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My cat of 14 yrs was put down after developing a lung tumour. Could I have prevented?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My cat of 14 years had to be put down today after a tumour was discovered in both her lungs. I've come here to find an answer or try shed some light on what may have caused her condition to get so bad unnoticed. I have another cat (bijou's kitten) so I'd obviously like to know how to prevent this from happening again.

About three months ago Bijou looked unwell and started to hunch up on all four legs, at times facing towards a wall. She also showed no interest in eating. I also noticed vomit on the floor, which was a clear liquid with bright red specs of blood. However, since I have two cats I was unsure of which one was vomitting. When I took her to the vet three months ago she was said to have a large thyroid, slightly underweight, increased heart beat and fast breathing. No x-ray was taken but she had blood tests done and it came back positive for parasites (worms).

After worming treatment she seemed to get back to her old self but in the last week she appeared a little more lazy and literally overnight her condition worsened rapidly. This morning I found her crouched on all fours and extremely off balance. I took her to the vet again and after x-rays she was said to have either pneumonia or a tumour. The blood tests came back a couple hours later and she was said to have a tumour, despite the vet saying that the tests were close to normal. The x-ray of the lung showed the lung to be light in colour with little white specs all over both lungs. Blood tests done were lab2/general health prof, cbc, and lytes. I was told nothing could be done surgically because it had spread over both lungs and surrounded most of her lung tissue. I was told the cancer had mostly likely spread elsewhere within the body and that my only option was to have her put down or placed in an oxygen tank. Obviously, the oxygen tank would have caused her distress and she probably would have died overnight anyway.

Because she was in pain it was advised we have her put down almost immediately so after receiving the phone call me and my mother rushed to the vet. When we got there she was conscious, eyes open but heavily sedated. After viewing the x-rays and signing the consent form a blue liquid was administered into the stomach and Bijou was gone within 1min. We took her home and after the space of two hours she became cold and very stiff. I almost don't want to believe she is dead. It seems so strange that she was reasonably well one minute and the next was said to have cancer. In terms of her physical condition she'd actually gained weight and up until today was still eating, drinking and following us around.

On a side note about several years ago we had both cats on science plan dry food but they developed Crystals (a urinary tract infection) so we took them off it and kept them on felix wet food. It's only been in the last few months that they have been back on science plan dry and wet pouches.

My question is should/could anything have been done to prevent this and should my vet have spotted this three months ago and done an x-ray then rather than now?

Obviously, when it comes to pets you've loved for years cost isn't an issue but does anyone thing £110 for two x-rays is excessive? Not to mention a charge for euthanasia?

many thanks
post #2 of 10
I don't have an answer to your question, but I just want to say I am very sorry for the loss of your kitty. That is so sad.
post #3 of 10
I lost my little girl, Sheba, last month to lung cancer, at the young age of barely 3 years. I've talked to several vets, both at the clinic where I took Sheba, and in social contexts and they all said it's something that "just happens."

I also own my baby Sheba's full brother and sister. Of course I wonder if it may happen to them as well, especially since they are purebreds, but I don't dwell on it. We can only do our best. That's all our furry friends ask of us and it sounds like you made the very best decision for your darling cat. Lung cancer in cats is not really survivable.

I am deeply sorry for your loss. I truly understand how you feel. I hope you are soon able to focus more on the happy memories that you have of your baby.

Take care,

post #4 of 10
I can't answer that, but it sounds as though you did everything you can. Maybe the vet didn't do an x-ray because there was nothing to indicate the need for one initially? A lung tumour sounds pretty serious, and I imagine by the time it's big enough to be noticeable, it's probably hard to treat.

It's hard to lose a kitty at all, let alone with questions about their death. Sorry for your loss.
post #5 of 10
I am so sorry for your loss.
post #6 of 10
I really wish to have any answer my friend... But I don´t have it...
I guess you take her (at least every year) for a anual check of her and you put all vaccines...right?...
So sorry for your lost... RIP to her...
post #7 of 10
I lost my best cat ever a year and a half ago - apparently to pancreatic cancer (I didn't have the necroscopy done). She was only about 10 (shelter cat, hence the "about"). She had developed epilepsy, so I was taking her to the vet every few weeks for blood tests to make sure her medication levels were right and then bang, the next thing I know, she's gone. It was super fast with almost no signs of decline in our case. She had been a bit listless and off her food the day before, but she was interested in food that morning before I left (for Europe) or I would have cancelled the trip. When I got to my friend's house, her husband said the cat sitter had called and she was barely alive. I called the vet, then went straight back to the airport, hoping to get home soon enough to be with her when she went, but she died about 45 minutes before I landed. I asked the vet how, how, how I could have missed that she was so ill. How, with all those visits to the vet (different vet in the same clinic) and all the tests she'd been having that it hadn't been detected. She insists that sometimes it just happens, like that -- and chastises me every time I see her to quit beating myself up about it, but it is hard. I think sometimes it just happens that way. I'm so sorry for your loss.
post #8 of 10
My cat started losing weight about six months ago. I took him to the vet thinking it might be a thyroid problem, just because of his age. His thyroid felt normal. She ran some blood tests. His calcium levels were elevated. She said this is often a sign of lung cancer. She then did two x-rays (the cost was around $250 just for the x-rays). There were a couple of masses found in his left lung. She said the next step would be to biopsy, but I declined. Thoracic surgery would be horribly painful and at the most he would live another two years, and that is putting aside the incredible cost. I asked her how long he has to live. She said it could be a month or two years, that with cats they are "fine" until they are not. I spoke with a friend who is a veterinarian and she said usually once lung cancer has been discovered the end of life was near.

I'm sorry for your loss.
post #9 of 10
Craftydabbler -- sorry for the diagnosis. I hope he will do better than your vet friend suggested he might.
post #10 of 10
I had a dog years ago that was put to sleep due to a lung tumor. Her health declined rapidly and when we took her to the vet there wasn't much we could do. I feel we did everything right with her but in the end I don't believe there was anything we could have done to prevent it. It's just one of those that happens unfortunately.
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