This week not only marked the one-year anniversary of my dear cat Axel’s death, but it also brought his littermate Günter to the vet, ultimately for more bad news.
Earlier in the week I noticed he wasn’t feeling well, and I thought I felt a lump in his abdomen. Along with his other symptoms I was convinced that he had lymphoma just like his brother did.
The vet couldn’t palpate the lump and thought I might have felt his kidney. His blood work came back with an extremely low white blood cell count, but otherwise normal. An X-Ray was inconclusive, but an ultrasound showed a slightly enlarged lymph node along with an abnormality in the lining of the small intestine. They were able to aspirate the lymph node, and the results showed the presence of mast cells.
Mast cell tumors are fairly common in both cats and dogs, and unfortunately when the mast cells are more systemic like Günter’s, the prognosis isn’t great.
The vet is recommending surgery to remove the spleen, which could increase his chance of survival, however it won’t cure the disease.
I have the weekend to decide, but I’m leaning strongly against surgery of any kind — since he will die from this sooner or later, why put him through the stress, pain and discomfort of a surgery that will not guarantee he’ll live longer? As much as it pains me, I think it’ll be best to enjoy whatever time we have left with him and prepare to let him go at the first sign of discomfort.
As much as I love animals, this is the part of pet ownership that tears me apart. Although Pete thinks I won’t be able to live without having a cat in the house, once Günter’s gone I just don’t think I can go through this anymore.