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View Full Version : Thoughts on surgery for 14 yr old kitty.


geekgrrl
June 5th 08, 02:44 PM
Hi,

A few weeks ago, my 14 yr-old dsh boy Abbott had blood tests done, and
it came back with a high calcium count. This, with his recent problems
defecating, and some other blood results led us to consider that he
may have cancer.

Thankfully, we live near a large city center that has a very good vet
hospital with an oncology/internal medicine specialty.

After the initial round of tests at oncology, they found a bladder
stone and a cystic mass on his pancreas. The mass did not look
cancerous. They biopsied the mass, and ran further tests to rule out
cancer.

The end result is that the cystic mass on his pancreas is infected
with e. coli and bacteriods. According to the vet he is a ticking
time bomb as if the mass burst, the bacteria will enter his blood
stream and he will go septic and most likely die. Also a problem is
the bladder stone, which could move and block his kidneys at any
point.

The vet recommended surgery, to the tune of $5000CAD or more, which
includes the surgery and 5 days hostpital stay. The alternative is to
give antibiotics and keep him on gastro-intestinal food for the next
few months. Doing this gives no guarantee that the antibiotics will
penetrate the cyst, and does not address the bladder stone.

At 14, I was trying to avoid putting him through surgery. While we can
afford the surgery it is a lot of money.

Has anyone else had any experience with this type of surgery with a
cat at any age? I'm trying to make the best decision here, and
frankly, cost be d**med, I'm leaning toward surgery. To not do it
basically is letting him die and some point and die painfully. Any
thoughts?

MaryL
June 5th 08, 05:13 PM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Hi,
>
> A few weeks ago, my 14 yr-old dsh boy Abbott had blood tests done, and
> it came back with a high calcium count. This, with his recent problems
> defecating, and some other blood results led us to consider that he
> may have cancer.
>
> Thankfully, we live near a large city center that has a very good vet
> hospital with an oncology/internal medicine specialty.
>
> After the initial round of tests at oncology, they found a bladder
> stone and a cystic mass on his pancreas. The mass did not look
> cancerous. They biopsied the mass, and ran further tests to rule out
> cancer.
>
> The end result is that the cystic mass on his pancreas is infected
> with e. coli and bacteriods. According to the vet he is a ticking
> time bomb as if the mass burst, the bacteria will enter his blood
> stream and he will go septic and most likely die. Also a problem is
> the bladder stone, which could move and block his kidneys at any
> point.
>
> The vet recommended surgery, to the tune of $5000CAD or more, which
> includes the surgery and 5 days hostpital stay. The alternative is to
> give antibiotics and keep him on gastro-intestinal food for the next
> few months. Doing this gives no guarantee that the antibiotics will
> penetrate the cyst, and does not address the bladder stone.
>
> At 14, I was trying to avoid putting him through surgery. While we can
> afford the surgery it is a lot of money.
>
> Has anyone else had any experience with this type of surgery with a
> cat at any age? I'm trying to make the best decision here, and
> frankly, cost be d**med, I'm leaning toward surgery. To not do it
> basically is letting him die and some point and die painfully. Any
> thoughts?

I have not had any experience with surgery of this type on a cat. (although
I am not sure precisely what type of surgery will be required). However, 14
is certainly not too "old" for a cat that has had good care. My Holly just
turned 13 but looks and acts much younger. I had a cat that lived to the
age of 20. You said cost is not a factor, so I would "go for it" if that is
what the vet recommends, although a second opinion might be wise. It is
*very* fortunate that cancer is not involved.

Thank you for taking such good care of Abbott.

