Is There Hope For My Cat?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, talks about what to expect with oral squamous cell carcinoma.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: August 27, 2010, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: Our cat, Scribbles, was recently diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma. She was eating for a while, but now has given that up on her own. I feed her with syringe three times a day in the morning, and drive home from work during lunch and in the evenings. Vets tell us it is not operable. I have given her tons of cold compress flaxseed oils, vitamins, etc. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle at times. Are there special foods I can purchase and do you have any ideas on holistic meds?

A: I’m so sorry to hear about Scribbles. Oral SCC is the most common oral malignancy in cats. Its occurrence is often disastrous. The oral tissues that are commonly involved include the tonsils, the tongue, the gums, and the mandible (lower jaw bone). Diagnosis is made by obtaining a biopsy of the affected tissue. Unfortunately, most cases (95%) of oral SCC cases are diagnosed only after the cat shows overt clinical signs or dramatic changes in appearance, such as swelling of the jaw or face, severe weight loss, difficulty eating and/or grooming, or presence of blood in the mouth.

Treatment for oral SCC is often unrewarding. Surgery offers the best chance for survival, but most of the time it has progressed too far. Chemotherapy is ineffective. It  sounds  like you’re doing  all that you can. You need to work closely with your vet to make sure that she is not in pain. Your vet can prescribe pain medications if necessary. Also, if she cannot close  her  mouth properly and is doing a lot of drooling or cannot groom herself properly, you may need to consider putting her to sleep. Holistic therapies are not going to be of any benefit with squamous cell carcinoma. I’ve diagnosed this terrible cancer  many times, and I always incredibly frustrating.


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Reader Comments

BB    Play del Rey, CA

8/29/2010 10:22:39 PM

I am so sorry about your kitty. I am going through a medical situation myself with my kitty.
May St. Francis and God bring you comfort.
Best to you both.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

8/28/2010 11:32:28 PM

So sad.

Millicent    St Louis, MO

8/28/2010 9:58:52 PM

So very sad about your sweet kitty. I'm sorry.

Holly    Stouffville, ON

8/27/2010 9:35:19 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about Scibbles!! I hope you can find something to maker her more comfortable. It's never easy to loose a pet - they are family members. My husband and I just had to put one of our cats to sleep due to kidney failure. It's so sad saying goodbye. I hope all works out well.

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