Kittie Woes (part 2)

About a week ago I posted about Vlad and his sinus problems. He was initially diagnosed with a possible sinus infection and confirmed hyperthyroidism(which while quite common in older cats, is easily treatable), and came home with us that night. You can read the details here. The new antibiotics looked to be working.

On Tuesday, things took a turn for the worse. Shannon hadn’t been able to find him in the morning to give him his medicine. When I came home Shannon pretty much said: “He’s been hiding in the crawlspace under the stairs, and he smells like he’s covered in urine. Should we take him back to the vet?” My conclusion was yes. She had apparently also come to that conclusion. With it being inauguration day, Sammy was off that day, and he confirmed that Vlad had not left the crawlspace that day. He never hangs out there. He went there to die. I took a look at him, and his face looked like it had been hit with a baseball bat. This pretty much happened overnight. He was recovering, and then got a whole lot worse.

Easy decision. He’s going to the clinic. So we’re told that based on what this looks like now vs a week ago, it may be cancer. The only way to tell is to give him a CT scan(which is risky for a cat his age, since he needs to be anesthetized, and that could possibly kill him) . These were my choices:

  1. Do nothing, in which the vet’s recommendation was euthinazation. (definite death)
  2. Get a CT scan(which could risk the cat’s life) (possible death)

Once again, the choice was easy. In one case, the cat dies. In the other, he possibly dies. Sure, the CT scan cost $1500, but this is my buddy, and there’s no way in hell I’m putting him to sleep without knowing for sure what’s going on.I was warned by the doctor to seriously consider whether doing the CT scan would be worth it, since it most likely was cancer and not treatable. But I had to know.

This all happened yesterday. First of all, I was worried if he’d make it through the anesthesia, but since the other option was death it was a risk I was willing to take. It was supposed to happen at 3 pm. But Murphy’s Law always strikes. Just before it was his turn, the CT scanner broke(apparently a computer issue). So, he would have to spend another night in ICU.

We went to visit him last night, and he was looking all sorts of better. He was alive, active, and his face was alot less swollen. I was thinking the IV antibiotics were working.

This morning I finally got the call. The CT scan in done. He tolerated the anesthesia fine. But the verdict was cancer 😦 He only has a few days left. We don’t know how many, but most likely less than two weeks. It’s an aggressive tumor. Not really treatable due to its size and position. It has taken out a lot of the bone in his nose and eye socket.

He came home with us this afternoon. Now it’s just an issue of managing pain, and making him as comfortable as he can be. I would prefer for him to die comfortably at home, but if it looks like he’s starting to suffer(he hasn’t yet) we may have to make that difficult decision.

Even though it cost a shitload to get the CT scan done, do I regret it? Not one bit! At least now, I can make a decision based on what I know versus what’s suspected. I can honestly say to myself we did everything within reason we could to save the kittie. I can be at peace with his upcoming death. He lived a happy life. He’s 16 years old. It’s just his time. Not that that makes it any easier:(

But the CT scans are pretty cool.

The first one just shows the slices:

The second shows a 3d view of his head:

The third one shows some more bone structure(which shows the damage of the tumor in his skull bones):


~ by chriggy on January 23, 2009.

7 Responses to “Kittie Woes (part 2)”

  1. Poor Vlad! He has had a long and happy life, and he will definitely be misssed!

  2. I’m very sorry to hear this. 16 years is a very long life for a cat, but I know that just makes it all the more difficult.

  3. Rio and her humans cry..

  4. Just a quick note to express my condolences. I do think you made all the right decisions. Please keep us posted.

  5. Thanks, TGAW

    For now, he’s doing pretty good. Actually, pretty great 🙂

    He’s home, he’s happy, and if you didn’t know something was wrong, there’s no way to tell. He’s been wagging his tail, and due to the steroids he’s been getting, eating up a storm. So far, he’s showing no signs of pain or discomfort, and after the steroids took care of all the inflammation around the tumor, I haven’t seen much visible growth(and his sinus problems have cleared up). They gave him a few days. Right now, it looks like he’ll hopefully(and quite likely) still be around by next weekend. Maybe longer. Maybe not, as things could go downhill real quick. The important thing is he’s happy and comfortable(for now), and we get to spend a little extra time with him.

    He was even chasing a laser pointer today 🙂 A week ago, when we took him in, I doubted if he’d make it through the night.

    I’ll keep you posted.

  6. […] Cat Scans of a Cat (ht chriggy) […]

  7. […] about about Vladimir’s(my cat) health problems. You can read part one here and part two here. The diagnosis was terminal cancer of the sinus. Prognosis: a few days. It’s been over a […]

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