MaryL

Phil P.
June 5th 08, 06:43 PM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Hi,
>
> A few weeks ago, my 14 yr-old dsh boy Abbott had blood tests done, and
> it came back with a high calcium count. This, with his recent problems
> defecating, and some other blood results led us to consider that he
> may have cancer.
>
> Thankfully, we live near a large city center that has a very good vet
> hospital with an oncology/internal medicine specialty.
>
> After the initial round of tests at oncology, they found a bladder
> stone and a cystic mass on his pancreas. The mass did not look
> cancerous. They biopsied the mass, and ran further tests to rule out
> cancer.
>
> The end result is that the cystic mass on his pancreas is infected
> with e. coli and bacteriods. According to the vet he is a ticking
> time bomb as if the mass burst, the bacteria will enter his blood
> stream and he will go septic and most likely die. Also a problem is
> the bladder stone, which could move and block his kidneys at any
> point.
>
> The vet recommended surgery, to the tune of $5000CAD or more, which
> includes the surgery and 5 days hostpital stay. The alternative is to
> give antibiotics and keep him on gastro-intestinal food for the next
> few months. Doing this gives no guarantee that the antibiotics will
> penetrate the cyst, and does not address the bladder stone.
>
> At 14, I was trying to avoid putting him through surgery. While we can
> afford the surgery it is a lot of money.
>
> Has anyone else had any experience with this type of surgery with a
> cat at any age? I'm trying to make the best decision here, and
> frankly, cost be d**med, I'm leaning toward surgery. To not do it
> basically is letting him die and some point and die painfully. Any
> thoughts?

Your vet is correct. If you can afford the surgery, I would definitely go
ahead with it. Some pancreatic cysts can lead to pancreatic cancer which is
almost always fatal.

Best of luck,

Phil

blkcatgal
June 6th 08, 12:43 AM
I don't have any experience with this type of surgery but I had a cat (now
dearly departed) who at age13 had major spinal surgery to correct a spinal
compression. Like you, I was worried about putting an "older" cat through
expensive major surgery. But the vet surgeon assured me that as long as my
cat was healthy (he was) and the surgery could correct the problem (for the
most part, it did) and I could afford the expense (it was a lot of money but
I could swing it), there was no reason not to. I went ahead with the
surgery. I do not regret doing so.

S.
--
**Visit me and my cats at http://www.island-cats.com/ **
---
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Hi,
>
> A few weeks ago, my 14 yr-old dsh boy Abbott had blood tests done, and
> it came back with a high calcium count. This, with his recent problems
> defecating, and some other blood results led us to consider that he
> may have cancer.
>
> Thankfully, we live near a large city center that has a very good vet
> hospital with an oncology/internal medicine specialty.
>
> After the initial round of tests at oncology, they found a bladder
> stone and a cystic mass on his pancreas. The mass did not look
> cancerous. They biopsied the mass, and ran further tests to rule out
> cancer.
>
> The end result is that the cystic mass on his pancreas is infected
> with e. coli and bacteriods. According to the vet he is a ticking
> time bomb as if the mass burst, the bacteria will enter his blood
> stream and he will go septic and most likely die. Also a problem is
> the bladder stone, which could move and block his kidneys at any
> point.
>
> The vet recommended surgery, to the tune of $5000CAD or more, which
> includes the surgery and 5 days hostpital stay. The alternative is to
> give antibiotics and keep him on gastro-intestinal food for the next
> few months. Doing this gives no guarantee that the antibiotics will
> penetrate the cyst, and does not address the bladder stone.
>
> At 14, I was trying to avoid putting him through surgery. While we can
> afford the surgery it is a lot of money.
>
> Has anyone else had any experience with this type of surgery with a
> cat at any age? I'm trying to make the best decision here, and
> frankly, cost be d**med, I'm leaning toward surgery. To not do it
> basically is letting him die and some point and die painfully. Any
> thoughts?

