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Lulu probably has small cell lymphoma :-(

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I had a thread that I started almost a year ago last January about our cat Lulu and how she had been losing weight and  had a tumor near her thymus gland. http://www.thecatsite.com/t/253647/first-toby-now-lulu-she-has-a-tumor-in-near-thymus-gland. We took her in for surgery and had it removed and it turned out to be a granuloma. We thought everything would be ok.


Fast forward to this fall, when we realized she still was not gaining weight and in fact she weighed less, had started to get mattings, and had begun going into the crouching position. She was not really vomiting very much but her stools were "ok" albeit not perfect. Like Toby she was vomiting, losing weight, otherwise fine, i.e. good appetite altho her energy had tapered off a little bit. 


I should add, Lulu is a long haired cat so it was hard to gauge her weight. Also she is my husband's cat, meaning, if I pick her up and pet her it will start a pee war in our home as she is a returned declawed pee cat who marks if she thinks she can move to #1 kitty lol. 


I couldn't come back to this site right away as our boy Toby only just passed away from lymphoma in May. It seemed like too much to bear :-(. 


Anyhow we took Lulu to the vet where she had an exam and blood tests. Her tests were perfect, so the vet had us do another test for pancreatitis which was also negative. 


We went to the specialty center for an ultrasound which indicated that she had diffuse thickening of the intestinal walls as well as enlarged lymph nodes. We were advised (the same as with Toby) that the only way to determine large vs. small cell was to have an exploratory surgery, as a needle biopsy (which we did to no avail with Toby) was not always successful. 


Because of our experience with Toby where his surgery yielded a confusing pathology report pointing to small cell but diagnosing large cell, and since Lulu already had major surgery this past spring to no avail (and she is 14) we decided to just treat her as a small cell lymphoma kitty because we knew we would not/could not go through another full year of chemo as we just finished with Toby who did not make it (see http://www.thecatsite.com/t/243465/toby-vomiting-and-losing-weight-fine-otherwise).


The team at the specialty center said ok to that, understanding what we already went thru and how testing can be inconclusive or random (altho they did say it is improved since we tested Toby over a year ago). But even so, Lulu does not have the same temperament as Toby. She is very friendly, but she pees when she is upset. Also, because her illness was not caught earlier, she is fragile right now, altho still walking around and holding her own. 


We are giving her a lot of affection and have put pee pads on the areas outside the litter boxy that she has chosen to use, along with making the master bedroom off limits due to her peeing on the bed. We just finished giving her the second Leukeron (chlorambucil) and she has been on prednisolone (leftover from Toby) for several weeks now. 


Her current regimen is 1/2 pred (2.5 mg) daily, 1 leukeron 3 times a week, 1 b12 shot a week, 3 or 4 or more fingerfuls of pumpkin daily, and as much grain free wet food as she will eat plus occasional dry treat (during meds- any alternate suggestions LMK). 


1. Here are my questions- I have not purchased Leukeron/Chlorambucil recently so I'm not sure what the going rate is these days. Can anybody tell me what they are paying per pill? 


2. Toby's Leukeron is expired but it has been in the fridge since we got it a little over a year ago. The treatment center where we got it has a practice of putting an expiration date 3 months after issue no matter what, so I have no idea how long it should normally last. In any case, I am using it right now. Anyone know what a "true" expiration might be?


3. Lulu's doctors wanted me to give her 5mg of pred daily. When I did that she was eating so much it was causing her to vomit. I have her on 2.5 and am calling the vet tomorrow. Has anyone else had a cat where the standard dose might be too much? Lulu is only a little over 5lbs now, poor baby.


4. When they did Lulu's ultrasound, they offered to shave her mattings but did not in the end. I spoke to them about it bc they shaved the area but left her long fur attached to the other adjoining fur. When I brought her back for the consult they said they would shave what they could. But then they told me her skin is too fragile and thin, and they said that even if we brushed her it could cause her skin to tear. They believe this is part of her disease. Has anyone ever heard of that before?


5.  They told me to do a diverse diet, choosing foods she has never eaten before, so now we are feeding her grain free of course, the following- buffalo, rabbit, venison, sardine, etc. We are also giving her stella and chewy's freeze dried raw. I recently purchased some frozen duck raw granules at the Petco, Nature's Variety, they are tiny little round pellets. My question is, does anyone have any other recommendations? Also what is the optimal procedure for thawing and serving the raw food that we have? 

