Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hamilton continues to do well on his new meds, and we're waiting to learn if he is healthy enough to go through the iodine injection procedure. Again, anyone with experience related to his condition (hyperthyroid) should feel free to add some comments!

It turns out we've got more cat health problems to deal with in the house -- how is it that you can go for years with no problems, and suddenly things seem to happen all at once? Cali, the cat on the right in the picture above, who is about 10, recently went through a variety of tests at an emergency animal hospital when she appreaed sick early one morning, hiding behind the couch (she left two days later with no real diagnosis and feeling fine, and has had no symptoms since). An x-ray of her lungs at that time revealed a mysterious white area that no one has been able to diagnose. An x-ray one week later at the same hospital revealed virtually no change (they thought it looked slightly smaller but weren't sure) and an x-ray about six weeks after that at our regular vet again revealed virtually no change (again, perhaps slightly smaller). At that point, we decided to wait six months to do another x-ray, and were somewhat reassured that it was not likely to be cancer (an esophogeal wash revealed no cancer cells...don't ask how much all this all cost!).

But recently, deciding to get one more opinion because Cali is so dear to us, we went to Angell Memorial, a top hospital in Boston. The vet there, who was wonderful, didn't see the x-rays, but just saw Cali and talked with us. She suggested that we bring her the x-rays so she and their board certified radiologist can take a look. If it is a primary lung cancer tumor, since Cali is asymptomatic, this vet felt it might be early enough to catch it and cure her if she undergoes surgery.

What a dilemma. The surgery is invasive and has its own risks, and is very expensive (but if it will save our cat, we'll pay it). It's a lot to put the cat through if it isn't cancer. Yet there is no way to KNOW if it's cancer without either doing the surgery or an almost equally invasive biopsy.

If we decide not to do the surgery, or if we wait to wait too long before the next x-rays (there is no way to know how long is too long), if it IS cancer we could be endangering her life.

Right now the plan is to get a third opinion on the x-rays next week at Angell Memorial, and then to do another x-ray in 1-2 months instead of 6 to see where we stand before making a decision.

Whew...any thoughts out there?


Karin said...

So sorry to hear about Cali's troubles. Those kinds of decisions are so hard, but it sounds like you're taking it step by step and weighing all the options. A third opinion is a great idea.

I've noticed, too, that our cats will go for a long time without health issues, then suddenly BAM! They're both sick with some mystery ailment. I hear it's the same with kids....

Best wishes to all of you, cats and humans alike.


FLR said...

Thanks, Karin! It's amazing how "when it rains, it pours." I'm picking up Cali's x-rays this week and taking them to Angell for that next opinion. We'll see what they say.