bertoiaj
June 6th 08, 01:43 PM
On Jun 5, 7:43 pm, "blkcatgal" > wrote:
> I don't have any experience with this type of surgery but I had a cat (now
> dearly departed) who at age13 had major spinal surgery to correct a spinal
> compression. Like you, I was worried about putting an "older" cat through
> expensive major surgery. But the vet surgeon assured me that as long as my
> cat was healthy (he was) and the surgery could correct the problem (for the
> most part, it did) and I could afford the expense (it was a lot of money but
> I could swing it), there was no reason not to. I went ahead with the
> surgery. I do not regret doing so.
>
> S.
> --
> **Visit me and my cats athttp://www.island-cats.com/**
> ---"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
>
> ...
>
> > Hi,
>
> > A few weeks ago, my 14 yr-old dsh boy Abbott had blood tests done, and
> > it came back with a high calcium count. This, with his recent problems
> > defecating, and some other blood results led us to consider that he
> > may have cancer.
>
> > Thankfully, we live near a large city center that has a very good vet
> > hospital with an oncology/internal medicine specialty.
>
> > After the initial round of tests at oncology, they found a bladder
> > stone and a cystic mass on his pancreas. The mass did not look
> > cancerous. They biopsied the mass, and ran further tests to rule out
> > cancer.
>
> > The end result is that the cystic mass on his pancreas is infected
> > with e. coli and bacteriods. According to the vet he is a ticking
> > time bomb as if the mass burst, the bacteria will enter his blood
> > stream and he will go septic and most likely die. Also a problem is
> > the bladder stone, which could move and block his kidneys at any
> > point.
>
Hi. I definetely feel for you. I don't know this surgery either,
but I just want to relate my experience with my cat who had dental
surgery at the age of 18. It ws very painful for her to eat and the
vet said she had a tooth abcess (sp?) It would cost $300 and at her
age the vet could not guarantee survival. I took the chance, and she
lived for another 1 and half years: That $300 was well worth it in
my opinion as she continued to bring us joy daily. If you can
afford it, I would say go for it. The anti-biotic treatment might
also work well. Peace.

Rene S.
June 6th 08, 07:58 PM
> *Hi. *I definetely feel for you. * *I don't know this surgery either,
> but I just want to relate my experience with my cat who had dental
> surgery at the age of 18. * It ws very painful for her to eat and the
> vet said she had a tooth abcess (sp?) *It would cost $300 and at her
> age the vet could not guarantee survival. *I took the chance, and she
> lived for another 1 and half years: * *That $300 was well worth it in
> my opinion as she continued to bring us joy daily. * *If you can
> afford it, I would say go for it. *The anti-biotic treatment might
> also work well. * * *Peace.

My childhood cat also had dental work done at an older age (17) and
had several teeth removed. I too wondered if we were doing the right
thing, but she lived two more years happily after that.

If your cat's bloodwork is good and is otherwise fit to have the
surgery, by all means go ahead. Another option is to get a second
opinion elsewhere, just for peace of mind.

-Lost
June 7th 08, 03:04 AM
Response to "Rene S." >:

>> *Hi. *I definetely feel for you. * *I don't know this surgery
>> eith
> er,
>> but I just want to relate my experience with my cat who had
>> dental surgery at the age of 18. * It ws very painful for her to
>> eat and the vet said she had a tooth abcess (sp?) *It would cost
>> $300 and at her age the vet could not guarantee survival. *I took
>> the chance, and she lived for another 1 and half years: * *That
>> $300 was well worth it in my opinion as she continued to bring us
>> joy daily. * *If you can afford it, I would say go for it. *The
>> anti-biotic treatment might also work well. * * *Peace.
>
> My childhood cat also had dental work done at an older age (17)
> and had several teeth removed. I too wondered if we were doing the
> right thing, but she lived two more years happily after that.
>
> If your cat's bloodwork is good and is otherwise fit to have the
> surgery, by all means go ahead. Another option is to get a second
> opinion elsewhere, just for peace of mind.

OK, probably a dumb question but I'm not the fastest kitty in the
race so...

Is there a relationship between extreme dental work and the longevity
of the kitty?

Or both of you were just dealing with older kitties who needed dental
work and their lifespan was unaffected by it?

Thanks.

--
-Lost
Remove the extra words to reply by e-mail. Don't e-mail me. I am
kidding. No I am not.

Rene S.
June 9th 08, 04:13 PM
> Is there a relationship between extreme dental work and the longevity
> of the kitty?
>
> Or both of you were just dealing with older kitties who needed dental
> work and their lifespan was unaffected by it?

I was dealing with an older kitty who needed dental work, who lived
two more happy years after the procedure. I believe that NOT dealing
with extreme dental work can affect a cat's longevity (it will cause
more problems, possible infections, abscessed teeth, cat not eating
due to pain, etc. etc.)

geekgrrl
June 11th 08, 04:05 PM
Hi,

Thanks for all the responses. I thought I would post an update.

Abbott went in this morning for surgery. They are going to remove the
bladder stone and the cyst on his pancreas. The vet hopes that once
they get in there and have a look, they can better determine why the
cyst was formed in the first place, and what the chances are of it
forming again.

