Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I examined a 14 year old cat, W., about a month ago. His presenting complaint was weight loss. I could feel a large mass in his cranial abdomen. Surgery was scheduled quickly.

When I opened him up, I quickly found the ugly tumor. It looked like coagulated grape jelly, like a small misshapen spleen to me, attached to the liver.

The liver itself looked horrible. Normally a nice maroon color, W's liver was was yellow-tan, with large circles of bulging pale colored cancer cells. It looked like something forgotten in the fridge, now covered with colonies of bacteria.

Can't live without a Live-r. I could call and recommend euthanasia on the table. However, I knew the wife owner had just battled breast cancer, and this cat was so sweet. One liver lobe was much more affected than the others, and was pressing against the stomach. Surely the bulk of this cancerous lobe and the attached mass were contributing to W's lack of appetite. I decided to do a liver lobectomy, which would also remove the attached tumor.

I called the owners with the bad news after surgery. "The tumor has spread throughout the liver, but I didn't find it any where else." Given the poor prognosis, they declined histopathology -finding out specifically what kind of tumor it was, and if chemotherapy was even an option. I gave W. 3-6 months life expectancy, but silently knew if he didn't start eating post-operatively, he'd be dead in 1 month.

I heard nothing for 3 weeks. So I decided to call. My fear: did W. die at home?

"He's doing great!" his owner told me. "He starting eating the day after surgery, and he's still eating well. And, he's jumping on the counter tops and everything! We are so happy we decided to do the surgery." Me, too. I know W. is on borrowed time, but at least it's quality time.


peevish said...

Aww! Great story. Even if it doesn't last long, at least they will know they gave the cat a second chance. Yea! for you & them. And the kitty!

Emily said...

Oh, yea! I'm glad they are getting to enjoy their cat for a while longer. I know that Sabrina has entered her senior years now, and I'm grateful for her company for as long as I have it.

get2eric said...

Nasty stuff. Glad you were able to help a bit if only for a short time.

ColeBugsmommy said...

What no pictures???