Cat (4 Years Old) - Lung Cancer or just an infection?

Bweiss5421March 4, 2013

Hi, my cat has been coughing (maybe once a day or less) for the past month or so, and has recently become inactive, and has lost weight along with a decreased appetite. She still eats but not that much. Since noticing this a few days ago I decided it was time to take her to the vet hoping for the best.

The vet gave her an xray, and drew some blood and found that she has elevated calcium levels as well as a mass in her lung and attributed it to lung cancer, but said there was a 25% chance that it was just a lung infection so they gave my cat antibiotics as well as steroids. This has me pretty worried as I really don't want to lose this cat, but there isn't much I can do if it is in fact cancer.

Does anyone know of any type of infection in the lungs that can present itself in such a way that it could appear to be cancer (i.e. mass in lungs, increased calcium, weight loss, etc.)? I am worried about my cat and don't know how much time she has left, and would also like to know, if it is in fact cancer, how long should I expect her to be around for?

Any information regarding what I could do to make my cat feel better would be greatly appreciated as well.

As a side note, I would also like to add that I occasionally give the cat milk to drink, but since she has had a decreased appetite she has had no inclination to drink the milk I give her, could the milk have caused the increased calcium?

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Calcium around a mass is the body's way of walling off something foreign it is fighting against. It's seen in both neoplasms and pockets of infection. No, it has nothing to do with you feeding her milk. The calcium is pulled out of the body's own store of it. My father was exposed to histoplasmosis when he was away at war in a tropical country and had lesions in his lungs from that organism and also showed calcium deposits on his lungs and it had nothing to do with 'germs' or cancer. Histo is a fungus. Without a biopsy, who knows what is causing the mass and calcification.

The cat's bloodwork should have shown some indicator if an infection was present. It's also important to note that cancer in a lung may not be a primary cancer, but a metastatic cancer where cells lodged in the lung. It's a common occurance when cancers are found elsewhere in the body, and should prompt a search to find other masses.

I'm sorry I can't tell you much more. You should ask these very questions of your vet. I know I had an older male cat who had cancer and his symptoms were held at bay for quite awhile with injections of steroids and B-12 and he had a good quality of life until other issues presented (unrelated to cancer) and I had to have him euthanised.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:39AM
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I think the chances this is a bacterial infection are small, but you can always hope. Most bacterial infections in the lungs would not present so chronically and cause slow weight loss. But some fungal infections (notably Cryptomycosis) can mimic cancer and show up as lung nodules (though more commonly as a severe nasal discharge and/or swelling inside the nose). A fungal titer (blood test) will quickly determine if this is the case... at least Crypto is a treatable disease, though still a bad one... but WAY better than cancer. Usually long term (months) antifungal treatments are necessary for curing these cats... at 4 years of age, cancer is pretty uncommon in cats, while Crypto is not (at least in outdoor cats).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 10:44PM
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There is nothing I can add to what the others have said, just to say that I hope you find the answer and send you a hug. It's really hard when our furbabies are not well. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:34PM
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