He'll be in the vets for 2 days if all goes well. If he develops
pancreatitis as a result of the surgery, he'll be in there longer.
I'm crossing my fingers and waiting for the vet to call.

cybercat
June 11th 08, 04:15 PM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Hi,
>
> Thanks for all the responses. I thought I would post an update.
>
> Abbott went in this morning for surgery. They are going to remove the
> bladder stone and the cyst on his pancreas. The vet hopes that once
> they get in there and have a look, they can better determine why the
> cyst was formed in the first place, and what the chances are of it
> forming again.
>
> He'll be in the vets for 2 days if all goes well. If he develops
> pancreatitis as a result of the surgery, he'll be in there longer.
> I'm crossing my fingers and waiting for the vet to call.

I really think you made the right decision, and I really appreciate
the fact that you care more about your cat than saving the surgery
money. It is surprising to me how many people don't.

Keeping you and Abbott in my prayers for a good outcome and
a speedy recovery with no complications.

Rene S.
June 11th 08, 04:32 PM
On Jun 11, 10:05*am, geekgrrl > wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Thanks for all the responses. *I thought I would post an update.
>
> Abbott went in this morning for surgery. They are going to remove the
> bladder stone and the cyst on his pancreas. *The vet hopes that once
> they get in there and have a look, they can better determine why the
> cyst was formed in the first place, and what the chances are of it
> forming again.

Best wishes to you and Abbott. I hope he pulls through the surgery
well. I hope there are no complications, but if he does develop
pancreatitis, I have experience with that, so feel free to email me.

Rene

geekgrrl
June 12th 08, 04:41 PM
Abbott did not pull through the surgery. This was completely
unexpected by the vet as his bloodwork was good, he looked healthy,
alert and eating well.
The surgery itself went well, but his blood pressure dropped during
the surgery, and they were never able to get it back up. He eventually
went into cardiac arrest. They had asked about rescusitation(sp?), and
as they said his heart was strong, I said try, but not too long -
basically give him a chance to come back, but at some point you have
to let go. He was a fighter, and came back three times, but eventually
it was too much.

The hospital asked about doing a post-mortem, which we are considering
as they are offering to pay for it. The post-mortem may help explain
why he failed, and also, from the testing, determine what they could
be doing different to help another cat later on if the same thing
happens. The vet thinks it may have something to do with the infected
cyst, it's size (it was one of the largest they've seen), and an
systematic immune response from the removal of it from his pancreas.

Thanks for all the thoughts and support.

cybercat
June 12th 08, 07:46 PM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Abbott did not pull through the surgery.

Oh my God, I am so sorry.

-Lost
June 12th 08, 08:41 PM
Response to geekgrrl >:

> Abbott did not pull through the surgery. <snip>

Damn. Terribly sorry, geekgrrl. You did the right thing. Sometimes
life happens whether we want it to or not.

> The hospital asked about doing a post-mortem, which we are
> considering as they are offering to pay for it. The post-mortem
> may help explain why he failed, and also, from the testing,
> determine what they could be doing different to help another cat
> later on if the same thing happens. The vet thinks it may have
> something to do with the infected cyst, it's size (it was one of
> the largest they've seen), and an systematic immune response from
> the removal of it from his pancreas.

And although I'm sure it is difficult (I've never had to make the
choice), I really think this is the right thing to do.

Ultimately it's your choice, and I'm sure "we" got your back either
way. ; )

--
-Lost
Remove the extra words to reply by e-mail. Don't e-mail me. I am
kidding. No I am not.

blkcatgal
June 13th 08, 01:20 AM
I am so sorry to hear this. Still, you did the right thing by having the
surgery. You just can't predict what might happen. I am truly sorry about
Abbott. You have my heartfelt condolences. I will light a candle for him
tonight.

