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PLEASE help - deciding about surgery???

Paige OzaroskiPaige Ozaroski Member Posts: 5
edited 6 June, 2007 in Cat Health
Hi. My cat (Baby) is 13 and a half years old. On 12/25/06 I found blood in his stool – (what a Christmas present). He went to the vet right after New Years, and went on medicine for colitis. Long story short, on May 8th he had a colonoscopy. They found just what I had feared – Cancer. I am looking for anyone who has had a cat with colon cancer or any vet or surgeon who would be so kind as to give me their opinion and advice. The type of colon cancer he has is called adenocarcinoma, and it is pretty far inside the colon and deep from what I understand. Basically what I am trying to do is decide whether or not to put him into surgery for this. If he has the surgery, it will be “exploratory” because they will see if there are any other small cancerous areas, and if not, they will remove the one tumor we are sure exists. Because of the location of the tumor, they will need to “split” his pelvis to remove the entire thing. We go to see the surgeon on Monday (June 11) for a consultation, so I am trying to gather all of the info and advice I can, so that I can make the most informed and educated decision possible. My cat means the world to me – I’ve had him since I was 11 and he is like a child to me. I have been told that without surgery he is expected to live about 3 more months. With surgery (followed by chemo), he would be expected to live 3 – 18 months. (I was concerned about the chemo but I have been told that this type of chemo is very well-tolerated by cats). The problem is that I have gotten advice from 2 different surgeons… and their takes on this were complete opposite of each other. One surgeon was consulted by his old vet near where we used to live. She consulted the surgeon as a courtesy to me and got some information. (All of Baby’s colonoscopy results and history, etc were faxed over to her, so she knows the whole story and type of cancer, etc). This surgeon was VERY negative about putting the cat through surgery. She said she’s done this exact surgery before and the outcomes have not been very good. She said that sometimes the cat is debilitated and can never walk the same due to the splitting of the pelvis. She also said that he may not me able to control his bowel movements and urination – at that could possibly be permanent. She said owners have had to sometimes put them down afterwards anyways because of their quality of life and owners having to deal with the special needs of them not being able to control going to the bathroom, etc. So after hearing that, I was certainly leaning towards NOT doing the surgery. However, the other surgeon (who would do the surgery if we decide to) was consulted by the Dr who did Baby’s colonoscopy. I will be speaking with the surgeon directly on Monday, but in the mean time, the colonoscopy Dr and my Vet have both spoken to him. They seem to have a more optimistic outlook on things. They are not too concerned about him not getting through the surgery (he does have a small heart murmur and high blood pressure – which is under control with medications). We know it’s a risk with any surgery, but it didn’t seem to be a huge concern from what the surgeon said. They did not seem too concerned about splitting the pelvis either, and said that since it’s a small cat, it shouldn’t be that bad (as opposed to a large dog or something). It will add a little time onto recovery, but they weren’t too concerned. My current vet also was not as concerned about him losing control of going to the bathroom. She said it is possible, but because of the location, it isn’t a huge risk. My vet said she has worked with this surgeon and he is very very good, has many many years of experience, and he teaches at one of the top veterinary schools in the country. So with that being said, I have one surgeon telling me there is no way she would put her cat through this… and then a vet and colonoscopy Dr telling me that they would go the surgery route. I am so torn, and I only have until Monday to figure out what to do. Another option would be to not do the surgery and just go with Chemo and hope it helps a little, and maybe give him antioxidants and anything else that would help. Overall, one would never know anything is wrong with Baby (at this point). He is so happy, pretty active (for being almost 14), always purring, eating and hungry as usual, chasing the birds outside (from inside the window – he is an indoor cat!). The only way one would ever know anything is wrong is that he has blood in his stool and strains a bit sometimes. If there is anyone out there who has dealt with this – colon cancer (especially adenocarcinoma) and/or the splitting of the pelvis, (or even deciding on something when getting 2 opposite opinions from surgeons) - I would be so very grateful beyond words to hear about your experience and any advice. At this point I have no idea what to do, so any information would be greatly appreciated. I wish I had more time, but I need to make a decision by Monday. We want to do what is best for him – whether that means taking a risk and giving him the chance with surgery, or enjoying the time we have left together. Many thanks in advance…. From Baby and his very worried Mother.


  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 6 June, 2007
    What a difficult decision you are faced with. I am sorry about the diagnosis, and wish you the best with whatever route you decide to take. I urge you to get chest films taken, due to the risk of metastatic changes to the lungs. If the cancer has metastasized, then surgery may not be an option. You may want to talk with an oncologist about survival rates with and without surgery, chemo, or a combination of the two. Purring for you!!!!! Adenocarcinomas can affect either the small intestine or the large intestine. They are usually quite rapidly growing tumors that often cause disease due to partial blockage of the intestine (loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs). Metastasis to local lymph nodes is common, and the tumors often invade the intestine quite extensively. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice. Additional chemotherapy is used in some cases although the efficacy of this is uncertain. Long survival times can be achieved in some cases (with surgery alone) even where the tumor has already spread to local lymph nodes. Adenocarcinoma * intestinal ADC accounts for 20%-35% of all feline GI tumors * mean age 11 years (range, 2-17 years) * breed predisposition: Siamese * intestinal ADC has no association with FeLV or FIV * sites: small intestine and particularly jejunum or ileum * histologic subtypes: tubular, undifferentiated, and mucinous * tubular ADC may have a better survival rate than undifferentiated and mucinous ADC * majority of feline intestinal ADC are advanced with 72% metastatic rate at diagnosis * metastatic sites: peritoneum and regional lymph node are common, but others include liver, bone, and lungs Some additional info you may be interested in reading:
  • Paige OzaroskiPaige Ozaroski Member Posts: 5
    edited 6 June, 2007
    Thank you SO much for your response. I am going to check out the links you suggested. Some things I forgot to mention (there was so much info running through my head as I wrote my post) - he actually did have chest xrays done right before the colonoscopy (so about a month ago), and they said everything looked ok. He also had a complete ultrasound a couple weeks ago, and they didn't really see anything else too concerning. They did biopsies on a couple other tiny masses in his colon during the colonoscopy, but those came back benign (at least for the moment). He also had a complete cardiac checkup last month and all looked good - they said the slight heart murmur didn't seem to be a concern. Anyways, just thought I'd add those things, so hopefully anyone who reads my post will see this - there were so many things that I forgot to mention the chest xrays, etc. Thanks again for your suggestions - it means a lot to us!
  • Sandy BonvouloirSandy Bonvouloir MonktonMember Posts: 129
    edited 6 June, 2007
    I am sooo sorry that you and Baby are faced with this!! My family and I are purring very very loudly for you. You are doing the right thing by researching and finding out as much as you can. Use Monday's appt. for the same thing.... find out as much as you can and get a feel for the surgeon before you decide one way or the other. We will be thinking of you... and purring super loudly for you. |:|
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