One of Dr. Matt's many cats has been sick recently. Demon is a 6 year old black kitty who had a bad infection as a kitten that left him with a damaged eye. Over the last few weeks he had been losing weight very quickly. After doing bloodwork, ultrasounds, x-ray and biopsies, he was diagnosed with renal lymphoma. This is an aggressive and fast growing cancer of the kidneys that often affects other organs as well. After some aggressive supportive care and a few days in the ICU at Dr Matt's second job, the decision was made to start chemotherapy and place a feeding tube.
These are both things that cat owners often think of as scary, inhumane, or excessive. Dr Matt wanted to share this story with you to show how this type of care can have very positive outcomes.
His chemotherapy treatment takes only a half an hour in the clinic and doesn't require an intravenous line. Demon was a gold star patient. After the first round of chemo Demon began to improve. We plan our chemotherapy treatments to avoid the severe nausea and hair loss people often get. Demon had very few side effects other than a mild fever and within 3 days he was more active, eating by himself much better, and starting to gain weight.
After the second round of treatment, Demon's weight was up from 3.0kg to 3.4kg and his kidney values had improved from renal stage 4 to stage 1.
Demon's feeding tube allows Dr Matt to give him extra nutrition, medications (much easier than pilling!) and fluids. Demon barely knows it is there, and it took less than 10 minutes to place.
Since placing the feeding tube and starting chemo, Demon has improved dramatically. He is running, playing, eating and drinking more than before, and it acting much more like a normal cat. He climbs his cat tree, looks out windows, and plays and cuddles with his friends.
Demon's condition is still very serious. With a full remission, he may live up to another year, though he may relapse sooner. He has two more rounds of chemo induction, then switches to monthly therapy. The care provided to him at the Cat Clinic has allowed him to enjoy life as a cat again.
Written by Dr.Matt Kornya