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Tumor in belly.

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 11-15 years
I recently discovered my 13 year old cat has a probably cancerous mass growing in her stomach. I am at odds with myself about how to proceed.

I took her to the vet when I noticed a half dollar size sore on her back. The vet was concerned this may be cancer because of the thickness and hardness of the sore and recommended surgically removing it.

But then as she was feeling around in my cat’s stomach she felt a rather large mass inside. My cat layed calmly on the table as the vet gave a firm and thorough examination with her hand, but afterward my cat made horrible meowing noises and made a face I had never seen on a cat that could only have been from awful pain.

The vet then took x-rays to see the extent of the mass. The x-ray showed what looked like a baseball sized mass in my cat’s stomach. The mass seemed to be pushing up her intestines. One of her kidneys were shrunken almost to the point of non-existence. The vet also seemed concerned about some almost invisible white dots in the lower lung area.

The vet wants to do an ultrasound to see where exactly the mass is situated and if it is operable. Even if it is operable, the mass may have mestasized which means the surgury would not be enough to cure her. How likely is it that the sore on her back is caused by the mass in her stomach spreading?

If I were to forego treatment, I wonder if the sore poses a risk of infection? The vet gave my cat an antibiotic shot just in case, but that only covers a couple weeks. I also wonder about her comfort level down the road. She seems to be content at this point since I have not noticed any signs of pain since her check up. She eats normally, follows me around the house and purrs as usual. The only thing wrong with her is that she does walk in an arthritic-like style, but she has been doing that for about a year and I am giving her “Hip and Joint” treats with Glucosamine to help. Also, the vet said her blood panel showed that she was a bit anemic, which is likely because of the mass in her stomach.

If I forego treatment what would her future outlook likely be? And if I were to treat her (surgury, etc), what should I expect of her future?

Thanks for your advice.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, I'm sorry to hear this bad news. From what you have described, the chances of this being cured by surgery sound small. There is always a chance, but it really sounds like even if the mass in her abdomen can be removed, there are more serious issues going on and surgery would not be curative.

It's hard to say whether the skin mass and the abdominal mass are connected. It's certainly possible. The only way to know for sure would be to have samples sent to see if they are the same type of cancer.

It's also hard to predict what the future holds. If this were my case and it was decided not to go ahead with surgery then I would likely take things day to day. The most important thing to watch is her appetite. If she stops eating or is eating very little then this is a sign that she is really not doing well. At that point it is probably best to talk about euthanasia. I would urge you not to put euthanasia off too long. This is unlikely to be a curable issue and we really don't want her to be uncomfortable for any longer than she has to.

The other concern during her remaining time is whether the sores will become infected. This is really common with cancerous sores. Antibiotics may help for a while but you may find that eventually you can't keep on top of the infection. If the sores are oozing and really not looking good then again this is time to talk about euthanasia.

At any point if you are not sure about whether she is in pain, trust the judgement of your vet. They will be able to help you with making the hard decisions.

I hope things look up for her, but it does not look good. :(

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. 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.

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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.