Cat lymphoma is one of the cat diseases that most cat owners are afraid of. Cat lymphoma is a dreadful one. It takes over your pet and you never get to know that it is happening. It is not a rare one and when it strikes, it is deadly. Now that it is happening, there is that question; when worse comes to worst with cat lymphoma, when to euthanize? You do not need to worry; this blog will help you in the best manner.
What does Cat Lymphoma and Euthanize mean?
Talking about cat lymphoma, it is actually the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in cats. It is the cancer of the white blood cells/lymphocytes, wherein the liver, the spleen, and the lymph nodes could be gravely affected.
There are other forms of lymphoma: gastric, intestinal, renal, thymic, and spinal. The kidneys, eyes, central nervous system, nose, and skin could also be affected.
As lymphocytes travel throughout the blood in the body, so, it is not a localized disease but a systemic one.
Symptoms of Cat Lymphoma:
Common symptoms are appetite loss or sudden weight loss, irritability, vomiting, redness on skin/flakiness, or growth of masses with difficulty in breathing.
The word euthanasia comes from the Greek word, which means ‘good death’, and its purpose is to end pain and suffering. Most pet owners hope a sick or old cat will pass away peacefully in his or her sleep.
But this does not happen very often, which means we are faced with having to make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize a cat, to give our beloved pet peace from the endless suffering.
Cat Lymphoma when to Euthanize:
Before going for this process for “Feline Lymphoma when to Euthanize”, there are several others options you can go for cat lymphoma. Maybe your cat’s lymphoma is not that deadly that you go for ‘cat lymphoma when to euthanize’.
So, some other options can be opted after better diagnosis.
1. Microscopic Examination of Cancerous cells:
Diagnosing lymphoma requires finding cancerous cells on microscopic examination. Your veterinarian also may perform baseline screening of blood before testing for lymphoma, in order to examine your cat’s overall health and rule out other causes of your cat’s clinical signs.
2. Fine Needle Aspirate:
Feline lymphoma can be diagnosed with a fine needle aspirate. In this test, a veterinarian will insert a needle into an area of concern like an enlarged lymph node and remove a small number of cells. These cells will then be examined under a microscope, looking for cancer cells that indicate lymphoma.
This does not give a high-quality result, but has minimum side effects, risks, and cost as compared to others.
3. Surgical Biopsy:
This involves the removal of a piece of tissue from the lesion. This determination is based on how rapidly the cancer cells appear to be dividing and how malignant the cells appear to be.
If lymphoma is diagnosed via biopsy, the pathologist can also determine whether your cat possesses high-grade(fast-growing) or low-grade (can respond to chemotherapy) lymphoma.
Now, you know the type of lymphoma your feline friend is going through, it can be treated as follows, depending on the severity before going for the last step, euthanizing.
Treatment for Feline Lymphoma:
Lymphoma can be treated mostly with chemotherapy. Cats tolerate chemotherapy much better than humans; they rarely lose their hair or appear sick.
Mild symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
2. Surgery and/or radiation:
Surgery and/or radiation may be appropriate for lymphoma that is confined to one area, such as abdominal masses, but this is uncommon.
Most cases cannot be successfully treated with surgery or radiation and will require chemotherapy.
3. Administrating Prednisone:
Maybe chemotherapy is not an option, due to a cat’s illness or owner finances, prednisone can be used for palliative, or hospice, care.
Although prednisone does not treat lymphoma, it can provide a temporary reduction in clinical signs and buy the pet some time.
Lymphoma going towards Euthanizing:
As cats are unable to show what they are going through, here are some deadly signs displayed by it which help you to know about its condition. These are signs that cat lymphoma when to euthanize.
1. Your cat does not take care of itself:
· Cats start soiling itself:
Take note if your cat starts soiling itself. Cats are proud, clean creatures. They have a basic need to keep themselves clean.
If they are unable to keep themselves clean, then the cat’s dignity suffers and keeping them alive is morally questionable.
