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Dr. Lee
Dr. Lee, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5355
Experience:  8 years of experience in veterinary medicine and surgery
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Ive been providing basic care for a cat abandoned by a former

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I've been providing basic care for a cat abandoned by a former tenant at my apartment complex since November 2012. She seemed in overall good health then, just a little thin. However, despite extra food, she's still losing weight. Recently I discovered two soft, malleable masses under the skin, where her left front leg meets the rest of her body. They move around under my fingers. They're not causing her pain or restricting her movement. She's still bright, alert, has a good appetite, drinks water normally, and grooms herself. Could they be just cysts and not cancer?

Dr. Lee :

Hi. I'm Dr. Lee and will do my best to help.

Dr. Lee :

Can you tell me how much food Boots is currently eating? And have you noticed any weight gain at all?

Dr. Lee :

Also, how big are the two masses?

Customer:

I've been giving Boots 2/3 cup day of food daily, since November 2012. She's been losing weight, not gaining, for at least the past couple of months. I just recently discovered the masses, just behind her left front leg where it meets the rest of her body. One is small, about the size of a pea. The other is larger (3/4 inch), next to the pea-sized mass. Both are under the skin, soft, and malleable. I can move them around with my fingers. They're not causing her any pain or restricting her movement right now.

Dr. Lee :

Thanks for the info.

Dr. Lee :

First of all, the masses, especially the 3/4 inch one, is not likely to be a cyst. When cats have masses like these, they tend to be tumors, though not necessarily cancerous.

Dr. Lee :

The best thing to do is to ask your vet to do something called fine needle aspirate, to determine the composition and remove them if needed.

Customer:

It's such an odd spot for them. Could it be lymphoma?

Dr. Lee :

As for the weight, I would be very concern despite feeding 2/3 cup a day. That is a big problem.

Dr. Lee :

Lymphoma is not likely, they tend to be internal.

Dr. Lee :

Although it is always possible.

Customer:

The masses are underneath the skin.

Dr. Lee :

For the weight, given the fact that we are eating well, you need to ask your vet to do a full blood and urine test. The one thing I would be very concern about is hyperthyroidism.

Customer:

I thought perhaps if the masses were benign, that Boots could be diabetic or have hypothyroidism? They also cause weight loss.

Dr. Lee :

I understand the masses are under the skin. However, lymphoma usually is at the lymph nodes, and usually is all over. They do not present as you have described normally.

Dr. Lee :

Hypothyroidism does NOT cause weight loss.

Dr. Lee :

Hyperthyroidism causes weight loss.

Dr. Lee :

Diabetes is possible, if boots was obese previously.

Customer:

That I don't know for sure, since she was abandoned.

Dr. Lee :

The masses, if malignant, are usually soft tissue sarcomas.

Customer:

If the masses are benign, and Boots has hyperthyroidism, could proper medication turn her around?

Dr. Lee :

Though they can also be mast cell tumors, it is impossible to tell without FNA, or biopsy.

Dr. Lee :

If the masses are benign base on FNA or biopsy, and Boots have hyperthyroidism only, then treatment for such is usually using life long medication, oral.

Dr. Lee :

Though there are two other routes, one is surgery, the other is radioactive iodine.

Dr. Lee :

All in all, it is treatable.

Customer:

So I'd be looking at a general exam. FNA, and a blood/urine test for Boots?

Dr. Lee :

The key thing is to look into blood and urine test for now.

Dr. Lee :

You are correct.

Dr. Lee :

Physical exam, FNA, blood test, urine test.

Dr. Lee :

Those should be everything Boots will need at the moment.

Customer:

If you were treating her, what would be the approximate cost for the tests?

Customer:

I can compare costs here with my local vets and get Boots the care she needs ASAP!

Dr. Lee :

Well this will depend on location. Assuming you are near an urban or suburb area, exam can range $50 to $75

Dr. Lee :

Blood and urine tests are usually around $150 to $200

Dr. Lee :

FNA around $100, plus minus a little.

Customer:

I'm in a rural CA town, population about 75,000. I have some good vet choices here! :)

Dr. Lee :

CA is also a little more expensive....just so you know.

Dr. Lee :

Even in the rural setting.

Customer:

I'm in Merced, central San Joaquin Valley in CA.

Dr. Lee :

Those costs I provided, you probably will be looking at the higher end of it.

Dr. Lee :

So total cost will likely be around $350.

Customer:

That's what I figured. I can cost-compare today and make the appointment!

Dr. Lee :

Great. I hope Boots will get better and gain some weight soon!

Dr. Lee :

Do you have any other questions or concerns?

Customer:

I may also qualify for vet care assistance and will look into that also!

Dr. Lee :

For sure, ask your local vet about this.

Customer:

That's all I have! Boots is the sweetest girl and deserves our best! :)

Dr. Lee :

I completely agree! I hope Boots will feel better!

Dr. Lee :

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Dr. Lee :

An excellent rating will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Customer:

I will, thank you! :)

Dr. Lee :

Thanks for using Just Answer!

Customer:

I feel much better being prepared before talking to my local vets! :)

Dr. Lee and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Valerie,


I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going.


Let me know,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm waiting for all my monthly benefits to post on the 3rd, then I'll make my appointment for Boots for the following week. Everything but the blood test will be about $175 with my vet, so if he's willing to let me pay for that in August, I should have my answers soon!

That's great. Let me know if you need further assistance!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The $175 includes the FNR test, which will tell me if Boots has a fighting chance! If the masses are benign, then I'll get the blood test done which should tell me if she's diabetic or has hyperthyroidism. She can come back from that with the proper meds which I should be able to afford and learn to administer. But I can't afford cancer treatment. Yet I'm probably not poor enough for vet expense charity funds either. However, my conscience wouldn't allow me to do nothing and just watch Boots wither away and die in the extreme summer heat. So I'm hoping with everything that's in me that it won't be the end of the road for her next week! :(