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petdrz
petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7267
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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My cat is a 9 year-old Tonkinese. He has lost about 33%

Customer Question

Hi, My cat is a 9 year-old Tonkinese. He has lost about 33% of his body weight and is constantly ravenous. The vet won't give me a straight answer beyond suggesting a non-ending series of very expensive tests. I think he has cancer. I've personally experienced weight loss as a result of advanced invasive cancer. Is there anything I can do to either make him happy or should I end his life? He is currently on painkillers.Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Satin today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy to work with you but do have a few questions?Is Satin doing any vomiting? Are his stools consistently formed?Is he drinking more or urinating more than he has in the past?Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Satin is vomiting occasionally, which is very new. His vomit is liquid.

His stools, drinking and urinating are all normal.

He has always been a very fierce defender of his patch, but neither he nor his brother, Velvet, venture far now. I think Velvet knows that Satin is dying and wants to stay close to him.

Thank you.

Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the prompt reply.Cancer certainly can be a cause of significant weight loss, but in my experience, in most cases, it usually coincides with a decreased appetite or other GI symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea (if the cancer is affecting the GI tract). You had mentioned that Satin has a ravenous appetite and that makes me very suspicious of the possibility of an overactive thyroid gland or what is also called hyperthyroidism (HT). This condition is not uncommon in middle aged to older cats and can lead to significant weight loss in spite of an increased appetite. It is usually pretty easily confirmed with a simple blood test and if identified, it can be treated or managed with various methods, including medication or radioiodine therapy. Some cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can also cause cats to lose weight and early on, that may be the only symptom. It may be that the vomiting that he is now experiencing is due to IBD. Unfortunately, this can be more of a challenge to diagnose and bloodwork, xrays and even ultrasound may be normal, but if it is suspected, there are ways to try and manage in an effort to decrease the inflammation in the gut.Here are some links that you may find informative:HTIBD I would not give up on him just yet. It is very possible he has a treatable disease and his prognosis may not be bad at all. Unfortunately, cats can be a challenge to diagnose, but I would start at least with ruling out HT. I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I will be happy to reply.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your advice. His thyroid has tested normal.

Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.
Hmmmm...... It could be a case of IBD then perhaps or even intestinal cancer.The only way to confirm the diagnosis is with a biopsy of the intestine. This can be done via endoscope, but is better performed with an exploratory surgery. The problem with this is that many cat owners are not willing to pursue the diagnosis by these means. It is for that reason that many cats are "suspected" to have IBD or GI cancer as the cause of their weight loss once all of the other easy to find things have been ruled out.The only way to confirm the diagnosis is with a biopsy of the intestine. This can be done via endoscope, but is better performed with an exploratory surgery. The problem with this is that many cat owners are not willing to pursue the diagnosis by these means. It is for that reason that many cats are "suspected" to have IBD or GI cancer as the cause of their weight loss once all of the other easy to find things have been ruled out.If that is the case, you can discuss with your veterinarian the pros and cons of proceeding with a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis in your pets situation. Even if you choose to not go the route of biopsy, he may benefit from a course of corticosteroids and perhaps a hypoallergenic diet as sometimes food allergies contribute to the IBD. Steroids help many cats with either of the two conditions to regain their appetite and gain weight, but if there is intestinal cancer, the result may be short lived.
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