We received the cytology results from the cat I mentioned earlier this week. Sadly, it is a carcinoma. I sampled three separate lumps. All the slides submitted showed evidence of malignancy.
So what’s next? I discussed with the owner’s daughter the results. We talked about surgery, but chances are that there are more than those three lumps. Chances are that the mass that was removed by the previous veterinarian was similar. Unfortunately, that mass had not been submitted for histopath. Part of the staging process will be to see if there has been spread to the lungs, liver or spleen, as if it has already spread then surgery is unlikely to cure the cat. It’s difficult to give a prognosis when we don’t have a stage for the carcinoma. Either way, it’s not looking good. It’s always tough to break the news to an owner that their pet has cancer. There is nothing good about that conversation. Palliative care is also option, as the cat will have a limited time. We want to ensure that the patient continues to be free of pain, and interacts with the owners. Quality of life can be difficult to assess. Ohio State has a nice questionnaire to assist owners in making the decision for end-of-life. That decision is also never easy. Humane euthanasia can be a gift, however to eliminate pain and suffering, no matter if you personally feel that it is right or wrong.