by Tom Heusel
Zoe started vomiting on and off in July 2018 - stomach fluid with some hair and occasional food. Our vet worked her up for food insensitivity - no lab studies or X-rays. The vomiting continued, regardless of diet, with her behavior and activity level otherwise normal.
By early Nov. we switched to a new vet who did blood work and took abdominal films which revealed a mass around Zoe’s stomach. A local specialty vet did further studies - ultrasound and needle biopsy, turning up a 9mm x 23mm large cell lymphoma. Thirteen days later Zoe was seen at Oregon State University’s Veterinary School oncology clinic. Their repeat ultrasound and needle biopsies turned up a second, larger tumor and a lymph node, both large cell lymphoma, an unusual diagnosis for a four year old indoor-only cat with no risk factors predisposing her to lymphoma. We opted not to attempt any chemo and she is home, on a daily dosing of Pepcid, Cerenia and prednisolone. Our oncology vet estimates four to six comfortable months, barring any perforation of the stomach by the tumors.
This is the first of the seven cats we have adopted that has been hit with a terminal diagnosis; the rest have been from odd, catastrophic problems like melamine poisoning from cat food, undiagnosed biliary tract obstruction, uncontrolled diabetes when switched to Humulin, and renal failure in a cat born with only one kidney. Losing Zoe to cancer will be hard.