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Haley23 Haley23 is offline
 
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PT cat parents: WWYD (long)
Old 12-11-2020, 03:26 PM
  #1

See update post #6

So, I've posted over the years about my cat's many ailments. He has had chronic anemia for about 4 years now. The root cause has never been found. He had his spleen taken out about 3 years ago, which saved his life, and has occasionally had to go back on steroids since then. He's now had to be on the steroids permanently for over a year and they are showing signs of not working anymore.

His vet is telling me the next step, if I'm willing to do it, is a bone marrow biopsy. He would have to go to a specialist. I'm sure that means big money. I asked how much it cost and she said she would get an estimate and get back to me (haven't heard yet). On google I see anything from $500 to over $2K. I'm fortunate to have a pretty decent savings account, and I can technically afford even the higher amount. But I am very hesitant to pay a lot for just some testing, that may or may not be that useful.

I asked the vet what would happen as a result of the testing. She said that she thinks the cat may have some sort of autoimmune issue. If that's the case, apparently he could get some medications which she says cats do well on and could take for multiple years. I gathered it's also possible that if that's not the case, I'd pay for this testing and nothing would come of it/we'd be right back where we are now.

I really don't know what to do. I don't even know how old my cat is because he was a stray; based on the shelter's estimate he would now be 11, but they were totally guessing of course because he was an adult when I got him. If it were something that was that expensive, but a cure that meant he would have many more happy years, I would pay it no question. I am hesitant to pay a significant amount for testing that may or may not be useful and will tell us that he may or may not benefit from other drugs.

Any advice? Things I should ask the vet? The previous vet (retired) would have totally just given him these drugs without testing. I know that's not the "right" way to do it but man do I miss him.



Last edited by Haley23; 12-11-2020 at 04:48 PM..
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Sorry to hear this
Old 12-11-2020, 03:30 PM
  #2

I do not envy your decision. That is a tough call to make. Good luck.
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Old 12-11-2020, 03:32 PM
  #3

Awwww, Iím sorry. Tough decision.
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Old 12-11-2020, 03:35 PM
  #4

Have you asked the vet if you can try the drugs without the testing to see if they help? Is there any danger to doing that? I guess I'd ask that first. But if she won't do that, I guess I'd spend the money for the test. Maybe you can check with a couple of them to see what they charge for the test.
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Old 12-11-2020, 03:44 PM
  #5

I will probably be in the minority and luckily haven't had to face this types of decisions with my many cats, but I won't spend a ton on them.

Luckily they've been older like 12 to 18 years old and it's been something that would not extend their life much so we've made them comfortable and made the decision to put them down when it was time. I have a very understanding that that I've known for over 25 years. We only had to do that twice. Otherwise my cats have passed on their own from natural causes.

It's never easy.


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Old 12-11-2020, 04:47 PM
  #6

Great news!! The vet is willing to just try the medication and see if it works for him. She says there is a chance that if he has a different problem, the medication could make things worse and that's why you'd want to do the testing to make sure, but she understands not being able to spend so much just on testing (BTW, it was going to be $1500).

She is okay with just trying it as long as I understand there are risks. If he did the biopsy and they found something that wouldn't respond to the medication, then there wouldn't really be anything to do anyway, and he'd likely not have very much time before the steroids stop working all together. So I feel like it is very worth it to just try the new meds and see if they help.
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Old 12-11-2020, 04:55 PM
  #7

I'm happy to hear that you have found a course of action that works for you!

My vet, who I like and trust very much, always says to ask, "If I do X, how likely will the results change my future actions?" If it won't change my actions, then there's no point in doing X.

It sounds like doing the test means the results make the decision about meds or no meds. Meds means possible extended lifespan. No meds means possible shorter lifespan because the meds wouldn't have helped.

Not doing the test means that you make a decision about meds or no meds. No meds means possible shortened lifespan, meds means possible shortened lifespan or possible extended lifespan.

I think not doing the test is exactly what my vet would have recommended too. I really hope the meds work for your kitty.
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Old 12-11-2020, 05:05 PM
  #8

That is great news! I hope the meds work!
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Old 12-11-2020, 05:29 PM
  #9

I went through something similar with my dog. I really just can't justify that kind of money on a pet, especially if there are not any even minor guarantees about a positive outcome.

My dog lived several years after a bad event and was okay-ish happy the first year. She ended up injuring herself (which was predicted even if we had surgery) about a year later and totally was not a happy camper. She missed doing the things she used to do and was sad about it. Another year before her body gave up, and we were very sad about it, but it was a mercy to her.

You have to be able to live with whatever decision you make, so don't let your self guilt you into anything. Make whatever decision feels right for you.
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Old 12-11-2020, 05:50 PM
  #10

Seems to me you have a really good vet! Hope everything works out well.


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Old 12-11-2020, 05:56 PM
  #11

Quote:
Seems to me you have a really good vet!
Yes, I've been so blessed with that! The previous one was great and when he retired the practice was taken over by two women. They've worked really hard for my cat and I know done some research on their own time. It helps that my cat is so awesome . He takes meds/treatments without batting an eye and is always super amiable at the vet. They love having him in and they are motivated to help him!
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Old 12-12-2020, 03:27 AM
  #12

I know that blessed feeling!

Even though several of my cats are the complete opposite of your cat, especially at the vet's she is still super attentive to each and every one, no matter their temperament.
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Tough spot
Old 12-12-2020, 03:49 AM
  #13

I've asked myself if I'm doing it for my cat or for me.

Invasive procedures tend to get a no vote. I can't explain anything to the cat who will be in pain and confused.

On the other hand, one cat needed a daily pill to increase his appetite which allowed him (and me) another 6 months
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My two pennies...
Old 12-12-2020, 06:01 AM
  #14

And this is coming from someone who spent $10K+ on bloat surgery for a 14 year old dog at the time....

My attitude has been, what will you do with the data, and what is the quality of life now?

When my dog got bloat, it was life or death. I'll admit, I was ready to say no. 10K is a fawk ton of money, we really didn't have. My husband said yes. It took our dog almost two months of almost ICU step down care for her to get back to base line. If I had been working a 9 to 5 job, that never would have happened. So think about your time besides the cost.. Vets suggest spendy treatments, but can you do with follow up care at home? Wendy (the dog) had 5 emergency vet visits
during the two months. Luckily the vet gave us some deep deep discounts.

Wendy also had surgery for a mast cell tumor 2 years before the bloat. We did the surgery, and sent out for pathology. Had the the samples showed there were no clear margins (tumor had spread everywhere), we would have just did palliative/hospice care. The vet offered up chemo, MRI, and I think radiation therapy. I couldn't justify putting her through all that at age 12.

She is now 17, and has some weird bump on her foreleg. It's not growing fast. One vet wanted to do a bells and whistles biopsy, which means general anesthesia. I did a hard no on that. A different vet did a needle biopsy, checking for mast cells. That came back clear, so we are doing nothing else.

I look at my quality of life handling a sick animal that may not bounce back totally from treatment, the pet's quality of life vs whatever it will be put through, and costs.

I read further down you'll be doing medication first, and that is how I would have leaned. There is no guarantee he would survive the testing. Geriatric pets are similar to geriatric old people. Some don't have the reserves to handle all that stress/trauma from procedures.

Hope your kitty is doing better <3
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