WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC SURGICAL IMAGES.
When it comes to luck, Cassius should seriously go and buy himself a lottery ticket as he is truly out of luck. At the age of 4 months Cassius developed meningitis. As it turns out we think that Cassius developed a Staphylococcal Meningitis from teething. We referred Cassius for a spinal tap and MRI to North Shore Veterinary Hospital under the care of Specialist Internal Medicine Doctor, Richard Churcher. After about 4 weeks Cassius was able to walk and even chase a ball and over the last 18 months has increased his strength to almost normal – 95%.
That was until he developed Lymphoma – a cancer in his intestines! Cassius was not so great. He presented with a small amount of vomiting and diarrhoea and a little low in energy. He was just off. He did not respond completely to some medications prescribed so we decided to ultrasound his belly. We noted that he had what is called an intussusception of his ileum and colon. The picture below shows Tammy and I doing surgery. The photos at the bottom of this page are only for those interested in the surgery and may offend some viewers.
The first photo demonstrates that one piece of intestine had in essence telescoped in on another causing a blockage. During surgery we were able to reduce the telescoped intestine but noted that it was a very strange shape. I was hoping that it was an abscess or a foreign body but in the back of my mind I had Cassius’ dad saying we don’t believe in luck anymore. We decided to remove the piece of intestine by what is called an end to end anatomises. The affected intestine removed was sent for pathological analysis.
The Pathology came back as B Cell Lymphoma. After much agonising and decision making it was concluded to do Chemotherapy on Cassius. Although the Consultant Veterinary Oncologists for Vet HQ carry a guarded view, I am hopeful that Cassius will live for more than one year and hopefully 2-3 years. We are using a combination of Chemotherapy at Vet HQ including Vincristine, Cyclophosphamide, L-Asparaginase , Lomustine, Mitoxantrone and Prednisolone.In the second photo you can see the bowel after surgery. The surgical site is in the top right of the picture.
It must be remembered that the aim of chemotherapy for animals is to prolong our pets life expectancy whilst not compromising on the quality of life. Cassius is in the 6th week of Chemotherapy. He walks from Bondi to Bronte every weekend, has put on weight and is full of beans. He has vomited only once and his hair – although not regrown at the site of surgery is not falling out. I have learnt from Cassius’ owner not to hope or cross my fingers but to enjoy every time I see him and every time he gives me a big wet kiss. One week at a time!