Yesterday, I cleaned the teeth of one of my favorite patients. Miss Kitty came in for a routine physical exam a few years ago and her owners were expecting a clean bill of health. Instead I found a mass in her abdomen. We noted she had lost some weight over the past year and the owners agreed she was slowing down a bit for a 6-year-old cat. I was pretty sure we had a type of intestinal cancer called adenocarcinoma. X-rays and an ultrasound confirmed there was a mass in the intestine. Luckily, the owners allowed me to aspirate the mass to get a more definitive diagnosis. The pathologist could not find any cancer cells – just a lot of inflammation. I warned the owners that this did not rule out cancer, but it made me hopeful. We went to surgery and removed the mass. Histopathology revealed that a small foreign object had penetrated the wall of the intestine and formed a walled off abscess. Miss Kitty was fully cured!

I can put together a pretty good guess as to what is wrong with a pet just by listening to owners talk and doing a good exam, but it is truly only a guess until we have complete diagnostics. At Animal Care Clinic we find that good communication with owners is the key to success. If you have a frustrating case, give us a call.

by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP