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Dr. Brian
Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience:  34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
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My cat has two very swollen kidneys (thats what the vet said

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My cat has two very swollen kidneys (that's what the vet said when I brought the cat there to show the swollen lumps on both sides) but shoes no other signs of sickness. His mood, appetite and demeanor are totally normal, alert and content seeming. The vet suggested an ultrasound to take a look at his kidneys, but seemed pretty certain that it was lymphoma. But he didn't take any bloor or anything, just felt around. He mentioned that there was a condition where the kidney fills with urine, but that it was unlikely that it would happen in both, and that if it did happen in both, it was likely a sign of a tumor in his bladder blocking the urine from being released. But I am wondering if any kind of infection or kidney stone is possible. Are there any other common diagnoses he might be missing?

Kidney stones are uncommon in cats, and when they form do not cause the kidney to enlarge, and while kidney infections could cause a little swelling, not enough to palpate and your cat would be acting sick. I agree totally with what you have been told and the ultrasound is the best tool to image the kidney, and allows for a guided biopsy of kidney tissue to confirm the diagnosis. Should lymphoma be confirmed chemotherapy is available but survival times only range from 3-6 months on average. Best wishes for this challenging situation.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you very much for your answer. Although it's sad to accept that this is probably what it is, I find comfort knowing that our vet's analysis of the situation doesn't seem off base. Do you have any idea why he might not have taken any blood, or why our cat would not be showing any signs of illness, other than the swelling and weight loss? The vet was surprised that considering how swollen they are, that the cat isn;t clearly feeling sick.
Until there is 2/3's or more of the functional kidney tissue destroyed you will not see changes in the blood values, in these cases only about half of cats are in kidney insufficiency. The blood test for kidney impairment would not diagnose the tumors, and only 25-50% are feline leukemia virus related tumors. I think your vet believed your money to be best spent on the ultrasound. That your cat has not lost much weight or is feeling poorly is more a matter of how soon this was detected and the speed of onset. Probably another couple weeks and the situation would be vastly different as these are rapidly developing tumors. Should the test come back positive for lymphoma, if you have other cats I would have this cat tested for FeLV, and if positive test the other cats as well.
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