I’m hoping the cat folks will be able to help me. My cat is 12. I don’t know how to post pictures. For the past couple of years she’s had irritable bowel syndrome.
I’ll post my questions first, and then the background.
- Can feline IBS turn into lymphoma?
- Should I follow my vet’s advice and get the super-expensive biopsy?
- What if I just put my cat on prednisone for life? I know the risks, but I also know that people survive longterm on the same drug, so it can’t be THAT deadly.
- What about ‘natural’ diets?
Her condition been controlled through Super-Expensive Cat Food (rabbit or venison flavor, the proteins she hadn’t been previously exposed to) and occasional courses of prednisone and flagyl. The basic symptom is extraordinarily smelly poo, light in color, and overly liquid, with occasional outside-the-box shenanigans (which she doesn’t do when healthy). Sorry for the grossness.
Lately it has been getting much worse. Prednisone still makes her fine, but no catfood works anymore, not even the magic Hill’s Science Diet Z/D. We have, of course, been in and out of the vet’s. The vet says that irritable bowel syndrome in cats can turn into lymphoma sometimes. I don’t know how to evaluate that; it seems fishy to me, but two different vets have said so. I know the two conditions are difficult to distinguish, but I don’t know that I really believe one turns into the other. I can see misdiagnoses being corrected later on with that as a cover story, but I am not in a position to know, really. Both vets (independently, at two different practices) also told me that it is important to get an extraordinarily expensive biopsy done in order to test this.
How should I evaluate this information? In both cases, the suggestion that I do the biopsy was more like a carefully rehearsed sales pitch than anything else. There are three versions of the test, and I was made to feel that if I cheaped out the results would be inconclusive and the cat would be needlessly stressed and we’d just have to go back and do the expensive one.
I should point out that she is indoor-only and has been vaccinated against FeLV and all the other bad things.
Where I need help: I just… don’t believe it’s lymphoma. I don’t think it’s denial on my part, though that’s always a possibility. Part of this is her general demeanor: she eats, she plays, she’s happy. Part of it is that the good ol’ internet says that cats with lymphoma tend to last up to two months if untreated, and she’s well over that. She’s also really gassy, a symptom the vet doesn’t seem to hear when I tell him.
Part of it is the sneaking suspicion that vets are taking advantage of my emotional distress to make money. They always want to do more blood tests in case anything has changed (last full test: late March. Results: negative). On the other hand, they are medical professionals and I am not; they must like animals in order to work with them all day long, and I can’t see anyone who likes animals being that mercenary. I want to do what’s best for her, and at this point nothing is working. This is horrible!
For question #4, a lot of people have recommended that I prepare regular food rather than canned / kibble catfood. I think most of them are caught by the fallacy that processed = unnatural = always worse; natural = always better. (Processed often is bad, of course, because those who process are in it for profit and will cut corners and add shelf-life extenders etc.)
Thanks to all who reply.