S.
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Abbott did not pull through the surgery. This was completely
> unexpected by the vet as his bloodwork was good, he looked healthy,
> alert and eating well.
> The surgery itself went well, but his blood pressure dropped during
> the surgery, and they were never able to get it back up. He eventually
> went into cardiac arrest. They had asked about rescusitation(sp?), and
> as they said his heart was strong, I said try, but not too long -
> basically give him a chance to come back, but at some point you have
> to let go. He was a fighter, and came back three times, but eventually
> it was too much.
>
> The hospital asked about doing a post-mortem, which we are considering
> as they are offering to pay for it. The post-mortem may help explain
> why he failed, and also, from the testing, determine what they could
> be doing different to help another cat later on if the same thing
> happens. The vet thinks it may have something to do with the infected
> cyst, it's size (it was one of the largest they've seen), and an
> systematic immune response from the removal of it from his pancreas.
>
> Thanks for all the thoughts and support.
>

MaryL
June 15th 08, 08:06 PM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Abbott did not pull through the surgery. This was completely
> unexpected by the vet as his bloodwork was good, he looked healthy,
> alert and eating well.
>
I am so sorry. I just read your latest message, and it is tragic news. All
of us were hoping for *good* results for Abbott, but your decision to go
forward with surgery was the right one. You did the very best you could,
and I hope that knowledge gives you some consolation.

MaryL

Phil P.
June 16th 08, 06:19 AM
"geekgrrl" > wrote in message
...
> Abbott did not pull through the surgery. This was completely
> unexpected by the vet as his bloodwork was good, he looked healthy,
> alert and eating well.
> The surgery itself went well, but his blood pressure dropped during
> the surgery, and they were never able to get it back up. He eventually
> went into cardiac arrest. They had asked about rescusitation(sp?), and
> as they said his heart was strong, I said try, but not too long -
> basically give him a chance to come back, but at some point you have
> to let go. He was a fighter, and came back three times, but eventually
> it was too much.
>
> The hospital asked about doing a post-mortem, which we are considering
> as they are offering to pay for it. The post-mortem may help explain
> why he failed, and also, from the testing, determine what they could
> be doing different to help another cat later on if the same thing
> happens. The vet thinks it may have something to do with the infected
> cyst, it's size (it was one of the largest they've seen), and an
> systematic immune response from the removal of it from his pancreas.
>
> Thanks for all the thoughts and support.


I'm very sorry. You did the right thing.

Phil

Rene S.
June 16th 08, 01:44 PM
On Jun 12, 10:41*am, geekgrrl > wrote:
> Abbott did not pull through the surgery. This was completely
> unexpected by the vet as his bloodwork was good, he looked healthy,
> alert and eating well.

OMG, I'm sorry! I never expected to read this news. As difficult as it
may be, I think it may be helpful to have the autopsy. There most
likely wasn't anything you (or the vet) could have done, but perhaps
his autopsy will give you a little peace of mind, and maybe help the
next person who might have to deal with this.

My condolences.

Rene

geekgrrl
June 16th 08, 08:36 PM
Thanks for all the thoughts.

We have decided on having the post-mortem. Husband was having a hard
time deciding, this is the first pet he's lost since he was a child so
it's particularily hard for him.

As my sis said, what's left is not the Abbott we knew, and it's the
best way to hopefully find out what happened. She as well has
recently lost her 17-yr old DSH boy Rascal of old age, so we're each
other's support group right now.
I like the idea of hopefuly sparing someone else this, maybe even one
of my other babies.

We've also opted for private cremation and bringing him home that way.

Thanks again for all the feedback, this has always been a great group.

Outsider
June 16th 08, 10:49 PM
geekgrrl > wrote in news:9b2375b8-dd15-4bf8-9915-
:

> Thanks for all the thoughts.
>
> We have decided on having the post-mortem. Husband was having a hard
> time deciding, this is the first pet he's lost since he was a child so
> it's particularily hard for him.
>
> As my sis said, what's left is not the Abbott we knew, and it's the
> best way to hopefully find out what happened. She as well has
> recently lost her 17-yr old DSH boy Rascal of old age, so we're each
> other's support group right now.
> I like the idea of hopefuly sparing someone else this, maybe even one
> of my other babies.
>
> We've also opted for private cremation and bringing him home that way.
>
> Thanks again for all the feedback, this has always been a great group.
>
>
>


Good for you. I am glad you decided to allow some possible good to come of
Abbott's loss because I understand how hard a choice it was.

Andy