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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2722
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My cat has been diagnosed with cancer in her tongue, no biopsy

Resolved Question:

My cat has been diagnosed with cancer in her tongue, no biopsy has been done but there is a lump under her tongue and her tongue is moved over to the right and is now got black on it, she has not been able to eat for 4 days and i have to give her water from a squeezy bottle. Does this definately sound like cancer? What is causing the blackness? I gave her DCA powder for 2 weeks and now Artemisinin for about 3 days. i am considering putting her to sleep tonight. I just want to make sure.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Jo :

Hello,

Dr. Jo :

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm so sorry you're facing this difficult situation with your cat.

Dr. Jo :

I'm here to discuss this with you until you're satisfied with the information I've provided, if you return online.

Dr. Jo :

Simply type in what you want to say, then click REPLY.

Dr. Jo :

Based on your description, I have no reason to doubt the diagnosis you have been given. I'm so sorry.

Dr. Jo :

Cancer in the mouth of cats is very common.

Dr. Jo :

The one thing that makes me hesitate is the lack of a biopsy.

Dr. Jo :

Technically, a biopsy is required to confirm a diagnosis.

Dr. Jo :

However, sarcomas in the mouths of older cats are very common and fairly similar in appearance.

Dr. Jo :

It can be a situation where the suspicion is high enough to be reasonably certain it's cancer without a biopsy.

Dr. Jo :

How old is your cat, please?

Dr. Jo :

While I await your reply, I will address your concerns about trying to decide when it's time for humane euthanasia.

Dr. Jo :

This is always a difficult decision. After all, if it were easy, something would be terribly wrong.

Customer:

she is 17

Dr. Jo :

You are the person who knows and loves her the best. You observe her quality of life day to day. The fact she hasn't eaten for four days is a very significant indicator of a poor quality of life.

Dr. Jo :

Seventeen.

Dr. Jo :

My heart goes out to you.

Customer:

yes i am wondering what is causing the black i just noticed it today

Dr. Jo :

A choice for euthanasia is compassionate, unselfish, and generous.

Dr. Jo :

We will see black color on an oral tumor for a few different reasons. I'll list them.

Dr. Jo :

-the combination of blood plus saliva can make a black crust.

Customer:

ok doesn't look like a crust

Dr. Jo :

-sometimes the tumor cells suddenly produce a lot of melanin and the top layer of cells are dark black,

Customer:

what about toxoplasmosis?

Dr. Jo :

This is the same type of pigment that gives some cats black spots on their lips, cheeks, tongue, or other parts of their skin.

Dr. Jo :

Toxoplasmosis does not make most cats that it infects sick.

Dr. Jo :

Are you trying to draw a connection between the black color and toxo?

Customer:

ok it wouldn't sell or cause lumps?

Customer:

yes i am worried incase it is not cancer and something else because of the black and no biopsy

Dr. Jo :

No. Toxoplasmosis is not a common cause of oral tumors.

Dr. Jo :

Black color is very common with cancer.

Customer:

does it mean the cells are dying in her tongue?

Dr. Jo :

If you can, try to leap ahead in time about 3-4 months. If you think you will have regrets about not getting biopsy, then by all means get one. Even though it's likely to be bad news, it will still offer you some peace of mind.

Dr. Jo :

Dying cells are one possible cause of black color, yes.

Dr. Jo :

I'm sorry.

Customer:

I can't get a biopsy i was told by vet it would be very difficult.

Dr. Jo :

Is there an option for a second opinion. It's quite likely another vet would be up to the challenge.

Dr. Jo :

It is NOT common to think a tumor under the tongue is difficult to biopsy. Makes me wonder if this vet is lacking in confidence or experience.

Dr. Jo :

Or if there is something else complicating the situation. Perhaps she is not stable enough to undergo any kind of surgery.

Customer:

I go to the PDSA in the uk it is a charity vet for people on low income i can't afford another vets.

Customer:

she is very weak and i am concerned about putting her under anaesthetic.

Dr. Jo :

Then I'm quite certain this vet simply doesn't think the biopsy is in your cat's best interest.

Dr. Jo :

I am so sorry you're facing this difficult, awful situation. Have you had her since she was a kitten?

Dr. Jo :

Please tell me her name?

Customer:

she is quite sure it is cancer and when i too her back 2 weeks later for review it was a different vet and he said he felt 100% it was cancer.

Customer:

Liebelube is her name

Customer:

i was worried about toxoplasmosis as i have another cat and also just to be sure.

Dr. Jo :

Unfortunately I have absolutely no reason to doubt the opinions of the two veterinarians who have seen and examined her. I'm

Dr. Jo :

I'm so sorry.

Dr. Jo :

Toxoplasmosis doesn't usually make most cats sick. They have it and carry it and we don't even know most of the time.

Customer:

it's ok i have been prepared for this for a few weeks now, just putting her to sleep tonight but seeing the black i wanted to be sure,

Dr. Jo :

Cancers of the mouth, on the other hand, are very, very common.

Dr. Jo :

The most important factor on deciding when it's time to put her to sleep is her loss of appetite.

Customer:

it's first time it's happened to any of my cats, i have had cats since i was 17.

Dr. Jo :

This means she is suffering. I wish it weren't true, but it's not.

Customer:

yes she hasn't eaten for a long time now i know

Customer:

she sits at her dish and looks and i know she wants to eat but can't

Dr. Jo :

I'm glad you've been lucky to avoid oral cancer in the past. It's heartbreaking. As many as one in 300 cats will suffer from it.

Dr. Jo :

Most veterinarians see one or two cases a year.

Customer:

do you feel vaccinations or the cheap regular cat meat cause it?

Dr. Jo :

No.

Dr. Jo :

Vaccinations and diet do not cause oral cancer.

Customer:

I try to feed them the 70% raw meat but they prefer felix the cheaper stuff.

Dr. Jo :

There may be genetic links, but this has not been proven.

Dr. Jo :

It's clear you take excellent care of your cats because 17 is very, very old. Many cats die starting around the age of 12. They are senior citizens after the age of 8.

Dr. Jo :

You've done very well.

Customer:

I have had her since she was born, as her mother was my cat also. thank you, ***** ***** call the emergency vet line tonight as i don't have an appointment and i will take her.

Dr. Jo :

My thoughts are with you. I know this is a very difficult thing to do, but it is also very unselfish and loving.

Dr. Jo :

I'm so thankful you can be strong enough to do this for her.

Dr. Jo :

She is luck to have you.

Customer:

Thanks, ***** ***** have no choice, thank you for your advice.

Dr. Jo :

*lucky

Dr. Jo :

You are very welcome.

Customer:

I will go now thank you

Dr. Jo :

I know this is hard and I'm glad it can help to have someone else to talk to.

Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2722
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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