Thank you all in advance. I can't even describe how tired and depressed this makes me to even talk about it, but I appreciate any feedback and other advice. I am primping her food too like I did Toby's and she really likes that. Here is her picture. She is just back from the vet and the other cats

are sniffing her. Toby's picture is in the background. My neighbor painted it for me in memory. It makes me feel like he is still there with the other kitties. :-(


post #2 of 12

Hi Barb. I can't be very helpful in answering your questions, but I did want to offer my condolences for the loss of Toby and send you my hope that things turn out well for Lulu. hugs.gif

post #3 of 12

I really can't answer your questions as far as expired medicine or the cost of leukeran.  You are lucky to have the prednisolone, it's difficult to get these days.  The leukeran is like a really really strong steroid so I think it would be possible to be too much when mixed with 5 mg of prednisolone. 


As far as diet goes you are doing all the right things, novel proteins and grain free.  I don't know anything about raw hopefully someone who does will be able to answer your questions about raw.  I would stick with the commercial raw because it is supposed to be free of pathogens.  The leukeran will suppress his immune system so I think the commercial raw would be the safe way to go.

post #4 of 12

As for the expiration dates liquid medicine is generally less stable than pills so its hard to say how long it could truly be good for.  Does it smell bad?  Yes cats as they age get thinner skin especially if they have cancer.  As for thawing the raw, what I do for my dog is pull it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge.

post #5 of 12

Oh Barb, I am so sorry about LuLu hugs.gif.  My heart is breaking for you...again.  frown.gif


I cannot answer many of your questions, but I can answer #4, about the mats and thin skin.  My :rbheart: Sven :rbheart: used to get really bad mats towards the end, and the groomer said he couldn't do much about them without tearing his skin, so that is a true statement.  


As far as food goes, have you seen this food chart?  http://www.catinfo.org/docs/FoodChartPublic9-22-12.pdf   It doesn't have every food out there, but it does have quite a few, and it shows the carb content, so you can pretty much tell what is grain free.  But really, even some foods that are grain free are still high in carbs.  What I look for is low carb mainly.  But with this chart you can look for high protein, high fat, low carb, etc.  As far as thawing the commercial frozen, I just put mine in the fridge overnight and then use it within the next few days.



post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you mrsgreenjeans that is a great chart! And thank you too about the mattings and skin info. I was wondering what the heck was going on, and I also felt too scared to pull at her skin to clean up her mattings. 


Thank you too everyone else for the information. The leukeron and pred are both pills and there is no smell, so I hope that is good news. Lulu has a good appetite too. I forgot to call the VSC today ugh. I will call them right after the new year when they are open again. I have a cold and I think it is just getting to me :-(. 


Thanks again for all the help. I will post again I'm sure, in this thread, as more questions come up. 

post #7 of 12
Oh Barb... hugs.gifhugs.gifhugs.gifhugs.gifhugs.gif

For the raw, I do the same thing. Put what i need for the next few days in the fridge to thaw.

Frozen raw: vital essentials is good, but not pathogen-free guaranteed (treated with high pressure pasteurization). Stella and Chewy's IS, also Nature's Variey is; Bravo is; and Primal's poultry proteins are. My cats LOVE the dog freeze dried Stella & Chewy's rabbit. The S&C dog foods (freeze dried or frozen) are appropriate for cats as they're supplemented with taurine and the veggies & "other stuff" are limited to 5% of the food.

You might want to consider adding 250mg of lactoferrin to her diet (split into 1/2 a capsule AM and PM) - VERY beneficial to immune system function, and already proven to help with lung and colon cancers. I'd also add an L. acidophilus probiotic. Helps B12 uptake and again, just general immune system support. I use Natural Factors double-strength acidophilus+bifidus in goat milk base (10 billion CFU), and give 1/2 a capsule AM and the other half PM (just sprinkled on food. Same with the lactoferrin. I use Jarrow lactoferrin - it's bovine, and that matters).

vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif !!!!!!
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well Lulu seems to be doing ok, holding her own. I just gave her the last Leukeron and I wanted to ask if anybody can tell me how much it costs nowadays. I have to buy more, I have been told the price has gone up and I just don't want sticker shock. Should I open another thread to ask? Augh.

post #9 of 12
Bumping your thread and hoping your will get a response to your question about leukeron price.
post #10 of 12
I don't know about the price. But I'm glad Lulu is "holding her own." That at least sounds promising! hugs.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifhearthrob.gif
post #11 of 12
It is so hard to have our babies sick. My prayers And thoughts are with you. Please keep a good thought for my Ms Kitty. She had surgery today to remove a foreign body in her windpipe. They want to keep her a few days and I am scared to death. She is my special girl.
post #12 of 12

Sending warmest thoughts to you at what is clearly a difficult time. So sorry.

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