. I don't know how I managed it but I got him into a cat carrier and brought him to an emergency hospital (of course it was a weekend and no vets were opened). They said he had very bad abscesses on both front legs from bites from other cats. They cleaned him up kept him for a day and said he was doing alright. I brought him back to my garage, and was giving him antibiotics. He still couldn't move. He was worse then ever. I had him on a blanket because at this point he couldn't even fight anymore to get away from me. My heart was broken for him. To have a completely feral cat be completely dependent on a person was just breaking my heart. I got him to my Vet that Monday, the Vet told me he was pretty bad off. She told me he was in a lot of pain, but she told me you could bring him back to the Emergency hospital. I asked her what her opinoin was, was he going to get better, she told me no she really didn't think so. I had him PTS, I know what your going through making that call just about destroyed me, but I couldn't see him suffering. I often grapple with myself about whether I should have taken him back to the hospital again, but he could have suffered more. You do what you think is best at the time.

Prayers for you at this very difficult time.
This is a good post - don't beat yourself up. You did what you thought was the right thing because of what the vet told you. You have nothing to be sorry about - sad, yes because you miss your kitty and we all understand that but please don't feel you've made a mistake.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
This is a good post - don't beat yourself up. You did what you thought was the right thing because of what the vet told you. You have nothing to be sorry about - sad, yes because you miss your kitty and we all understand that but please don't feel you've made a mistake.
Yosemite, your comforting words helped me a great deal as I'm sure they will help anyaisisbeatrix. Thank you.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswient View Post
Yosemite, your comforting words helped me a great deal as I'm sure they will help anyaisisbeatrix. Thank you.
Actually, I was saying your post was good and was sending the comforting words to anyaisisbeatrix and I guess it was confusing. Nevertheless I feel the same for you - just know kitty is pain-free and playing over the bridge.
post #14 of 23
i am sorry you dealt with such an unhelpful vet, I certainly would have pushed for antibiotics. My first cat had an abscess, and I hadn't had cats of my own before, I noticed an odd coloured spot on her back (she was pure white) and asked my neighbours for advice (they did rescue work for 10 years), she said it was nothing to worry about, and it wasn't till a couple of days later (when it burst) that she offered to take the cat to the vet for me (i had only had her 2 months, not got her registered yet and didn't have a car or cat carrier at the time). They drained the abscess and sent her home with a collar and drains in her back, was an awful thing to deal with. Sadly 2 days later she started fitting and despite taking her to the emergency vet, she didn't make it. I have always wondered if she could have had longer if I had asked the neighbours to take me earlier, even though the vet at the time said it wasn't connected. The experience has made me a better cat owner though, I am no longer as willing to see how things go and prob dont need to do half the vet visits I actually do, so hopefully you can learn from this and her death needn't be in vain. RIP little one.
post #15 of 23
Yosemite, no I know who you were talking to, I said it wrong, your words to anyaisisbeatrix helped me.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aswient View Post
Yosemite, no I know who you were talking to, I said it wrong, your words to anyaisisbeatrix helped me.

I'm glad then. It's never easy losing a beloved pet and often we agonize whether we could have done something differently, but we all can only make our decisions with the information we have on hand at the time.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your kind words. I think it will be a long time before the guilt and the sadness go away.

I took my other kitties to a different vet today for a check up. I am so paranoid now that even if I think they're okay, I need reassurance that they are. This vet discussed the situation with cat that was pts and he stated that based on what I told him it sounded to him as if it was a swollen lymph node that was cancerous. He told me that it wouldnt have changed had I brought her in 3 weeks or 3 days before.

I don't know what to believe, but have learned so much about different things in the past 2 weeks that it has been a real eye opener.
post #18 of 23
Do not blame yourself. I have done that before and the vet told me not to do it. I hope you feel better.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Could someone please provide me with some information on cancerous tumors in cats? I am trying to do some research on these so I can try to get some answers.

Can a cancerous tumor get infected? Could it smell over time? Would a cat act fine with a tumor, until it was so sick it would just become lethargic? Can an abscess from a "cat bite" lead to cancer over time?

Thanks. :-)
post #20 of 23
One of my Sisters cats years ago had a mammory tumor, years ago they didn't push spay/neuter, she was an inside cat only. Well the tumor ulcerated, I believe that is when my sister noticed it. It ran and the odor was very strong I assume because of infection, she was her old self all the time you wouldn't know anything was wrong. But once it ulcerated there was nothing could be done, they tried surgery but she was too weak and the anesthisia killed her. Your last question I can't answer, but I would think that any open abrasion that is infected has a greater chance of turning cancerous over time.
post #21 of 23
Cancer is cancer, in a human or cat. And yes, it will smell. At the latest stages you smell decay. As for that vet, I would find me another one. Ours is wonderful, and even yells at the owners for not treating his patients better

We have cat fight problems here. We keep albon on hand as it works for us on them. Keeps the bites clean and keeps the pus balls(as I call them) from getting bad. The moment we notice one, they go on the albon.

I feel for you on the lost one. You did fine, and I lost one to cancer. It is hard, hugs for ya
post #22 of 23
I think this site might help you. Please, try to understand it wasn't your fault.

This part in particular is on the site below. I hope its able to bring you some peace.

Abscess wounds on the flanks or other areas where the skin is loose, may lead to what is called a Cellulitis condition. This means that the abscess, instead of localizing in one lump, spreads under the skin throughout the loose tissue areas.

This type of infection is difficult to treat and is often let pass unnoticed by the cat's owner because no definite lump forms as a warning. By the time it becomes evident that the cat is ill or does need veterinary attention, deep infection of a large area may have already set in. At this stage of a Cellulitis condition, the cat is often extremely toxic (suffering the effects of blood poisoning) and requires extensive medical treatment. If this infection is near the spinal column, it may even enter the spinal cord and lead to complex damage of the nervous system itself, or kill the cat outright.



http://www.geocities.com/pndtpa/glossary/abscess.htm
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much. I appreciate all the kindness and help.

It has been 3 weeks since I lost my cat and I still cry at least once a day. I know it will get easier, and I have 3 other kitties, but she was my "first born" and I miss her.

Thanks to all of you.
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