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Cat: Pumpkin
male, Maine Coon

Type of Lymphoma:
Small cell intestinal lymphoma

FeLV Status:

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Pumpkin's Case Study  

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Other Diseases/Conditions:
Heart murmur, IBD

Story: In June of 2009 at the age of 7, Pumpkin was diagnosed with GI Lymphoma of the small intestine. Pumpkin experienced vomiting with hairballs and diarrhea once a month throughout his entire life. Not ever owning a cat, I thought this was normal. In November of 2008, Pumpkin started vomiting more frequently, at times once per week. I had just adopted a kitten and did not notice that Pumpkin was not eating as much as before. He received an XRay in January and it appeared normal to the vet. Gradually he dropped from his previous 21 lbs. In June 2009, at 11lbs, a new vet finally found the thickening of his bowels on an xray. An ultrasound confirmed it. Following the ultrasound, an endoscopy was performed. The endoscopy gave the definitive diagnosis of GI Lymphoma. Additionally, a diagnosis of IBD was given. The assumption was that the potentially lifelong IBD lead to cancer of the bowel.

Pumpkin was started immediately on a feeding tube, as he was not eating. After one week, the tube was removed due to increased food intake and a developed abscess at the site of the tube placement. He was also started on Chemotherapy. 10mg Prednisone daily for 2 weeks, reducing to 4mg daily indefinitely. Additionally, he received alternating Vincristine and Cyclophosphamide for 4 weeks, reducing to Vinchristine every two weeks and then 4 weeks. Vinchristine was eliminated after 16 weeks. During week 5 of the protocol, Chlorabmucil was started. He received Chrlorambucil every 2 weeks.

Pumpkin responded better than anyone expected to the 16 week protocol. In September 2009, a repeat ultrasound was performed. At that time, thickening could no longer be detected. Thus, the vet diagnosed Pumpkin as in remission.

Throughout the entire protocol and following, Pumpkin experienced significant bouts of diarrhea. I tried all types of prescribed wet and dry foods and probiotics to no success. Against the recommendation of the vet, but after significant research of IBD on the internet, I changed Pumpkin to a grain free diet (Dick Van Patten's dry Duck and Wellness grain free wet food). The diarrhea cleared up immediately. He then started to regain his weight. Although the vet knows a lot, sometimes it is best to follow your heart when treating your pet!

Fortunately, Pumpkin maintained all his typical behaviors during treatment, cuddling, purring, loving me and no one else! That is how I knew I was making the right decision to treat his cancer. He had been my friend through good times and bad and I had to return the favor.

Outcome:March 2010 - Pumpkin continues Prednisone daily and Chlorambucil every 2 weeks. Additionally, he receives a bi-weekly B12 shot.

My local vet has been so compassionate and helpful throughout this process. Pumpkin would not be here without her.

BCP pharmacy has been a life-saver. They make any medication into treat form. Prior to finding them, pilling Pumpkin was torture. Being a Maine Coon he is very crafty. Just when I thought he had swallowed the pill, he would retrieve it from his cheek and spit it out. He also could just tell when it was pill time no matter how hard I tried to conceal my motives. Pumpkin begs for his "treat" now, he has no idea that the medicine is inside. Pure genius!

I was originally given a prognosis of 11 months. He is at 9 months out and doing well. I am hopeful that his progress will continue.

- By Carla Pumpkin's Mom -
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