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Cat: Kimahri
male, American Short Hair mix/Snowshoe

Type of Lymphoma:
Lymphoblastic Lymphoma

FeLV Status:

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Kimahri's Case Study  

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Story: Shortly after his 4th birthday, Kimahri developed a bit of a cough and some sneezing fits. He had allergies before, so we didn't think much until we noticed a lump on his throat. We did a needle aspirate and the results were inconclusive and we were referred to an oncologist. After a surgical biopsy, it was determined that it was lymphoma. We tested for FeLV thinking that lymphoma in such a young cat was suspicious. It came back negative. After an ultrasound to see if there were additional tumors in the abdomen (there were none) we surgically removed the tumor and started chemotherapy (multi-drug) right away. We are waiting for margin analysis on the removed tumor to determine if we need radiation too. Right now, I keep having high hopes that since he is young, we caught it early, that we can get many years post-remission. There isn't much research or data about young cats with cancer. I hope that my suspicions of a less than 2yr life expectancy post-diagnosis is due to the fact that mostly older cats get cancer (or the cats were FeLV positive). He's such a pretty kitty, he's a complete rock-star at the referral center (super well behaved), and I want him to live to a ripe old age ...

Outcome: Updated 7/24/2009 - Radiation was finished and he was on his chemo until July 22, when we noticed he was having trouble breathing. Labored but not panting. At the emergency room, they took x-rays and there was something wrong with his lungs in multiple areas. Carcinoma, pnuemonia, lyphoma and "unknown fuzziness" were options and now we are waiting for some ultrasound/needle aspirate to see if some of the fluid in one of the reachable spots will reveal anything. He's been on oxygen for 24 hours now and the expenses are really adding up this time. I don't want to put him through another surgery (if carcinoma) in his weakened state. But not having surgery if it IS carcinoma means he won't last much longer ....

Outcome: Updated 6/2/2009 - His full diagnosis is lymphoblastic lymphoma, which is the aggressive, immature cell type of lymphoma. Due to luck and diligence, we caught it early since it was a very obvious lump on the neck. It hasn’t spread anywhere else (which is odd, given the aggressive nature of the cancer, so it’s not multi-centric). The surgical pathology results weren’t as clean as I had hoped; they removed as much as they could from the lymph node but had to leave some behind—so he is a candidate for radiation. We’re opting for the 3 sessions of higher radiation (instead of the more expensive and pro-longed 15 session) thinking that his relative good health should keep him strong throughout the process. The oncologist has suggested that this type of cancer, and early stage 1, requires a “find it, kill it” approach that will last as long as he keeps surviving and staying on the “winning” side. I’m starting to look into dietary supplements, holistic/Chinese medicines to help keep him strong, energized, hopefully reduce side effects and promote healing. I worry about overdosing the vitamins, minerals or calcium levels and of course if it tastes funny he’ll eat less which is not something I want him to do. 6/2/2009: Kitty had his vincristine today and is feeling a little nauseous. He’s been pickier and pickier about his food and the nausea isn’t helping. At least he’ll be happy to know that if all he wants to eat today is treats, he gets to eat as many as he can!

Outcome: 5/28: We're still waiting for margin analysis and complete pathology (big cell or small cell?) and the expenses are starting to pile up. While my husband and I can afford it, it really is expensive and I would encourage cat owners who don't have a cancer diagnosis to run out and buy insurance RIGHT NOW. I thought 4yrs old was too young to worry about cancer and expensive vet visits for an indoor cat .... [will add photos soon!].

- By Vivian Kimahri's Mom -
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