Written by: Judy Karnia, DVM
Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had just completed four years of medical school and was a runner and pretty in tune with my body. And yet, I had no idea I had any medical problems. I had no symptoms, no discomfort, no change in my weight. On a routine annual medical check-up, my very astute doctor felt a lump in my neck and referred me to a specialist. A needle aspirate was not diagnostic. During surgery, the doctors did a quick cytology of the removed lump and did not see cancer. It was only when the pathologist examined the tissue was it diagnosed that I had thyroid adenocarcinoma.
Sounds scary, doesn’t it? It was scary at first. However, I recovered from the surgery easily and had one day of radiation treatment in the hospital. Except for having to take a thyroid supplement for the rest of my life, the treatment was easy and there is a very good chance the cancer will never return.
This all went so easily because I went to my yearly physical exams and my doctor found this early. I hear so many times that people don’t take their cats to a veterinarian regularly because their cat is “healthy”. I was healthy, medically trained, and a human who can think about possible medical problems. And yet I had cancer and didn’t know it.
Every day, veterinarians see patients who have medical problems that have been going on for a long time without their owners knowing there is anything wrong. These pets may have been suffering from pain or discomfort without any way to tell us about it. Veterinarians are trained to find hidden problems. Let them help your cat.