Alex has had trouble keeping the food in for many years. Lots of vets have seen him and recommended this or that, but the only thing that's ever kept him from the daily barf is getting a steroid shot which would hold him for about a month.
We've been doing that for about a year or so, stretching out the time with a steroid-laced ear gel (easier than a pill), and recently switching him to some foods for sensitive tummies, but he's been replacing his bulimia with anorexia, not going off food completely but just eating very little. He's lost 4 pounds since February. (I have been trying like hell to lose 4 pounds with mixed success... but poor Alex, that was a third of his body weight) The poor little guy is down to 7 pounds and is a little bag of bones.
Yesterday we got him an ultrasound, and the findings are pretty serious. He has one of two things: irritable bowel syndrome, or intestinal cancer. There is only one way to diagnose it definitely and that is with explorative surgery. It's a tough procedure that would keep him recovering at the vet for a couple of days, then for a week or so at home (and I should stress that he is already a very sick boy). If it turned out to be cancer, they would treat it with various things, including maybe chemo, and the doctor said he could live maybe another 2 years that way and be probably not die from cancer. I should point out that Alex will be 15 in January... geriatric, and would be very lucky to live 2 more years anyway.
Some info on pet cancer recovery:
On average about 65 - 75 percent of cats and 80 - 90 percent of dogs with lymphoma will respond to chemotherapy drugs. About 20 percent of treated cats will still be alive one year after diagnosis and about 20 percent of dogs will be alive two years after the diagnosis of lymphoma. Dogs and cats with lymphoma that are not treated live an average of 4 to 8 weeks.We had some hard decisions to make, and have decided, at least for now, to treat his condition as if it's irritable bowel (the same steroids are given in either case), not put him through the surgery (the surgery was just for diagnosis, not treatment), and just try to keep food in him and meat on his old bones. I guess we will know soon enough, for better or worse. Sorry that this week is a downer, but our heads are spinning from this new dilemna. It's hard to process.
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