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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33322
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 11 year old cat has had persistant diarrohea and vomiting

Customer Question

My 11 year old cat has had persistant diarrohea and vomiting for several months getting so bad she was hospitalised 2 days ago and is still there. She has lost a huge amount of weight and is just fur covered bones. Up to 2 days ago she has had steroid injections, vitamin B12 injections, probiotic feed, hypoallergenic feed, metronidazole, IV antibiotics, electrolytes through a drip due to severe dehydration and low potassium in blood tests and today had an abdominal scan which showed no lumps but thickened walls of her lower intestine. Tonight I have to make a decision wether to ask for a biopsy given that due to her weakened state she may not recover from the anaesthetic or to have her euthenised as the vet has run out of treatment options other than just persisting with treating her for IBS which up to now is not working. I would be grateful for some advice
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Tara and I'm afraid that I have to be very discouraging. Any 11 year old who has become cachexic (wasted) and suffers from persistent vomiting and diarrhea, has demonstrable thickening in her intestines but hasn't responded to IBS therapy, must be suspected of harboring small cell lymphoma - an all too common sequela of IBS.

While scoping and biopsy is likely to be definitive,we need to ask ourselves if we would institute chemotherapy in such a debilitated cat should small cell lymphoma be confirmed. The prognosis for such a patient varies with the findings in the biopsy but life expectancy for such a treated cat with advanced small cell lymphoma is no more than 5-9 months. I'm sorry to sound so discouraging. I would not proceed to biopsy under these circumstances.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.