· Cat’s ability to Groom itself:
Lack of grooming could be a sign of a stiff back, or even that your cat is sleeping more and not devoting the necessary to coat care.
If this is your cat’s only quirk, do not panic, the chances are it is okay for a while yet.
But of course, if your cat is having difficulty grooming itself, this is one area where you can make a big difference.
2. Effect on cat’s weight and ability to eat:
Food is essential to life. If the cat has pain (dental, arthritic, or abdominal are the most common in older pets) then it may inhibit it from eating because it hurts to get up and do so.
Another case is the cat that eats but regularly vomits food back up. Either of these scenarios are a cause for worry and will result in the cat losing weight.
Weight loss in itself is not an indication for euthanasia but if the cat’s body score falls to around 1.5 / 5, the cat is likely to feel weak, and lacking in energy.
If there is no prospect of its gaining weight, you must consider euthanasia. If the body score falls further, to 1/5 then it is time to let it go.
3. Cat is not able to walk to its water bowl:
Cat is in so much pain that it will not get up unless it is essential.
They are likely to wait longer between drinks and are prone to dehydration, which in turn puts a strain on their kidneys and makes them more likely to feel nauseous and increasing unwell from the build-up of toxins.
Obviously, you can check it by moving the water bowl within reach, but the principle remains that it is a basic requirement for the cat to be mobile enough to walk a short distance without distress.
If this is not the case, then the pet’s quality of life is in question and it is quietly suffering.
4. Your cat is not able to Rest without Pain:
This is a big one. It is a necessity that the cat can sleep and rest without being disturbed by pain. A cat in pain is more likely to be restless, and show tell-tale signs such as swishing its tail, or resting with its ears drawn back.
Pain also causes tension in the muscles and the cat is more likely to have a hunched-up, “tight” appearance, rather than lying on its side with its legs extended.
5. Changes in behavior due to Pain:
Cats in pain are also more short-tempered and grouchier. So, be alert for changes in character from sweet-tempered to an aggressive one.
When deciding whether it is time for euthanasia the underlying question to ask yourself is if the pain means she spends more time feeling unwell, than she does getting pleasure out of life.
6. A Chronic Disease:
It is no doubt a recurring disease and if your is in constant pain because of it, so, to give it relief from this incurable disease, it is time to let it go!
Cat lymphoma when to Euthanize Decision:
It would not be proper to tell you when and if you should euthanize your cat with lymphoma, as this is a very difficult, personal decision.
But your heart better know when it is time. And there is the time when cat lymphoma when to euthanize:
1. Symptoms of a Dying Cat:
Most chronic diseases become progressively worse and dying is a process that can take weeks or months. Signs the cat is nearing the end of life can include the following:
- Loss of appetite/ Abrupt changes in appetite
- Extreme weakness
- Fever or Drastic body temperature changes
- Unkempt appearance/ Growths and Masses Prescence
- Decreased urination and bowel movements.
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Difficulty breathing
- Restlessness, unable to get comfortable, difficulty sleeping.
- Redness or flakiness on your cat’s skin
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, any other intestine related problem
2. Consulting the Vet:
- Discuss the matter with your vet. Do not forget your vet is there to advise you. The ideal situation is if your cat has seen the same vet for years, because it has followed the cat throughout its life and is aware of its normal appearance and behaviors.
- Book an appointment with the vet for a physical exam of your pet.
This will give to vet an opportunity to conduct a full examination and give you time to discuss your cat’s health in person.
- It is the veterinarian’s job to ensure an animal does not suffer, and if the cat has a problem that is badly affecting its quality of life and there is little chance of improvement, then the vet will help you understand this and guide you towards making the best decision. You can also perform this procedure by yourself if there are financial issues, however, it is not recommended.
3. Question yourself:
Following are the questions you must ask yourself before going for this decision od euthanize.
- Is the cat having more bad days than good?
