Post # 1
This may be a long shot, but I’m wondering if anyone else has had the unfortunate experience of going through a cancer (lymphoma specifically) diagnosis in their pet.
One of my cats was diagnosed about 2 months ago with advanced lymphoma, which had spread from his GI tract to surrounding lymph nodes. He has been responding well to treatment until the last couple days, when I’ve noticed him slowing down.
I’ve never had to make ‘that choice’ before, so I thought I’d reach out on WB to see if any others have been in a similar situation with one of their furry friends. I’d like to hear your experiences, what you decided for treatment, how you made the final decision, what you noticed as the cancer progressed, etc.
Thanks guys 🙂
Post # 3
I haven’t had that experience. My heart goes out to you. These types of situations are never easy.
I have a dog (3 yeard old pug) and 2 cats that are 10 y old. One of my cats has lost vision in one of his eyes…and his health seems to be slowly deteriorating over time. I don’t want to think about it to much, but I know that I’ll have to make “that choice” at some point, just not sure when it’ll be. But I’m hoping I’ll *know* when the time has come. I think I will “choose” to do it when my pet is suffering, and the health keep deteriorating.
Sorry I can’t be much help 🙁
Post # 4
My cat had cancer. I never found out what type but it was hard. I gaver her pain pills for about 5 months before we had to put her down.
Post # 5
I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is. My darling Mr Smee was diagnosed with a large tumor beside his heart just over a year ago. We had to have him put down in December, so it was about 10 or 11 months between diagnosis and the final days. It was really hard. We didn’t do chemo or anything like that because I just felt it would be too hard on his little body, and surgery would have been too invasive since the tumor was in his chest. He was on a regime of anti-inflammatory pills and antibiotics, although for the most part it was the anti-inflammatories (Prednazone). It worked really well for him and he had a great quality of life with those.
The end came very quickly though. Darling Husband was home for lunch one day, and Smee happened to walk past us as the table. I noticed his belly looked distended and Darling Husband agreed and said I should take him to the vet that day (very unlike DH). I had hoped maybe he just had a lot of gas or it was some side effect from the prednazone since otherwise he seemed okay, maybe just a bit slower. It turned out his abdomen had filled with fluid. They drained it and hoped it wouldn’t return, but within 48 hours it was just as swollen again and I had to have the vet come over and put him to sleep. It was horrible. I could tell though that he was uncomfortable and it would have been unfair to ask him to have his belly drained every couple of days, so we did what we thought was best for him. The vet said that what mostly likely happened was that the cancer had spread to other organs and that they were basically shutting down one by one which was causing the fluid build up. We had the fluid tested the first time around but no conclusive results came out of it. It’s sort of a mystery, but at the end of the day I had to do what was best for his quality of life.
I still miss him every day. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop missing him to tell you the truth. Having a good relationship with our vet and the technicians at her office made it a lot easier to go through so much with him. If I had to leave him there overnight I felt so much better knowing the people there cared about him just as much as I did. The only other advice I would tell you is to just follow your gut and pay close attention to the little things. Our vet initially gave Smee a weekend to live, and we got 10 fantastic months together instead. I wasn’t about to give up on him and I’m glad we went down all the avenues we did to keep him healthy for as long as we could!
Post # 6
My dog was diagnosed with lymphoma right around Christmas. It came up overnight, and hit hard; all of his nodes were swollen, although it hadn’t yet infected his organs or bone marrow. We had several chemo options, but they all ran about $7000-10000, and would likely only give him 3-6 months. We opted to go with prednisone to keep the swelling down. On the prednisone, he did very well, and the swelling stayed down for a while. And then one day it just stopped working. It was one month from diagnosis to final vet visit.
I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. If you want to talk to someone, or ask any questions, feel free to message me.
Post # 7
@minie77: You are so right about watching the ageing process in pets. It happens right before our eyes, but we try so hard not to think about it. I have always been told that I will “know” when the time is right, but now that I feel the time getting closer I am beginning to doubt myself and my instincts. I still feel that you and everyone else are right though. I think I will know. Right now, he is quieter and more sleepy, but he doesn’t seem to be in pain. I definitely do not want him to suffer through pain.
@bakerella: Wow, 10 months is absolutely amazing! Leo deteriorated so quickly, a matter of 2 days, and at his diagnosis I thought we would have to say goodbye to him right there. We also decided against chemo, mostly because of Leo’s nature (he is very, very low key and docile — not the sure to appreciate needles and car trips, which would have been the weekly routine for months w/ chemo). He responded very well to Prednisone, and has been going strong for 2 months. It is only in the last couple of days that I’ve seen him slow down.
I know exactly what you mean about the distention. Leo’s belly is a bit distended right now. It is a side effect I was told to expect, a combo of the cancer and drug effects. That is the main thing I am watching right now.
Sadly, it appears that Leo had this mass for several months. The only symptom he showed until February was gradual weight loss — but unfortunately I didn’t think anything of that because after his annual visit in September I had been told he was overweight. I’d put him on a diet and therefore had every reason to believe the weight loss was a good thing! Sad because otherwise we might have caught it sooner and been able to more effectively treat it.
It sounds like your Mr. Smee was definitely a fighter. Most of the stories I’ve read have been about cats living a handful of months after chemo. Amazing that he was able to fight for so long with a simpler course of treatment. That is definitely one thing I am thankful for — having this extra time to spoil the hell out of Leo and make sure his last few months are some of his best!
Post # 8
My parents much beloved cat had Feline Leukemia. She was only 2 years. They chose not to put her down which they now regret. She was obviously in pain and the day she actually died my dad said it seemed like it took her hours until she finally stopped breathing. It was very hard on him to watch.
Post # 9
@Sunshining: Our stories are so similar! Smee had lost some weight but he’s always been a slender cat, so I didn’t really take much note of it. He was also vomiting a lot but he’s one of those cats who vomits and has a lot of hairballs anyways. I had talked to my vet about it a few times and she couldn’t find anything wrong, so we just thought that was the way he was. He started vomiting twice a day, so I took him to the vet yet again, and that’s when the did the ultrasound and x-ray where they found the tumor. I think he must have had it for a very long time, but that all the symptoms just sort of fit into his “normal” temperament so we didn’t think it was anything too strange for him.
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a time that ever feels “right” when it comes to letting go. You’ll just know when you have to do what you have to do. I’m sorry sweetie. Big ((hugs)). Feel free to PM me if you need to chat, I know exactly what you’re going through.
Post # 10
@caelanarcher: I’m very sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing your experience with me. It sounds just like what happened to Leo. It came on very suddenly. He has responded well to pred so far, but I can see that it is slowly becoming less effective. I will definitely shoot you a PM… thank you for your offer.
@MrsPinkPeony: Very sorry to hear about your family’s kitty 🙁 I know it can be hard for people to let go, so they might tend to hang on for longer than is best for the animal. I surely need to keep that in mind, because I do not want my little guy to suffer. Thanks for your words.
Post # 11
Our family dog got cancer when he was about 12 or 13. He got a really bad tumor on his lung, and whenever he would lay down, he couldn’t breathe. My dad would have to sit up at night and hold him so the he could sleep and breathe. That was when we decided to make the decision to put him down. It was the worst thing in the world, but living in that pain was not worth it for him. We didn’t want to make him suffer just becuase he wanted to hold on.
One of our cats got feline leukemia too, and that was horrible. She started to puss out of her eyes and nose and ears and mouth. My mom made the decision while we were at school to take her in and put her down. It wasn’t fair to make her suffer with that.
I am sorry you are having to go through this. It is so hard.