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"Smudge" - Cat with liver tumour
Photo of Smudge
Smudge
"Smudge" Guest at 15 years of age came to see me for her routine annual health check. Her owners were not aware of any problems and assumed that she would pass her "MOT" as usual. It quickly became apparent that not all was well as a very large mass was palpable in her abdomen.

Additionally, she also had unexplained weight loss. The likely diagnoses in these situations are not usually very good. However it was agreed with her owners that since "Smudge" was so alert that assuming her blood tests were normal we would perform an exploratory procedure to establish the nature of this mass.

Fortunately, "Smudge's" blood results demonstrated that despite her age everything was in working order.

At the time of surgery I was astonished to find that the lump I had been palpating was in fact a liver tumour. This tumour was suitable for surgery and so a large part of "Smudge's" liver was removed together with the offending mass.

It has been shown in humans that approximately 7/8 of the liver can be removed and the liver organ will completely regenerate to it's original size. A fact which prompted a friend to comment "If God hadn't intended us to drink alcohol he wouldn't have given us such a remarkable liver!"

Subsequent biopsy results of the tumour demonstrated that this was a liver cell adenoma a rare but benign growth. We had achieved healthy margins at the time of surgery and so hopefully have achieved a cure.

Interestingly, this kind of tumour became more prevalent in women during the "swinging sixties" (before my time alas!) but has subsequently become less common. Perhaps "Smudge" isn't telling us the whole story about her past! Fortunately, for her at least her future looks promising having put on a remarkable amount of weight in only 2 weeks since the operation. One of the few occasions when I can congratulate owners on their pet's weight gain!

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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