Hi, thought I would post this although I alluded to it recently in another community, because it looks like a story not yet done.
Our cat Sterling is formerly feral, beautiful (a silver tabby with a huge head) and a good outdoor cat. He strayed in (I think from a neighbor's farm where cats were so neglected that they often died, to the disinterest of the neighbor) and was literally so wild that I had to catch him in a trout net, and put him into an outdoor enclosure where he spent several days bouncing off the walls in panic before he calmed down.
We didn't encourage him to stay, but we did feed him and give him his shots (the vet's mock-complaining comment was "Why don't *ugly* cats ever stray in at your house?") He has been with us for about 11 years. Lately he has been on an anti-inflammatory medication for arthritis.
Recently Sterling came in with a bloody mouth, and drooling. We took him to our vet, whose associate said it looked pretty clear it was oral cancer and that there was little to be done. We put him on antibiotics and kept him on his anti-inflammatories, and took him home.
I spoke with the main vet the next day about a biopsy, and he said "Well, those big, oral lesions are almost never anything else, and we try so hard to save money for people that we don't usually tell them they need to do a biopsy for an added $250 if we think there is nothing else it could be." I told him I really wanted one, even if we just found out it was a different kind of cancer. So, we did.
From what I wrote the other day: "Cat with cancer wobbled outside this morning and spent the day deep under the porch. I am only just now suspecting that his anti-inflammatory medication has given him extremely uncomfortable constipation (a couple of days, they were the hardest poops I've ever scooped out of a catbox, like sticks). He doesn't know if he should pound rocks or go lie in creek. Poor guy looks like c rap, he can't lick himself any more, and he's too strong still (cancer or no) for me to give a bath. (He is likely to bite me if he gets tired of fighting me.) So I washed him with a warm, wet towel, and he rubbed his poor, nasty swollen jawbone along it and purred, and now he is sleeping curled on a cushion on the back porch. Not a cat to send up the Rainbow Bridge one day earlier than required."
OK, so, to the news this morning; Sterling's biopsy does *not* have any evidence of cancer in the tissue they sent in. Since the main vet did it, I doubt he missed anything. When he called me with this good news, he said there might still be a tumor deep in the jaw, but I'm wondering if he was just feeling a little embarrassed. (After all, if I had believed him and his associate, I would have put the cat to sleep.) The lab thinks it might be a deeply abscessed tooth. This would be GREAT news, since that can be fixed, and we would already have done some good with the antibiotics. (I gave up on the anti-inflammatories when I began to suspect they were causing the constipation.)
Sterls will be off to the vet tomorrow morning to be sure the anti-inflammatory he has been on is out of his system, to get blood drawn for a liver test, and if his liver is strong enough he'll get a steroid shot. Then he'll have his tooth removed and they will see what they can do about the abscess. I'm feeling a lot more hopeful.
Moral of the story, I guess -- always ask what else can be done or checked, don't skip tests or biopsies no matter how sure the vets are. Sometimes ... sometimes things turn out better than you think they might.