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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My 15 male cat has just been diagnosed wit stomach cancer

Customer Question

My 15 male cat has just been diagnosed wit stomach cancer based on ultra sound and x-ray. I am very upset because the veterinarian does not recommend surgery because of age and anemia. The Vet thinks my cat might bleed out. Can you diagnose cancer without a biopsy? I would like to be absolutely certain. Do you have any suggestions?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this with You-You. I do think it is always great to try to get a diagnosis and know if this is indeed cancer or if this may be another problem. If our goal is to obtain a biopsy in the most conservative way possible then I would advocate get this sample via endoscopy. This is such a wonderful way to biopsy and to look at the same time. Usually the recovery time is minimal (most cats are back to normal the next day) and the risk for hemorrhage is low. You may need to be referred to a specialist for this procedure, and this may not be a bad thing to have this referral and consolation (go through an oncologist at a referral center closest to you). The other way to biopsy is via ultrasound and do a needle biopsy. This is very hard to get a good sample with the stomach, but if there is a discrete mass then it is possible to get a reasonable sample this way. As far as surgery, there is a higher risk for complications with this method as well as the anticipated surgical recovery which can be hard on a cat who may already be slightly ill/debilitated. The primary concern as a surgeon we would have is that we could take the biopsy sample, but then we worry the site where a biopsy was taken may not heal, which leads to leakage of stomach contents into the abdomen which is very bad (leads to infection, peritonitis, etc). So, I too would be reluctant to recommend a surgical biopsy.

I hope that gives you some talking points to have with your vet. You should always feel free to ask for a referral to see your area specialist (oncologist or internal medicine specialist) who can help you get an exact diagnosis in the least invasive way possible.

I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. We can continue our dialogue in this setting.

I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.

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