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Help! What's this growth in my cat's mouth? (With photos)

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Jordan Canepari, Nov 29, 2020.


  1. Jordan Canepari

    Jordan Canepari PetForums Newbie

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    We found the first growth in my 11yr old cat's mouth in September 2020, hanging down from the top of her mouth (bad breath, oozy, etc).
    We put her through surgery to remove it (and two teeth) as the vets thought it might be a benign inflammatory mass and it seemed to be healing.
    However, we're seeing more growths now.
    Our vet won't give us a definitive answer, they're saying to operate again (and again and again) and we're at a loss.
    If this is the big C word, we want to keep her quality of life as best as possible.
    What do you think? (Let me know what your experience is with this in your replies too please).
    Screenshot_20201129-220449.png Screenshot_20201129-220101.png
     
  2. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    Hi.
    Did your vet get the removed growth tested to find out what it was?
     
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  3. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    Exactly what I was thinking.


    Our Betty died from a tumour in her mouth four years ago. She was 12 years old. But it did not look like this growth. The lump she had was very large, pink/black/grey and was under her tongue, so there no way to operate on it. They tried to biopsy it, but they couldn't get enough material to do it. However, whether it was cancer or not, the lump was so big, it caused her pain and misery. The vet also said it looked cancerous and said that a "lot of lumps in cats mouths are cancerous". We decided to let Betty go.

    Obviously, I'm not a vet, and this lump is very different. Are they able to do a biopsy? This seems vital as it may help in your decision process. Could it be an issue with her teeth? Has the vet suggested antibiotics or steroids?

    The questions I would be asking myself:
    Is she eating normally?
    Is she managing to wash herself?
    Betty stopped doing both of the above, which made our decision "easier".
    How is your cats behaviour? Cats hide pain a lot as a survival instinct, but you may notice changes in her behaviour.

    Betty's behaviour also changed, I can't put my finger on it, but the light just went out of her eyes, and we knew it was time. The lump did seem very suspicious of cancer, and seemed advanced.

    I hope this lump is nothing serious. I hope she's okay.
     
  4. Jordan Canepari

    Jordan Canepari PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, thank you for the reply - the tests came back benign for the growth but the surrounding cells came back uncertain.
    Not exactly helpful, I know!
     
  5. Jordan Canepari

    Jordan Canepari PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply I'm such detail. I'll answer chronologically.

    The tests came back benign for the lump itself but the surrounding cells were uncertain.

    She's just finished a course of antibiotics - we're going to put her on another set soon as it's the least invasive but high reward route.

    If I'm honest, she has a really hard time cleaning herself. We bath her weekly to keep her clean as she can't do it with her mouth the way it is.

    She loves to eat, but she has a really hard time doing so. She throws her head to the other side to allow for some chewing - eating is sporadic and short lived at best. Luckily she's a bit of a chunky cat.
     
  6. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    If she's having a hard time washing and eating, it's likely she has a very sore mouth. Cats hide their pain very well, so it's hard to know how much pain they're in, so should could be in a lot of pain without you knowing. I would look at getting painkillers for her from the vet and I would have a frank discussion with them about her future:
    What are her options? Is it realistic for her to have another operation? Will the lump just come back again? The vet might not be able to answer everything, however.

    The not eating is worrying. Eating is a big thing for them, cats are often very food-orientated. If she's not eating well, she could be malnourished, even if she's a big girl. What diet is she on? Whilst in many ways, it's not a time to mess about with her diet, just give her anything she likes, wants and can manage. I would absolutely give her wet food. Dry food is bad for cats, anyway, as it makes them dehydrated, but right now, she might find it hard to crunch and chew biscuits. I found giving Betty soft food helped a lot. She found the very wet pate-style (purina gourmet gold) best. It's very wet and sloppy, so she didn't have to chew. It's also good as it has a high water content, so it hydrated her as well.

    Another thing worth trying is making her a chicken broth. Get a few chicken thighs from the butchers/supermarket, bring them to the boil with plain water and simmer for an hour. Allow to cool and carefully remove all the bones, take care to remove the small thin pin bones as well. Shred the chicken and give her that with some of the broth. It lovely and soft and the broth is hydrating and nutritious and the chicken should be soft enough for her as she won't have to chew. Hopefully, she'll like it. It's not "complete", so she won't get all the vitamins, minerals and taurine she needs, but I've not met a cat who didn't like it. If she likes it, you can add supplements to it if you want to give her it longer term.

    Just to add, is she eating bits or not at all? If she's not eating at all, you need to go to the vets asap. Cats can get sick very quickly if they don't eat.

    Sorry if I sound very pessimistic, but I am only going on the one experience I had with Betty, and your girls mouth doesn't look as bad as hers did and it doesn't look as big and "angry" as my girls lump did. I would keep a very close eye on her, her behaviour, her mood and her eating.

    We'd been on holiday and Betty was staying at my mum's. When we got back, I was shocked how poorly she looked. Her mouth and chin were wet from drooling and her fur looked terrible. We took her to the vets the next day, that was when they discovered the lump. It's likely she was poorly for some time but had been hiding it out of survival. She was a street cat when we took her in, so she was as tough as old boots. We had her put to sleep only a week later. I'm not saying your cat will be like this, you seem to have found the lump a lot sooner, so it might be treatable. I am naturally sceptical because of what happened to my girl. It might be that your cat isn't as badly affected, the lump is smaller, in a different place, surgery might be a viable option.

    By the way, it would be nice for you to post some nice pictures of her, if you're able, as well as a name.
     
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  7. Jordan Canepari

    Jordan Canepari PetForums Newbie

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    Tough as boots - I like that phrase a lot! Again, thank you for such a comprehensive reply.

    She's already on wet food and it's not dissimilar to what you recommended actually! She picks for 2/3 bites and leaves half - which is something.

    We're not used to this so we thought her mouth looked very angry - but if you've seen worse maybe it's just us overreacting.

    We're unsure about next steps, we can't justify repeatedly operating with no clear end - from a financial and a moral perspective.
     
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  8. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    I'm sorry I can't help what yours might be but my cat had likely to same cancer as Jackie C's, squamous cell carcinoma.
    To help with eating we gave her hills a/d, the more you mix it the more liquid it gets and liquivite.
    She actually did manage to start eating properly again.
     
  9. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    One of my cats had a big growth in her throat - the fine needle aspiration test was inconclusive, but she had no problems for 3 years.
    It must’ve been growing slowly and when it did cause a problem, we chose to have it removed. This wasn’t easy due to the location and size. Unfortunately, a few weeks later she started having problems again and it was assumed the growth had recurred as, although the growth was removed, they were unable to remove a margin around the growth. Even benign growths can grow back quickly if not totally removed.
    I presume your vet was unable to remove a decent margin around your kitty’s growth due to the location? Might be worth checking with them.
    Has the growth recurred in the same place or is this a new one?
    I do feel for you. It’s horrible when things aren’t clear.
    I do hope you get a positive outcome. X
     
  10. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    Looking again at your photos - some patches in her mouth do look quite inflamed to me, so I imagine this will be very uncomfortable for her, which would explain why she’s struggling to eat, despite wanting to.
    If your vet isn’t sure what it is, have they suggested a referral for a specialist to have a look?
     
  11. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    I don't think you're overreacting, it is better to overreact than the other way around. After all, she cannot tell you how much pain she is in and cats do hide things well. She could be a lot sicker than she appears or she might be relatively okay, you just don't know.
    I wish her well. x
     
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