- Am I keeping the cat alive for the cat or me?
- Is it possible to manage the condition and relieve suffering or have all options been tried?
- Can the cat move around reasonably well? Walk to the food or water bowl, use the litter tray?
- Is the cat still eating and drinking?
This is the best way to evaluate yourself as well as your pet about the ongoing situation. We hope that you will definitely get the accurate answer.
Maybe your cat’s suffering is much more than fun in its life. So, euthanizing is in the best interests of the cat, even though we desperately want more time.
4. Making a Decision:
i. Tipping point:
- Sometimes things go well, other times they go badly, but everything should balance out in the end. Your cat’s life is a bit like this.
- The tipping point may occur when the cat stops responding to pain medications, or you notice a deterioration in house training.
- Although it varies from cat to cat, a point is usually reached beyond which quality of life becomes unacceptable.
- Once this tipping point has been reached, euthanasia may be the kindest thing for your cat.
ii. Balancing the Factors:
Keeping in mind all the factors your cat facing, which are leading to its death, will help you make the decision of ending its suffering.
iii. Consider your cat’s quality of life:
“Quality of life” are three words much talked about in the context of animal euthanasia. As well as physical factors such as pain, quality of life can be quite an abstract idea that includes factors such as the cat’s enjoyment of life.
Considering the cat’s quality of life will help you to reach a decision about what is moral and humane.
iv. Trust your Instincts:
Trust your instincts is sage advice when it comes to euthanasia. You know your pet, and chances are if you think it is suffering, then IT IS.
No owner wants to say goodbye, but it comes down to putting the cat’s best interests first, and your reluctance to let go second. You may just know when it is time.
5. Financial Issues:
This is last thing you should be worrying about. But this definitely is the issue.
If you can carry your diseased cat around and can afford its illness, then it is fine, but if you cannot and the situation of your feline keeps on fading then do not delay and after taking a genuine perspective on the matter go for the euthanizing.
No doubt that you love your pet, and it is like a whole world for you but why to keep it in trouble for your pleasure. Maybe it is the time to say Goodbye, which maybe hard but is a cruel reality.
Scheduling a Euthanasia:
Before you schedule the appointment, decide if you would like the cat to be euthanized at home or the veterinary practice.
If you are taking the cat to the veterinarian, schedule a late day appointment when it will be quieter.
If possible, stay with your cat during the euthanasia for comfort. If you feel you cannot be there, or your distress will stress the cat out more, then do not be there.
Do not be afraid to cry in front of the veterinarian; they understand how difficult this is for you.
What happens when a cat is Euthanized?
The veterinarian administers an overdose of an anesthetic agent into the vein in the front leg which renders the cat unconscious within seconds. The only pain the cat experiences is when the needle is inserted.
What happens after Euthanasia?
It is up to you if you bury the cat at home or choose to have a cremation. The ashes will be returned to you if that is what you wish.
Feelings of guilt after Euthanizing your pet:
Aside from the sheer grief of losing a pet, many pet owners also deal with feelings of guilt that they should not have done that, or they have let their pets down.
These are all normal reactions, euthanizing a beloved pet goes against our very belief that we must do everything we can to help our pets.
But we must remember that deciding to euthanize a cat with a terminal disease with unbearable pain is the kindest thing we can do for our pets to relieve their suffering.
If grief or feelings of guilt are interfering with your day-to-day life, seek professional help. Your doctor can refer you to a grief counsellor.
Do not let people dismiss your feelings or tell you ‘it’s just a cat’. Losing a pet can be just as devastating as losing a human member of the family.
When it comes to cat lymphoma when to euthanize, there are out of our control; no matter how much we take care of our loved ones, what will happen, will happen.
A useful concept to keep at the back of your mind is “quality of life, not quantity of life.” If you decide to keep your cat alive, it is important to ensure that its life is worth living.
If it is in constant pain, it would be kinder to put it down, as its quality of life is non-existent.