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4/8/10

Herman Must Die

If you have been into the office during the past week, you've seen Leon walking around with a clipped spot over his left shoulder.

Leon, back in 2007. 

That's where his little buddy Herman lives.

Leon is my oldest hospital cat.  He's somewhere around 16 now, we guesstimate.  We aren't sure.  He was brought in to be euthanized way, way, WAY back in 95.  So we think he probably was born in 1994.  16 for a cat is about the human equivalent of 80, for a pet his size, if you are wondering. So he's no spring chicken. 

And I am always sort of watching for him to be doing like most old cats-  weight loss, drinking lots of water, urinating too much-  all the signs of old cat problems-  kidney failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism.  There has been a few times that he didn't want to eat his food, which is highly unusual for him.  But he got over that.

It was probably 2 weeks ago I was petting him and felt something that shouldn't be there. Located under the skin and over his left shoulder blade.  Maybe a little larger than a golf ball, sort of oblong.  It's under the skin but I can pick it up. At this point I don't think it's attached to muscle.  It's close though.  It isn't raised much so it's sort of tough to see in the photo, but you can definitely feel it.





And since Leon is forced to live with a bunch of women- Priscilla, Maybelline, and Sunshine-  he chose to name his little friend Herman.  A little male bonding, you know how it is.

So, what to do, what to do about Herman?
For a 16 year old cat, do you do nothing? Watch for signs of pain, and eventually put him to sleep?
It probably depends on where Herman is,  what Herman is attached to, and how large Herman is.

Some places, some attachment, or with lymph node involvement, removing it isn't possible.
Some tumors are so large that trying to close the wound is a problem.
Then there's the whole issue of a 16 year old cat under anesthesia.

So, I've decided since Leon is fairly healthy otherwise for 16, and since Herman is hopefully not attached to much, to try and laser him off tomorrow at my Cousin's hospital with his fancy "big city" laser.   Herman might be malignant, with a high recurrence rate, something like fibrosarcoma.
Leon might have complications from anesthesia- and it that's the case, then I'll deal with that at the time.   Passing away under anesthesia, doesn't seem much different than being euthanized really.

I am gonna try and minimize the risks by giving him a low dose injectable anesthetic,  top it off with an inhalant anesthetic that doesn't have to be metabolized (it's just breathe in, and breathe out), and maybe use local anesthetic as well.

What's nice about the laser, is that it zaps tissue as it cuts.  No bleeding, no lymphatic drainage that might reseed  tumor cells, and zaps the nerve ending so less pain upon waking up.  

Hopefully, Leon will still be here this time tomorrow.  Without Herman.

If so,  he'll show you his scar and you can tell him how cool it looks.  He'll like that.

2 comments:

kfpoart said...

Oh Andy!! My prayers will be with you and Leon tomorrow...I hope you can take care of Herman and make him go away...

V Bridges Hoyt said...

Good luck with Leon, Andy. I'm glad you mentioned the signs of kidney failure as being drinking lots of water and urinating too much. I didn't know that. I have a 11-12 yr. old cat here (the one that bites me) and he is drinking lots and lots of water and urinates way too much IMO. I guess I better take him in to be checked. I hope you can zap Herman off and give Leon a few more good years.

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