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The first 8 years of Kitten's life were uneventful, but he sure made up for it in his ninth year!
 

Kitten's problems began one morning when he started dragging one of his hind legs. On examination, we found no pulse for that leg, and the toes felt cold and he had lost considerable weight (despite an increased appetite until that morning); when we listened with a stethoscope, his heart sounded louder and faster. One of his thyroid glands (found at the front of the neck) also felt like a large marble. We were certain he had a clot blocking blood flow to that hind leg. Blood clots like this normally happen as a consequence of serious heart disease.

 


Many cats with blood clots blocking arteries do not improve and, if they do, are can have repeat episodes unless we can get their heart problem better. A blood test was done, confirming our suspicions of hyperthyroidism as the value was over 400, and the normal only went to 48! This was supported by an ultrasound (echocardiogram) of his heart, which showed an enlarged heart with an obvious clot. He was started on several medications to manage the underlying problems while we waited for the clot to disperse; he was only intensive care for a short time. Regular rechecks, over the span of a month which also included follow up echocardiograms and blood tests, were done to monitor his progress.

Surgery was performed a month from the start of his problems, once he was stable, to remove the abnormal thyroid. Subsequent testing found this to be a malignant tumour, which, luckily for Kitten, did not appear to have spread into surrounding areas. Two weeks later, he underwent another operation to remove a small growth under a toe nail. Fearing the worst, we were delighted to find out that it was a lump that occurred as the result of an infection, possibly associated with poor blood supply to this area from the clot; it healed with antibiotics. Three months later, during a routine recheck, Kitten was found to have enlarged lymph nodes, and this set off alarm bells, as it was likely that either the lymph nodes were reacting to inflammation, or that it was cancerous. Once again, he had surgery to remove one of the lymph nodes, and it came back as a cancerous growth. Kitten had chemotherapy which has put the cancer into remission. With everything that he has had to go through, Kitten has been the most amazing patient and his owner has provided nothing but the best tender loving care. While this has been a big year for Kitten, we are optimistic that there are bigger and better things around the corner for him!

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