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Hi,
My vet thinks my 14.5 yr cat has chronic leukemia -- not the FELV type -- but 'true' leukemia. I can't find any info on it online, everything I see is about FELV. Do these 2 types act the same?

He has a tumor on one his lower mammary glands, which is how this was discovered. We were set to do surgery but first they did a blood test and discovered high white blood cell count (40k or so). Antibiotics didn't bring the level down. So a blood sample was sent to a pathologist who says it is consistent with chronic leukemia.

They wanted me to do a bone marrow test to finalize the diagnosis, but that's a $600-800 cost. The surgery we were going to do was around $500. Right now I'm holding off, mainly because my vet talked to a vet oncologist who said many times chronic leukemia is treatable using predisone. I suggested we put my cat on predisone and see what happens.

All this has taken 4 weeks to transpire. Meanwhile, I've noticed the tumor is getting larger.

The vet doesn't think the tumor is related to the leukemia. But I can't help but wonder. Can anyone provide additional info or input?

Thanks,
SuzanneA
 

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Hi Suzanne, sorry to hear about your kitty! True leukemia is pretty unusual in cats. I've only seen it once. You might want to search on leukemia in dogs, which will get you better info. There are several kinds of leukemia, but this is probably chronic lymphocytic leukemia; the pathologist probably gave a more specific diagnosis to the vet, so you could find that out.

I only recommend tests when the result could change the treatment plan. In this case, it doesn't sound like it would, so why put the cat through a painful procedure? BTW, prednisone (actually, prednisolone is the preferred form in cats) will certainly knock down the white count but will not affect the tumor much if at all.

It is unlikely that the tumor is related; leukemia does not produce tumors (although FeLV can). Male cats can get breast cancer (the most probable given the location), and breast cancer in cats is very malignant. It usually has spread by the time it's noticed. Radical surgery is called for--extremely painful--and the prognosis is not good even so.

Conventional medicine does not have a lot to offer these guys; if you are interested in treating holistically, I can refer you to a fabulous homeopath who has had good results treating cancer. There are also herbal treatments such as Hoxsey and Essiac that *claim* a high success rate but have never been scientifically substantiated. (the Hoxsey treatment was never even investigated by the FDA although they sure had plenty to say about it, none of it good!) :?

Cancer loves carbohydrates, so putting him on a very low carb diet would be prudent. Canned kitten food or a homemade grainless diet are good choices.

Best wishes,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dr. Jean,
Thanks so much for replying -- although your news is not good, I've gotten more information from you than I have from my own vet! But it does seem like the poor guy has been dealt a double whammy.

The tumor my cat has is own one of his lower mammary glands. I had read that breast cancer usually attacks the upper glands, so I was, and still am, hoping that it was not breast cancer. But I know cancer does not always do 'what it's supposed to.' I know from personal experience as I'm battling a rare cancer myself.

At this point he's still acting ok, but the tumor has grown since I first discovered it. That has me really concerned.

I have heard of Essiac because of research I've done for myself. I have not heard of Hoxsey, but will look into it. I've been debating about trying Essiac myself but there are so many different forms out there it's hard to make a choice (like does it have to be freshly made?).

My cat also has a history of UTI and has been on prescription food for over 5 years (CD Science Diet). Would canned kitten food or a homemade grainless diet be ok for him?

Again, thanks ever so much for your input, I am more than appreciative!

Suzanne
 

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Your cat is well past the age of UTIs. c/d should not be fed indefinitely. Any high protein, wet food is fine for cats with bladder problems and in fact is recommended now by most of the experts.

In my experience with feline breast cancer, the majority have been in one of the lower glands. That it is growing noticeably fast is a worry, although they do tend to be fairly aggressive.

You know, Suzanne, I almost put in my first message something about taking extra special care of yourself, since cats frequently mirror their guardians. I was worried about cancer for you...evidently a justified concern! Hope you are doing well!

I recommend this distributor for both a Hoxsey formula (called Wayne's Tonic) and Essiac: www.ojibwatea.com . The "Tea Lady" is an old client, and subsequently good friend. I have used her formulations extensively, even on myself and my own pets. I know how she prepares them, and I trust her completely.

With conventional medicine only, I'm afraid your kitty has a fairly poor prognosis, 6 months perhaps. But, I have seen breast cancer completely disappear with homeopathy. I am not quite as concerned about the leukemia because that *can* be controlled with drugs, but breast cancer is really vicious.

I hope both you and your cat beat the odds!! I know it can be done!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Dr. Jean:
What about the new diet m/d--working for my diabetic cat and since it is extremely low carbs wondering if this might help this baby at least for a while. Haven't heard anything about this type of reseach for Leukemia. Cynthia
 

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The dry m/d is still double the carbs (q5%) of canned m/d (8%) and quite a bit higher than most canned foods (10% or less).

Cancers of many types thrive on carbs, so the more carbs you can eliminate, the better. Dry diets just don't cut it for that, even the "low carb" types.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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