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Question about Spinal Lymphoma

  1. #1

    Question about Spinal Lymphoma

    Hello Forum,



    I posted here back in February regarding our cat having weak back legs. Our vet at the time suspected herniated disc and suggested she be confined for about 4 weeks (no medication other than a pain killer). After 4 weeks, she was normal for a good 2 months. Recently, her back legs were becoming weak again. Took her to the vet. Vet said to see a neurologist to see about possible surgical remedies. An MRI was done on Friday, that's when the Neurologist made the phone call to me informing me he thinks the cat has Spinal Lymphoma.

    After a couple days of crying I tried to learn as much about this thing as I could. However, a few things don't make sense. From what I read, after diagnosis, the cat doesn't live very long, even after chemo treatment. Ok, our cat first exhibited signs 4 months ago. Right now the cat is on prednisone and is getting better. I see no signs of the cat slowing down. She just seems so normal now.

    My question is, if my cat has this awful cancer that has a 4-6 week life expectancy without treatment, why isn't it dead yet? or at least showing signs of deteriorating if this is such a fast acting thing that claims the cat so quickly?

    I have already accepted the idea she won't live long, but right now it just doesn't make sense to us. Maybe some of you have had personal experience with this and help me put my mind at ease so I can move forward with this horrible process.

    Thank you in advance.

    Nathan.
    Last edited by NathanL; 06-05-2017 at 01:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    I remember your Daisy as that's one of my cat's names. Doctors can be wrong. My cat Sahara was given a guarded prognosis because of a heart condition. She was on daily medication and lived about 6 months longer than anticipated. You never know and each day is a gift with our pets. Whatever you're doing is helping Daisy and that's really great!
    “Save a life and save a stray”

  3. #3
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    Take the cat to a vet teaching hospital. They will give you the answers you seek. They aren't any more expensive than a regular vet and these are students working under highly qualified vets. They will find out what is wrong with her. Vets do make mistakes, but sometimes what appears to be one thing could be mistaken for something else. Find a vet school or vet hospital, you'll get the answers and know one way or the other exactly what's going on. Predisone will kill the immune system that's why she feels better for now, but that is only a bandaid. You need to get some answers the a training hospital is where you need to go to get them
    Last edited by linda2147; 06-05-2017 at 04:37 PM.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  4. #4
    Thanks Linda! Do you think my situation warrants a second opinion? If the info I provided is inline with what to expect, I can accept that and proceed accordingly. I just can't find any information elsewhere on the stages of this thing.

  5. #5
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    I do think you should get a second opinion, sometimes vets just take the easy way out without doing all they can do and suggest putting the animal down when there is no need to. If you take the cat to a teaching hospital they have the latest things to work with and more than one vet will evaluate the cat and they will have an answer for you. If the cat can be helped thats the place to take her.

    Lymphoma is a very aggressive cancer, one of my shepherds was diagnosed with it and five weeks later she was gone. They don't get better, they will eat and play like usual but for a very short time, your cat has lived longer than I'd expect if she had lymphoma

    lymphoma is cancer of the lymph nodes, you will feel swelling in the neck area and around the back legs. They can use a needle to pull out some of the stuff inside the lumps and that is a definite test. If that wasn't done I'd be asking why not? Chemo will only make her feel better for a short while and its a painful treatment for the animal. I wouldn't do it. My daughter had a bulldog with lymphoma the same time as my shepherd, she did chemo, she spent 15K trying to save him and he lived 6 weeks, I only did pred and tramadol and mine lasted 5 weeks. Its costly, you won't gain much more time and its painful for the animal.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  6. #6
    We will look at a second opinion. There is a teaching hospital an hour away. I'll call them in the morning. Oncologist visit tomorrow as well, will not do chemo without a biopsy that proves cancer. We are reaching the four month mark and so far the cat is just walking around as if things were normal, able to jump on the couch, go up stairs, just a little leg stretching issue like before. Has good appetite, hasn't lost weight (actually gained a quarter pound since last vet visit). I know there is something spinal related, but it just doesn't feel like cancer, she just seems too healthy at the moment. I guess I'll know much more tomorrow and I can report back.

  7. #7
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    I would go to the teaching hospital before seeing the oncologist. You can always reschedule if it is cancer. If it is spinal related you can take her to an animal chiropractor, maybe just a little something out of whack the chiropractor can just kind of snap it back into place.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  8. #8
    UPDATE: It's a rollercoaster.

    Just saw the Oncologist. She said that while the MRI looks like a tumor and that spinal lymphoma would initially seem to be the most likely cause, the timeframe of everything just doesn't fit. She said she will send the MRI to a Radiologist for a second opinion and call us tomorrow with their thought. It may still be a tumor, maybe just a different kind. I'm hoping it's not a tumor at all.

    Linda - if you are right and it just ends up being some crazy spinal injury that happens to look like a tumor in an MRI and can easily be remedied with medicine, boy will I be happy, like beyond ecstatic, it would be a life changing moment for me. I love that cat.

    I don't know if I should be hopeful or cautious as now I have no idea if what she has is worse than Spinal Lymphoma. But the fact is, she's still alive, still acts healthy and we aren't giving up without a fight.

  9. #9
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    I hope everything works out for you and the cat. Good thoughts going your way.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  10. #10
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    You have to stay positive and not give up with this for Daisy's sake. You are doing your best and the fact that she's acting so healthy is a great sign.
    “Save a life and save a stray”

  11. #11
    Linda,

    The teaching hospital just got back to me. Great advice! They are very interested in our cat. They said that as a teaching hospital, they see more cases and deal with more things than most other hospitals may. Feline cancer is an ongoing and sometimes doctors do get things wrong because they don't account for the 'rare' cases or outlier cats. She said I raised a very good question with "how is our cat still alive and healthy after 4 months of nontreatment". They are requesting the MRI and docs from our local vets so they can look at it and study. I mean she's basically defying everything I read on Spinal Lymphoma. I woulda thought my local vets woulda found this strange, but I don't really think they care.

    So far, it seems like the predisone is helping our cat a lot. I don't really see her back leg stretching ever. She can jump on things with ease. She still eats fine, uses litter box, overall just doing great.

  12. #12
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    If I need medical advice that is beyond my regular vet I go to Angel Memorial in Boston. I swear by these teaching hospitals and hope you get good results with them as well
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  13. #13
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    NathanL it sounds like you are on the right track with them. It is encouraging to hear that teaching hospitals are so very helpful.
    “Save a life and save a stray”

  14. #14
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    Esme, you'd be surprised what the teaching hospitals can do. I swear they do miracles there. If anyone can save the cat or any other animal thats the place to go
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  15. #15
    UPDATE: Been a couple months since I've been here, figured I'd give an update.

    Our kitty is starting Chemo treatment # 4 on Friday (out of 5 total, 1 every 3 weeks). She is about as healthy as last time I checked in here. The prednisilone makes her hungry alot, but she can still jump on stuff and overall is the same old cat we love. We don't even think about it anymore that she has cancer so we are trying to cherish the moments of health we have with her because we never know when the down turn will happen, but she isn't losing weight, her legs seem fine and so far she is about as good as you could expect for a cat with this god awful tumor.

    The teaching hospital basically deferred us to our oncologist as they know her (she studied at the university). I'm following cancer protocol as directed and hoping for the best and so far, have been seeing the best. We continue to appreciate our cat and continue hope that she can beat this thing and stay with us a while longer.

    A pic of her.
    Photo43.jpg

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