Sarcoma At Site Of Injection
(London, Ontario, Canada.)
This is Rusty.
Reader Question: How Do I Know When To Put My Cat Down?
My name is Amy and my beautiful cat's name is Rusty. I've had Rusty since I was 3 years old and I'm now 19. Last year the vet located a small lump on her back, between her shoulder blades that he believed was a very very aggressive, cancerous tumor due to injection site. At that time he told us she did not have very long to live - about 2 months. After hearing news that Rusty would die soon my Mom stopped giving Rusty her monthly flea medication (she is an outdoor cat). Each month the lump grew larger and larger; starting off at the size of a grape and progressing to its massive size now (slightly smaller than the size of her head).
Six months after that visit with the vet we noticed she was constantly itching/scratching at her lump so we took her to another vet (a family friend) to get her put down. I told the vet Rusty was eating and moving perfectly well and he agreed it was not her time to go, but that she just had a bad case of flea infestation. He also examined her lump and noticed a couple "soft spots" that he said would eventually break open and cause a "mess". He said "you'll know when it's her time to go". Thus, that brings us to today. Presently, my family and I are discussing how long Rusty has to live and when we will put her down. I've uploaded a picture, and as one can see she has a severely large lump on her back. I can count one main, large, stiff lump in the middle, one hard pink lump on the right, one soft lump on the left and two small stiff lumps at the base. It is clear to see that the main lump has broken open. It has been leaking a
clear, slightly yellow fluid for about a month now. The pink section on the left has recently developed and spread - what is it exactly? It is also apparent in the picture that she is balding in those areas of concern.
I am VERY concerned. She is an extremely happy cat. She eats normally, but does sleep an excessive amount. She only showed discomfort when the vet aggressively grabbed her lump. She still cleans herself but cannot reach the areas of the lump and is unable to clean it. I can't tell if it is her time to go, she acts happy but looks horrible! I would appreciate your help more than I could ever explain.
Amy Veterinarian Answers Reader Question Regarding: Knowing The Right Time To Put A Cat Down
It sounds as if your veterinarian has diagnosed Rusty with an injection site sarcoma, which is an aggressive form of cancer in cats
. The oozing that you have noticed can develop when the tumor outgrows its blood supply and parts of it start to break down. Infection can also cause drainage in cases like these.
When it comes to knowing when it’s time to let a pet go, I tell my clients to look for five things: eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating – all of which are necessary to keep the body going – and the final criteria – joy. This last one is hard to define, but essentially it revolves around whether or not a pet still seems to want to be around. Does she more or less act in the way that she has in the past – greeting you at the door when you arrive, that sort of thing.
When you start noticing significant changes in one or more of these quality of life parameters, it’s time to seriously consider whether or not euthanasia is in her best interest.
My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Jennifer Coates, DVM