Even though I stopped posting on Pet Talk a few months ago, I feel responsible for giving you guys an update on what’s going on with Halo. Especially, since Bobcat and I made a point of encouraging everyone to get their pets microchipped.
Many long-time PT’ers may remember that we lost Kuhio after the shelter put her to sleep the day after we were there looking for her. Due to a “clerical error” they had no record of her being in the shelter and she was not in any of the rooms we were told to search. She was in the Clinic – 10 feet away from where we were standing. We had no idea the room existed – and we were not told to search for her there. The details of Kuhio’s story are here: http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthread.php?t=41856
And here: http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthread.php?t=85212
A month after losing Kuhio, Bobcat went to the same shelter and adopted Halo. She had a rough beginning as she had recently given birth and had an upper respiratory infection. After she was fit and well, we made sure she was microchipped to increase the chances that we would be reunited, should she ever be lost.
Since then, we’ve adopted Cammie, Pepper, Willow and Willy. All of them were chipped before we adopted them. They are all fine and healthy and have not had any medical problems.
But, after 8 years, sweet Halo has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Fibrosarcoma has developed at the microchip site. It completely encapsulated the chip. The tumor grew so large, so quickly…….. From what we’ve been told, fibrosarcoma is not the kind of cancer that gets into the bloodstream and gets into other organs. Tests and scans have revealed that all of Halo’s organs are healthy. But, fibrosarcoma grows “roots”. It is very difficult to get it all out because threads/roots may still exist at the microscopic level. For some reason, I keep picturing dandelions. Those roots are hard to kill!
Halo had surgery on May 17th. The tumor was huge. Halo had a pain patch and took antibiotics for 10 days. She recovered well and was back to her sweet, shy self. She was a frisky kitten again and chased her own tail and attacked my toes under the covers. I think she was doing everything possible to let us know that she felt good and she did not want to go back to the white coats again.
Surgery #1 – May 17th http://s15.photobucket.com/albums/a3...ent=May059.jpg
She continued to recover and felt well. But, when I returned home from work in Prudhoe on July 1st, I felt a lump about the size of a grape between her shoulder blades at the top of the healed incision. We took her to the vet (she was terrified and peed all over me). The vet felt the lump and was sure it was fluid filled. He drained it and sent it off to the lab for testing. We took Halo back to the vet a week later for the results. The lab found no sign of cancer. Instead it was an infection of some kind, perhaps from a suture that didn’t dissolve. The lump didn’t refill, but when the vet examined the area, he felt a harder lump underneath it. So, a second surgery was scheduled.
Surgery #2 – July 13th
Halo came home that same day but she is not recovering as quickly as she did the last time. Instead of giving her liquid antibiotics for 10 days, the vet gave her an injection. I’m wondering if that has something to do with it because she has always had a reaction to any kind of inoculation which is why we quit getting her vaccinated every year.
I had to come back to work on July 15th and I won’t see my baby for almost 3 weeks. Before I left, Halo would shy away from me when I tried to pet her. I know she was in pain, but she didn’t do that after the first operation – she couldn’t get enough lovins and scritches then. Part of me wonders if she’s trying to tell us she doesn’t want any more treatment. She is absolutely terrified of going to the vet. I think she feels stressed and betrayed that we keep trapping her and putting her in the port-o-prison.
The tests have come back on the second tumor and it was cancerous.
Bobcat is home and he says Halo is still shying away from him. She doesn’t want any attention. She eating and drinking well. She just wants to be left alone.
We take her back on August 10th for another checkup. Then back every 3 months unless we feel a lump before them. I asked about radiation and the vet does not recommend it. Does anyone have any experience with it?
We’re praying that the vet got it all this time, He says that as long as we keep catching the tumors while they are small, he can keep cutting them out. But, I’m struggling. At what point do continuous surgeries become torture? After the 3rd…4th….5th… ??
The vet feels that the microchip injection is what caused the fibrosarcoma. Cancer can be a rare side effect. Like I said, none of the other kitties have ever had a problem. But, we feel so responsible for spreading the word about chipping. We wanted to let you all know to be on the lookout for any lumps or tumors growing near the injection site.
We will keep you posted on Halo’s treatment. The vet has always called her his “Medical Mystery Kitty”. Some of you may remember that we nicknamed her “Baby Grand” because of the vet bills. After these 2 surgeries, her nickname may soon be “Million Dollar Baby”.
I’ve missed you all. I hope all your babies are happy and healthy.