Should I get a second opinion? |

Should I get a second opinion?

Dear Hopeful Henry,

About a year and seven months ago my cat was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw. He only eats baby food or pate cat food, but otherwise does not seem to be in any discomfort. He has lost quite a bit of weight, but as he was extremely overweight so could withstand the weight loss. I am wondering if he was misdiagnosed. Should I get a second opinion and, at 15 years old, would he be able to withstand any anesthesia?

Thank you,


Dear Concerned

Sorry to here about your kitty’s diagnosis.

Yes, get a second opinion. The bottom line is if you or a human family member were to get the same diagnosis I’m sure you would like a second opinion. Getting one does not mean you do not trust or believe your veterinarian, it simply means you want to be sure of an accurate diagnosis so you can choose the appropriate treatment. When it comes to certain illnesses, such as cancer the Lake Tahoe Humane Society recommends second opinions and very often will send people who come in to get emergency vet care vouchers to get another opinion from another vet. They even have a couple vets “off the mountain” they use occasionally for this service that specialize in cancer or other hard to treat illnesses. Any vet should understand you wanting to do this, so don’t be afraid to discuss this with your veterinarian, if they do get upset then frankly I would find another vet. You will also need to get copies of your kitty’s medical records or have your current vet fax them to the vet you are going to get the second opinion from so they have an idea of what has been already diagnosed, tests that have been done or treatment that is in progress.

In regard to your kitty’s weight loss, he is probably losing weight because he is now on a more balanced regulated diet which is a good thing. However keep an eye out on the weight loss, if it is rapid and extreme then it could be caused by his medical condition. Regarding your senior kitty being able to withstand anesthesia, that is something for you to discuss with your veterinarian, it totally depends on the cat’s general health (other than the cancer). I have had it go both ways, I have a15-year-old cat who had major surgery and while the recovery time was longer ecause of his age, he is so much better off now and doing great. While on the other hand I have a 16-year-old cat who would likely not be able to recover from a surgery and it would actually set him back more than help, so in that case we are just making him conformable and letting him live out his life. The reality is you will feel better if you get a second opinion and you will at least know you have done all you can do for your furry family member.

Best of luck and if you need a veterinarian referral give the Lake Tahoe Humane Society a call they have a lot of resources to help including places you can apply for grants to help with the cost of cancer treatment.

Hopeful Henry

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