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How long on steroids is too long?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been posting a bit over the past few days because my cat, Kitty, has just been diagnosed with cancer in her abdomen. She has lost a lot of weight and now only weighs 6.75 pounds. The vet gave us the option to put her to sleep on Monday, but my Dh was not ready (and I'm not sure I was either.) So, he gave us a Rx for prednilisone (5mg daily) for two weeks. Kitty is still lethargic, but definitely eating more, drinking water, using the litter box (only to pee so far) and interacting with us.

The problem is, my DH is going out of town for 10 days from July 5-15, and we really worry that she will take a turn for the worse while he is gone - neither he nor I want for me to have to put her to sleep by myself/while he's gone. Our plan was to assess the situation again on Saturday, and if she is not markedly better (compared to the day we got the diagnosis) put her to sleep then. But now on the steroids, I don't know if we'll be able to put her to sleep like this. She is still "here" and we haven't gotten any idication from her that it's time.

So, my question is twofold. One, how long can I expect her to hold one before taking a downturn? I know this is an impossible question to answer, but if anyone has any experiences like this I'd like to hear them. And two, how long can one keep a cat on this high a dose of pred? When will it start to do more damage than help?

I'm really depressed about this today. I thought I would be able to process it over the week, but as Saturday approaches it's just really crushing me.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

post #2 of 8
Was an exploratory surgery and biopsy done to determine type of cancer and how far spread?


I lost my last cat to a lymphosarcoma that manifested itself as a mass in his abdomen.
He was 12 when he had his exploratory and had the mass removed.
I opted for no treatment at all, as his prognosis was poor regardless, I saw no point in making him sick with chemo when they only gave him 10% chance of survival.

With no treatment, he was only expected to live maybe a month, 4 months with treatment.
He was with me another 6 months before he told me it was time.

As for the steroids, I have had cats on them for as long as 6 weeks at a time with no ill effects.
Most of the bad effects from steroid use are long term.
If it is certain that your cat is in fact terminal, I would not worry about the bad effects and concentrate on doing whatever you can to make her feel well and want to keep fighting. She will still have good days and bad days.

I know I've given you no real answers, but hopefully what I've shared can at least help in some way.
post #3 of 8
There is no way to talk about a prognosis without knowing what kind of cancer it is and how far it has spread. You need to have a heart to heart talk with your vet on this one. There is no one on this site that can answer that question.

I too had a cat with lymphosarcoma and after removal of the primary mass, he lived about a month, and that was after a dose of chemo. He is most likely worst case.

I have a cat that just started Pred and he will be on it for the rest of his life. My vet claims that pred is easier on cats than on dogs and humans, but I have not read much on the topic so am taking her word for it. With Pred you are weighing the quality of life over quantity of life. Long term it will have ill effects, but long term is relative if there is cancer involved.

I am really sorry to hear about your baby and am sending big hugs your way to help you through your ordeal.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany

I have a cat that just started Pred and he will be on it for the rest of his life. My vet claims that pred is easier on cats than on dogs and humans, but I have not read much on the topic so am taking her word for it. With Pred you are weighing the quality of life over quantity of life. Long term it will have ill effects, but long term is relative if there is cancer involved.

I am really sorry to hear about your baby and am sending big hugs your way to help you through your ordeal.
I agree. I had a cat that had cancer and the prednisone did help him. I also had my oldest cat on it for quite a while. My vet told me also that cats handle it better than dogs or humans. Prednisone does increase the appetiite, thirst, and urination.If it does help him I would not be as concerned about keeping you baby on it for a longer term.
I will be sending vibes that you can make the right choice for your baby.
It is a hard one when you love them so much!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies. We opted not to have exploratory surgery as the vet was able to feel the mass in her spleen or omentum. He said that if it were localized to the splee, her eating would not have been affected, so he was 95% confident it had spread extensively. On xrays done 8 weeks ago, damage to the liver and upper GI was beginning to be evident. So she is (with 95% confidence) terminal. In fact, the vet did not recommend the surgery, and said that if it were his cat he would not subject her to it.

So we are doing paliative care. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope we can get a few weeks of quality time before the inevitable...

That's great about the pred. She seems to be feeling much better on it, so I will refill the Rx (if needs be) without worry.

Elizabeth
post #6 of 8
My cat is also on pred for asthma, and I have been told that the effects are really long term, so in your case I would not worry but make her last days as comfortable as possible.
post #7 of 8

My cat was diagnosed with feline leukemia in December 2011. He was on 40mg of pred a day. It has gradually been reduced to 5mg a day. He is still fine one year later.

post #8 of 8

You have replied to a thread whose previous entry was from 2006...  So I suspect most of the people in that thread have long since gone.  I know JennyRanson hasn't - she's one of the mods.

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