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Is this a chest tumor?

Species: Cat
Breed: Siamese- Apple head
Age: 8-11 years
Hello.

My active, normal weight and wonderful female Siamese began coughing about a month ago.
There has not been any noticable changes in her activity, eating or litter box.

The cough recently became more frequent: day and night, from asleep and awake. So we took her to the vet. They put her on steroids and antibiotics. There was no improvement.

Xrays were taken and nodules are in her left lung. The vet has referred us to an internal medicine doctor for an ultrasound. Our appointment is Monday 4/15.
Everything I'm reading says that there is not an easy, 100% accurate way to determine what's in the lungs. Is there any other option for diagnosis?

I would like to know all of our options before handing out $450 to be told that the ultrasound doesn't show anything.

Yueng coughed all of lastnight. It is heartbreaking to see her suffer through those cough attacks. So, I would like to make sure that what we are doing to help her isn't wasting time nor our limited money.

Thank you for your insight!

p.s. When I get home from work tonight, I will send you her xrays.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi. Are you able to send the xrays still? I was about to answer the question but if you are able to send an image of the xrays to me this may give me more information. I am heading offline for the night right now, but I'll check in on the question again tomorrow.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I just emailed the xrays to your photo@ email address.
My vet had to email the xrays again. I was not able to open the photos from the disc that they gave me.

Let me know if you did not receive them.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for sending these images of xrays. I have spent some time in photoshop and outlined what the problem may be. It's often hard to interpret xrays though and this is likely why your vet wants to have further tests done.

Here is the lateral (side) view of Yueng's chest:

cat chest xray lateral view

When you look at chest xrays, you want to see black where air should be. You should be able to easily see the heart. In the image below, I have outlined the heart, but there is a troublesome area that may possibly be a tumor:

cat xray of tumor in chest - lateral view

Here is the v/d view. This is done with the cat on her back. (I just realized that I have these flipped the wrong way horizontally, but that really doesn't matter for my explanation:

cat xray of chest v/d view

In a v/d view of a chest xray, when you look at the black areas on either side they should be symmetrical. But, there is a density on the left side of this xray which could be a tumor:

cat xray of tumor in chest - v/d view

The problem is though that xrays are super hard to interpret. What I can say is that there is *something* unusual there and the most likely explanation is that this is a tumor. However, it could be that this is a collapsed lung or even pneumonia (that perhaps needs a different type of antibiotic) or a number of other unusual types of things.

An ultrasound may give us the answer, but it is not always 100%. If the vet feels it is safe and necessary they may consider putting a needle into this area when they are ultrasounding to see if they can draw out some cells. The cells may tell you whether this is a tumor or something else.

Hopefully it is not a tumor as cats with chest tumors usually do not do well.

I hope this answers your questions but please let me know if you have more. I hope that all works out ok.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.