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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10981
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My 17 year old cat has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor

Customer Question

My 17 year old cat has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his mouth. He has been drooling a bloody discharge all week and one side of his face appears swollen. He is eating well and drinks a lot of water. His activity level has not changed. But is
down to only 7.5 lbs from 11 lbs. at his vet visit a year ago. The vet did not take xrays; said she could feel the tumor under his jaw and was 100% positive this was what is going on. She gave him a steroid shot and said when he stopped eating I should let
him go. I'm wondering if there is a possibility that this a tooth or gum problem. He had an abcess about 5 years ago and had a tooth removed. He also occasionally has really loose stools. Should I get a second opinion. He doesn't appear to be in pain, but
from what I read these types of tumors are painful. Should I request pain medication. Are the steroid shots helpful in shrinking tumors. If it is a tumor about how long will I have with him.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. If the entire side of the face is swollen, then it is most likely a tumor. But, I would definitely want to confirm that diagnosis. An abscess is less likely but still possible. I would expect an abscess to be more painful, and you may see puss drain from the mouth or from an opening in the side of the face once it opens. If it is inside the mouth, then it should be easy to visualize if he lets you look into the mouth. If he won't, it may help to give him a little sedative to take a look or even put a needle into the swelling and take an aspirate to evaluate for cancer. I think it is definitely worth a second opinion. A steroid injection should help with the inflammation and swelling, but it most likely won't shrink the tumor, unless it is something like lymphoma. Even then, it wouldn't shrink it or control it for long. A steroid should help for pain control, but if you feel like he is still in pain, then I would get a pain injection. If he is in pain, he may not eat or be reluctant for you to touch around his face. If it is cancer, his survival time can vary depending on the type of tumor it is. If it has been growing rapidly, it may only be a couple weeks to a couple months. If it has been slow growing, and he continues to eat, then a few months is not out of the question. It is just impossible to predict, though, without knowing what type of tumor you are dealing with. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

DISCLAIMER: My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Max. How is everything going?
Dr. John