My 13 year old diabetic cat Al was hospitalized recently for a week. The diagnosis was pancreatitis. The vet also performed an ultrasound and found what he thinks is a benign cyst. Question: is exploratory surgery the only way the vet can determine whether or not the cyst is benign?

Maintaining Al's blood glucose level has also been problematic. Yesterday he became hypoglycemic. A little prednisone and syrup brought Al around. I also gave him prednisone this morning to ward off another episode. The vet thinks, but doesn't with certainty, that the pancreatic cyst is "functional" in that it might be causing the pancreas to produce an excessive amount of insulin. Btw, I asked the vet about insulinoma but neither he nor a consulting verterinary internist think that's the problem.
At this point my big concern is that Al is not eating very much. I have also noticed that Al has some kind of upper respiratory infection. He's sniffling a lot, has sneezed more than normal, and has some clear discharge from his eyes. I don't know whether the infection is bacterial or viral, but Al is also taking Clavamox just in case. Another question: could the respiratory infection account for Al's diminished appetite?

I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to proceed. I'm trying to avoid at all costs taking Al back to the vet because he hates it so much and causes him much stress and anxiety. I've already spent in excess of $2,000 on his medical care in just the last week. I don't have endless reserves of money and so am beginning to think about euthanasia as a possibility if he fails to show signs of improvement.
This time is proving to be very stressful for Al and me. I'm very worried about going to work tomorrow. I'd stay home, but I must attend an important meeting. I will be sure to give Al prednisone tonight and tomorrow morning before I leave. Any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Rich
My 13 year old diabetic cat Al was hospitalized recently for a week. The diagnosis was pancreatitis. The vet also ... to give Al prednisone tonight and tomorrow morning before I leave. Any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Rich

Yes, if his nose is clogged he won't smell the food and won't eat. Try steaming up the place a bit to unclog it and warm his food a bit to make it more smelly. I do believe that every vet I've ever met says there is no replacement for the human eye on the cyst situation when it is internal. However, he'll have to be in better shape to have a biopsy. Purrs to you in this stressful time. I hope Al improves.
Karen
circa 21 Dec 2003 10:59:22 -0600, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Karen (Email Removed) said,
I do believe that every vet I've ever met says there is no replacement for the human eye on the cyst situation when it is internal.

I would disagree. Alex's cancer was only diagnosable by biopsy. His bloodwork was not indicative, ultrasounds weren't enough, and palpation of the area provided only the ability to confirm that his intestines were thickened, which could have been caused by things other than lymphoma.
Laura

I am Dyslexia of Borg,
Your ass will be laminated.
circa Sun, 21 Dec 2003 16:41:01 GMT, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Newsman (Email Removed) said,
My 13 year old diabetic cat Al was hospitalized recently for a week. The diagnosis was pancreatitis. The vet also ... benign cyst. Question: is exploratory surgery the only way the vet can determine whether or not the cyst is benign?

It depends on the location of the cyst.
Maintaining Al's blood glucose level has also been problematic. Yesterday he became hypoglycemic. A little prednisone and syrup brought Al ... but Al is also taking Clavamox just in case. Another question: could the respiratory infection account for Al's diminished appetite?

As Karen said, yes, it could. Try the humidifying advice she gave, and see if you can keep his nose as open as possible. I don't know if one of those baby snot-sucker things would work, but I guess it would depend on how congested he is. Ask the vet about a decongestant, as well. I know that pseudoephedrine can be given to cats (a recent thread here discussed it), so maybe that's an option.
I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to proceed. I'm trying to avoid at all costs taking ... money and so am beginning to think about euthanasia as a possibility if he fails to show signs of improvement.[/nq]Believe me, I understand the speed with which costs can mount; Alex cost me about $10,000 before his diagnosis (lymphoma), but his subsequent treatment was quite cheap by comparison, and it brought me nearly two extra quality years with him. I was lucky that at that time I had a lot of disposable income, but now that I'm living in ridiculously expensive NYC, it would be much more difficult for me to shell out $10,000 in a short period of time like I did when Alex got sick.

Explain your concerns to your veterinarian and perhaps he can offer both payment plans and lower-cost alternatives for some of the testing and whatnot. If he knows that you need a cost-conservative diagnostic approach, he can at least reduce some of the costs by not ordering tests unless and until they're absolutely necessary, etc.
This time is proving to be very stressful for Al and me. I'm very worried about going to work tomorrow. ... be sure to give Al prednisone tonight and tomorrow morning before I leave. Any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Is there anybody nearby who might be able to look in on him for you?

Laura

A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience. -Miguel de Cervantes
Laura and Karen,
Thanks very much for the information. It's very helpful. Al seems to be a bit better today in the sense that his vocalizing is beginning to sound more normal. I am about to go out and buy a warm mist humidifier for him. My vet also recommended pediatric nose drops. I know he won't like getting them, but it's for his own good. I need to get him to eat more. He's slept most of yesterday and today which is understandable given his week in the hospital. He's also been extraordinarily affectionate.

Unfortunately, I do not have $10,000 to spend on veterinary care, so let's hope it doesn't come to that.
Thanks again,
Rich
circa Sun, 21 Dec 2003 22:45:28 GMT, in rec.pets.cats.health+behav, Newsman (newsman@remove this part verizon.net) said,
Thanks very much for the information. It's very helpful. Al seems to be a bit better today in the sense ... slept most of yesterday and today which is understandable given his week in the hospital. He's also been extraordinarily affectionate.

Stinky food is good right now, too. Don't feed it as a regular diet, but some canned tuna in water might help stimulate his appetite, as might pouring the juice over his food. Also, your vet can give you an appetite stimulant to give the cat, if necessary.
Unfortunately, I do not have $10,000 to spend on veterinary care, so let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Alex's situation was unusual; hopefully, yours won't be quite as costly. :-)
Laura

I am Dyslexia of Borg,
Your ass will be laminated.