Hi. My cat (Baby) is 13 and a half years old. On 12/25/06 I found blood in his stool â€“ (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 â€“ 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 â€œexploratoryâ€ 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 â€œsplitâ€ 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 â€“ Iâ€™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 â€“ 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 surgeonsâ€¦ 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 Babyâ€™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 sheâ€™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 â€“ 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 Babyâ€™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 â€“ which is under control with medications). We know itâ€™s a risk with any surgery, but it didnâ€™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 itâ€™s a small cat, it shouldnâ€™t be that bad (as opposed to a large dog or something). It will add a little time onto recovery, but they werenâ€™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 isnâ€™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 thisâ€¦ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 â€“ whether that means taking a risk and giving him the chance with surgery, or enjoying the time we have left together. Many thanks in advanceâ€¦. From Baby and his very worried Mother.