My cat has cancer or a fungal infection, what to do?

by Lauren
(Maryland)

Hello, please help me. My 3 y/o cat has been to the vet, who consulted with other vets and radiologists, and it has been determined he has bone cancer or a fungal infection in his left rear leg. The vet is leaving it up to me to decide to get a biopsy, up to $600, to confirm it's cancer, or to just go ahead and amputate. I have read that fungal infections are very hard to treat and it's a long expensive process. There is no sign of cancer anywhere else in him, so she is telling me the amputation should solve the problem, and I assume if it's a fungal infection the amputation would cure that as well. What do you suggest my husband and I do. Thank you, thank you in advance for helping us out.

RESPONSE:

Lauren,

If money were no object, I would go ahead and have the biopsy, if nothing else it would put my mind at ease that an amputation was indeed needed. However, if you are like most of us cat owners, expense is a serious consideration in determining treatment. You are correct that a fungal infection of the bone is difficult to treat…and expensive…and ongoing for long periods of time. The same is true for bone cancer. As long as your vet can assure you, absolutely, that its bone cancer is localized to the one leg and not in other bone areas (or the fungal infection in the bone) then I don’t see many options open to you unless you win the lottery.

X-rays and ultrasound are frequently used to determine the extent of bone deterioration due to bone issues, but again, it adds up in dollars. Just confirm with your vet that it is her professional opinion that your options are very limited…and that the area is limited to the leg.

I trust my vet implicitly. I have had this same vet for most of the years of my 6 cats’ lives which range from 4 years to 13 years old now and I know he would tell me if he wasn’t sure on something. Plus, he helped me make the decision when my prior cats reached over 20 years...or were incurable, to let them go. I’m hoping you have that same level of trust with your vet…or get a second opinion (in person)…not just a vet saying it’s been discussed with others.

That being said, I’m assuming that your vet has already done a complete blood count and urinalysis, both of which help to determine the extent of your cat’s immune system working to stave off infections etc. by evaluating the indicators in the blood. I’m also assuming that this helped to determine her findings.

Cats are amazing little critters in adapting to almost impossible conditions in households where they are even neglected, so being in a home with loving people around them bodes well for a good recovery and adjustment to losing a limb. My heart goes out to you for this difficult decision. Please email the results of what happens to your beloved cat at: cathealthdetective@comcast.net

Hang in there...it's not easy, Carolynne

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