Callie is a 13 year old female domestic shorthair cat who was presented to us in Aprilfor vaccines and a senior wellness blood screen. At this time Callie had some weight loss, but otherwise was looking healthy. When results returned from the senior wellness blood work, we discovered that her liver values were elevated.
The liver is an important organ in the body, contributing to the detoxification of metabolites, protein synthesis, and the production of bile, which is necessary for digestion. Because of the varying functions, we were unsure as to what exactly caused the increase in her liver values. We prescribed Clavamox, an antibiotic, to treat for a possible bacterial infection. This antibiotic was also used to help rule out Cholangiohepatitis, a common condition of liver disease that causes inflammation of the liver and bile duct. When we ran a follow-up blood panel, however, it showed little improvement in her liver values.
We continued to pursue a diagnosis with additional testing, as well as a liver supplement. Abdominal X-rays were taken to check for size or mass abnormalities, and a liver function test was performed. When both tests came back normal, Callie was referred to the University of Missouri Veterinary Hospital for an ultrasound. The purpose of the ultrasound was to provide a different method and image of any abnormalities in the size or shape of the liver, but all findings were, again, normal. Throughout this process, liver values were continuously checked, to no avail, and Callie continued to lose weight.
Since the origin for Callie’s elevated liver values was still a mystery, a different antibiotic was prescribed in hopes of a more effective response than with the Clavamox. Minimal improvements were observed with this antibiotic, however, and so a biopsy was suggested to determine a definite diagnosis.
Dr. Forbes performed biopsies of both the liver and intestines, and the samples were sent to multiple labs across the country. The examination of the biopsied tissues reported back with findings consistent with small cell malignant hepatic LSA, or lymphosarcoma. Also known as lymphoma, lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels, organs, ducts and nodes found throughout the body. This system’s job is to transport lymph and help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. Callie presented an interesting case of lymphoma, as it usually occurs first in the small intestines. However, the malignant cells were only found in her liver.
We are thankful that Callie’s owner decided to do a senior wellness blood screen, as that is what helped us distinguish a problem in the first place! She has begun chemotherapy to destroy the cancerous cells.
Written by Maggie