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Possible lymphoma

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Zephrindruin, Apr 2, 2011.


  1. Zephrindruin

    Zephrindruin PetForums Newbie

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    My 16 year old cat has had hyperthyroidism for the last 5 years. She was on tablets until thyroxine levels became too high and then she had one side of her thyroid removed. She was fine until about a year ago when I noticed weight loss. She had a blood test and thyroxine levels were up again so she is back on 1 pill per day. She put weight on and seemed happy. A couple of weeks ago I thought she was looking a bit thin so I took her back to the vet. The vet did a full biochemistry. I got results this morning. Hyperthyroidism under control, but her liver enzymes are high and white blood cells low. The vet says this indicates a lympphoma. Prognosis - months. Treatment - steroids but only when she has loss of appetite as steroids can make her liver uncomfortable. He said he could do an ultrasound of her liver but I don't know if it is worth it to put her through the stress. Any help/comments would be useful. Many thanks.
     
  2. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    Hi there,

    Sorry to hear about your cat.

    I'm just wondering if the vet is basing his suspicions of lymphoma ( and remember without a biopsy or at the very least an ultrasound to identify masses etc that's all they are at the moment!) on other symptoms as well? Vomiting? What organs are affected for instance? Did he do a physical examination? At the moment it sounds far from a conclusive diagnosis to me! So bear in mind it could be something else entirely as well! For instance symptoms of IBD and intestinal lymphoma are virtually the same.

    The reason I'm saying is because even in cases of treated hyperthyroidism liver enzymes can still be elevated owing to the medication ( Felimazole-maybe switching medication might help ) and there are a number of other reasons why white cell counts can be lower-infection for one thing. In fact with lymphoma I would have expected to see an elevation in white cells!

    I think you need to discuss this further with your vet with a view to getting a firmer diagnosis and take it from there! Even if it is confirmed lymphoma is one of the more treateable feline cancers. Steroids can work very well as indeed can small doses of chemotherapy. So I wouldn't despair just yet!
     
  3. Zephrindruin

    Zephrindruin PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your suggestions. I think I was in shock yesterday and didn't ask the vet the right questions. I am speaking to him again on Tuesday and I have asked to be referred to an oncologist. He has based his diagnosis on the blood tests and I agree with you, I have been reading like a woman possessed and I do not think the diagnosis is conclusive. Menolly's only symptom is weight loss. She is still able to run and jump and there is no loss of appetite. Can you suggest any fresh food I could give her - at the moment she is on Royal Canin mature indoor but I have read that fresh food might put less strain on her liver. As she is quite old I do not want to put a strain on her kidneys with fresh meat.
     
  4. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    Yes, I can fully understand you were in shock!

    I'm glad to hear you've asked to be referred to an oncologist if the event of a positive diagnosis but hopefully it won't come to that!

    One more thing, even in cases of treated hyperthyroidism a lot of cats have been lacking in Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) which can be supplemented by injections-this can very often help with weight gain. In fact a lot of older, non-HyperT cats can benefit from it. They'd have to test for it separately though-it's not normally part of the standard blood panel. They might still have some bloods left over so you could still request it. I would discuss this with your vet. I try and find a link for you.

    Good luck on Tuesday and do let us know how you get on!
     
  5. Zephrindruin

    Zephrindruin PetForums Newbie

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    I decided to go for the liver scan, even though Menolly would have a very stressful day. The vet phoned this afternoon - he could not find any tumours in her liver but he said there was some scarring and fibrosis of the liver. Also her kidneys are small. He gave her a chest X ray which was clear. So he now says she does not have lymphoma. He said he doesn't know what could be causing the fibrosis. I suggested the Felimazole but he didn't think so. As she doesn't drink alcohol I am at a loss!! He also has no suggestions for the low white blood cell count. Apparently it is neutrophils and lymphocytes. Menolly is now home and having a good sleep. I am to take her back in a month for repeat blood tests to see if there is any change. She is very thin. I give her Royal Canin Mature Indoor. Can anyone suggest anything else I can supplement this with. We go on holiday tomorrow, I have a vet nurse coming to stay to look after Menolly, but I will check for posts when I return.
     
  6. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    Glad to hear it wasn't lymphoma after all!

    Regarding the fibrosis-most general vets do not have special training in ultrasound ( it requires a skilled sonographer usually at a referral centre ) and it's always best to get a specialist on board with a view to a more accurate diagnosis-though you may see no need to do so at present.

    Regarding the low lymphocytes and neutrophils - both can be indicative of viral, bacterial infections or inflammation. Low neutrophils in particular are often present where Vitamin B12 reserves are decreased ( see my previous post about this ) and supplements might help here. Since it's water soluble any excess is excreted so it can't do any harm. I would try this first as it does help with weight gain.

    I'm also wondering if the T4 is a little low-I realised you said it was normal but if it was low normal ( or lower ) it could account for the weight loss, particularly now since they've ruled out any more serious illness!
     
  7. Zephrindruin

    Zephrindruin PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for the suggestions. We are now home again. While we were away the nurse who stayed here was giving her a tin of Almo nature a day as well as her royal canin. She has put weight on and seems more active. I will definitely get a B12 supplement today and try that. I think I will wait until the next blood test before making any decisions about specialists etc. Many thanks for your help. It was good to be able to communicate with someone at a very stressful time.
     
  8. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    Glad to hear she's been putting on weight!

    The B12 would certainly help with appetite and weight gain and as I mentioned earlier most older cats have been found deficient in it and especially HyperT ones.

    Also I'd be inclined to change vets if you could ( look around for recommendations ) judging by what you've written so far.

    Have you considered having the surgery to remove the current thyroid tumour? If her liver condition is questionable it might be best not to have too many medications ie Felimazole or is it Vidalta?
     
  9. Zephrindruin

    Zephrindruin PetForums Newbie

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    She is on Felimazole. I was wondering if that had caused the liver problems. She is due to have a blood test in a couple of weeks and I will make decisions after that. She is looking much healthier but I have been combing her to get rid of excess hair (she is slightly long haired and has a problem with fur balls) and I have noticed she has dandruff. I think I have read that this could be a sign of dehydration so I am going to increase the wet food and decrease the dry. Feeding seems a nightmare, I have read so many articles and posts. I thought I was doing the right thing with Royal Canin mature dry but obviously not! As she has small kidneys I am worried about too much protein. I am also going to get her some vitamin B12 supplements.
    Thank you so much for all your help
     
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