In September 2009, I evaluated a 13-year-old cat for an abdominal mass. The cat was not eating, had lost weight and was very weak. The cat could barely pick up its head and was very dehydrated. A large, softball-size mass was palpable in the abdomen. A poor prognosis was given for the cat and various options were discussed including further work-up for the mass, surgery, euthanasia or palliative treatment.
In addition, the use of Chinese herbs was suggested as another alternative. Neither I nor the owner expected the cat to live very long, but we wanted to give the cat another chance.
Subcutaneous fluids were given for the dehydration, aqua- acupuncture was done and two Chinese herbs were prescribed to boost Qi and energy and to boost the immune system to fight the tumor. As the prognosis was so poor, only a two-week supply of herbs was given.
Two weeks later, the cat was brought in for a recheck. The cat was eating better, drinking water and acting normal. It was strong enough to go outside. A third Chinese herb was prescribed to resolve the stagnation and try to break down the tumor.
Even at this point, there was some doubt as to how long the cat would live. Imagine my surprise when after two months, the owner called for a refill on the herbs. The cat was doing much better. …