Cancer is nasty disease affecting both humans and animals alike. Some breeds are more prone to cancer than other, suggesting a genetic cause e.g. splenic haemangiosarcoma in German Shepherd dogs.
This month's case is 14 year old cat who was initially presented for weight loss and vomiting. On examination, we could feel a firm mass in the middle of the abdomen. X-rays showed some constipation and not much else. Blood tests were unremarkable.
Despite enemas and soft diets, the cat continued to lose weight and have the occasional vomit. The mass was still palpable after 2 days so we decided it was time to have a look inside.
During the surgery, we found the firm mass was a cancerous lymph node that was swollen up to 3 times it normal size. On further examination, we found a malignant cancer of the liver. It was reasonably flush with the liver surface; hence it was not evident on x-rays. The lump had been hiding behind the constipation on x-rays.
It was decided to euthanise the cat as the prognosis was hopeless and it was the kindest thing to do.
One interesting feature of the case was the normal blood tests, including liver enzymes which we would normally expect to be very elevated when there is liver damage. Some liver cancers just slowly grow and push normal; liver tissue out of the way without causing too much destruction. We suspect this was the case.