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Cocco’s life threatening lump

Cocco is a 12 year old male neutered cat. In the last few months he lost almost 1kg in weight. This coincided with having a large mass growing in his neck right over his carotid artery and jugular vein. Cocco’s breathing was starting to be affected, causing an obstructive noise and he was having difficulty eating.

Losing 1kg as a cat is like a human losing 20kg. Cocco was in trouble.

The first thing Dr Jill did was take sample of the lump. It seemed to be mainly liquid with few cells present and no evidence of cancer. Cocco then had a full blood profile which returned surprisingly normal for such an unwell cat. After lengthy discussions with Cocco’s owner, it was decided that Dr Jill would attempt to remove the mass.

Cocco was anaesthetized and straight away we could see why he was having problems breathing and swallowing. The mass had pushed his airway and oesophagus a long way across to the right. Once Cocco had a tube controlling his breathing and was fully anaesthetized 200ml of fluid was drained from the mass.

Cocco then went into surgery. An incision was made parallel to his jugular, then through a deep muscle layer to reveal a large sac like mass. This was a sialocele or salivary mass. The mass was very carefully dissected as the carotid artery was closely adhered to the mass. Damaging the carotid artery would not be good.

After careful dissection the mass was removed close to his salivary glands. The wound was closed with considerably less swelling.

Cocco recovered quietly, positioned to assist his breathing, though on recovery his breathing was better than when he had arrived.

Just one week later, Cocco is eating ravenously, breathing well and has put on 200g. (This is like people gaining 4-5kg). It is possible but less likely that the mass may return with time. For now Cocco is happy and hungery and on the improve.

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