by helen formby
Came back off holiday & Raj seemed to have lost a little weight & was not eating much & demanding just roast chicken & treats. I didn't think much of it as he can go off his food & I though he had stressed as I had been away. Noticed he had vomited a few times over the past couple of weeks, just put it down to fur balls as he was moulting.
Got home from work & my partner said Raj has not eaten all day & he seemed weak & fatigued. I went out to but treat sticks & his favourite fresh chicken, which I hand fed to him. He drank a lot of water which I never see him do. I booked him in to the vets for fist thing next day. They kept him in for tests & on a drip as he was dehydrated. At first they thought he had acute kidney failure as the blood test came back high Urea & Cretin in blood, but they were puzzled as it was not very high for a cat now very weak & poorly. He had low blood pressure & low heartbeat (only 60bpm & normal is about 120bpm).
He came home for the night but I couldn't get him to eat anything. His respiration rate was very fast, he did not seem comfortable & crouched with his head & neck forwards. He seemed a little better in the morning, brighter & purred when I stroked him. Respiration rate had gone down.
Took Raj back to the vets for more tests. They expected the Urea & Cretin levels to have gone up to show acute kidney failure but they hadn't. Vet then thought heart failure but they had to wait 24hrs for the ECG battery to charge up before testing. Later on in the morning Raj took a turn for the worst. Became much weaker, crouched with his head down in the litter tray. The vet decided to do a chest X Ray but without an anesthetic so the picture wasn't totally clear, but a huge mass could be seen in the chest cavity. Raj had only 1/3 lung capacity and the tumor was pressing on his heart & also on his Thymus & Osophagus.
The vet diagnosed Lymphoma & said it was a hopeless case. I called around at the vets to say my goodbyes to Raj & decided to have him put to sleep as I didn't want him to suffer anymore.
From being what seemed a very healthy, energetic, athletic cat a few days before I was really shocked with the fast decline of Raj.
I didn't know that Lymphoma could be treated if not cured, until reading up on the disease. Also, I have read that Thymoma shows up the same on X Ray as a big mass in the chest cavity & that you can not tell the difference between that & a Lymphoma without a biopsy. Although Thymomas are rare 50% of them are benign and the other 50% of tumors respond well to therapy.
I hope I did the right thing having Raj put to sleep. I didn't have much information to go on in hindsight but I think I may have had further tests done knowing what I know now.
I'm heartbroken, I miss him so much.
[ click photos to enlarge ]