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Cat: Betty
female, DSH

Type of Lymphoma:
Renal [I'm not sure--they believe it started in the kidneys]

FeLV Status:

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Betty's Case Study  

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Other Diseases/Conditions:
none known

Story: Betty was already a young adult when we rescued her from outside a local hospital. She was very friendly and had apparently been someone's pet at one time. She was young and appeared to have never had a litter of kittens. We had her combo tested, gave her vaccinations and had her spayed. She was kept indoors only. We have our garage converted to a kitty kottage because we do a lot of cat rescue. All of our cats are isolated for at least two weeks and also combo tested before they join the general population. The size and make-up of the population changes due to adoptions and more rescues. Some cats are adopted quickly (especially the kittens) and others have been with us for much longer periods. They stay with us until we find the right home for them or forever (whichever comes first). Betty had been with us about a year and a half and had never been ill nor exhibited any symptoms of disease that we recognized.

About 13 days before her diagnosis, my husband thought she was acting like she might not feel well. We watched her for a while and then she ran off playing with one of the other cats and we decided that she was just resting and perhaps had been playing extra hard earlier. (This was on a Saturday afternoon) Monday afternoon, my husband was feeding the cats and Betty again was looking a bit under the weather and her eyes were red and a bit weepy. We brought her in to watch her. She was not eating and I spent Tuesday force feeding her (one of the cats had some kind of virus a couple of months ago and didn't eat well for a few days, I syringe fed him for about a day and a half. Then, he started eating and was back to his usual routine in a few more days). I figured that Betty had a virus.

However, Tuesday afternoon I went ahead and called my vet and made an appointment for the next morning. When I took her in, the vet ran some blood work on her and found that she was in renal failure (BUN was 177; Phos was up and Creatinine was 10.8). They started IV fluids on her but by the next Monday she was not any better. I took her to a vet with a wider range of equipment with which to diagnose. His ultrasound showed her kidneys to be enlarged. He kept her at his clinic and continued IVs and antibiotics. I visited her each day. Even though she seemed to feel a little better on Wednesday (turning from one side to the other so I could pet both sides and even raising her little legs so I could rub her belly), the vet told me that he was afraid that the problem was either FIP or lymphoma. He did a liver biopsy on Wednesday and a kidney biopsy on Thursday. They not only confirmed the diagnosis, but revealed that the lymphoma had progressed beyond a treatable stage. (Her kidney biopsy showed that the majority of her kidney had been replace with tumor). Betty was very weak and seemed achy by this time and the vet told me that it would be best to euthanize her. Betty had always loved sitting and looking out the window. It was a sunny day and we were able to sit in front of a large window. Betty raised her head up and watched for some time while I sat with her and spoke to her and petted her. Then she laid her little head back down on her paws as if she were telling me it was time. I have never had to make a harder decision in my life, but I know that it was best for Betty. She was a beautiful cat (inside and out) and I can't tell you how much I miss her. I am still just in shock because it happened so quickly it seems. I keep looking back and trying to think of some little sign that I might have missed. I keep watching every little move of the other cats scared that I might be missing something with them. Betty was only about 3 years old, we believe. She was not FIV nor FeLV positive. So, I don't know what caused her to develop lymphoma. I don't know of anything in her environment that could have caused it and yet, there is the fear that it was something that I don't know of and one of the other cats will become ill as well. I know that nothing I learn can bring Betty back, but if I could just understand how and why she got this at such a young age, then perhaps (if it is something in the environment) I can prevent any others from developing it. So, I am just trying to learn all I can about the causes of this disease.


Outcome: Betty had to be euthanized on Feb. 26, 2010 at 2:40PM.

- By Lesa Betty's Mom -
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