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One Year Ampuversary!

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Vinny being naughty on the dining room table and knows he’s been caught! 🙂

I am extremely happy to report that Vinny just celebrated his one year ampuversary a few days ago! He will also celebrate his ninth birthday next month! And he really couldn’t be doing better! 🙂 His cancer appears to be in remission still, and his granuloma complex condition has not flared up again either since late last year!

He had his last check up with his oncologist team in February. He had an ultrasound, x-rays and  bloodwork done, and was given complete clean bill of health. It is recommended by his doctor that he have another complete check up like that every two months, but the check up bill alone is over $1000, so it’s not really realistic. I’ve done everything I can for him up until now, so now all I can do is take care of him best I can here at home with lots of love, and hope for the best.

Vinny was never a particularly agile kitty, so I can safely say that his mobility is pretty much exactly where is was when he had four legs. He can get up on all the surfaces he did before he was a tripawd, and he’s still just as mischievous. He’s happy, playful, purry and sweet as always. His quality of life is unquestionably where it was prior to his amputation. And considering the rare and extremely aggressive type of cancer he had (hemangiosarcoma), and how fast it all happened last year, I feel so lucky to have him here with me still, alive and well. 🙂 I don’t take a single day with him for granted.

Thank you again to all the Tripawd community for your caring support last year when we were going through this rough time. Vinny & family are forever thankful! 🙂


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Chemo is Done!

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Handsome boy, sitting a bit smug on the table. :)

Handsome tripawd Vinny boy! 🙂 <3

All of Vinny’s chemo treatments are now complete! He did it! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Everything is looking good, and no more vet visits for a while now. The doctor wants him back in two months for an ultrasound and x-ray re-check. His granuloma complex hasn’t flared up since our last post yet, either. It seems to be under control. Yay!

He really races around the apartment well now, running and jumping on stuff with no hesitation. 🙂 It’s so wonderful. I know he’s back to his old self now that he jumps on the bathroom counter every time I open the jar of coconut oil, hehe. He stopped doing that for a while just before his amputation when he was feeling crappy, and for a while after he was healing. Now he can’t be stopped!

When I picked him up from his last chemo treatment, they technicians had tied balloons to his crate and gave him a purple feather boa to celebrate his success! 🙂

YAY! Home safe & sound after final chemo treatment!

YAY! Home safe & sound after final chemo treatment!

Handsome in his purple boa, hehe. :)

Handsome in his purple boa, hehe. 🙂

Brothers, snuggling <3 :)

Brothers, snuggling. <3 🙂

Cuddling in my lap as I browse Tripawds! :)

Cuddling in my lap as I browse Tripawds! 🙂

A rocking chair is a weird spot for a cat to sit. It is unstable, and awkward. I've had this chair for years and the cats have never jumped on them.. until recently, this is one of Vinny's new favourite spots, LOL! So weird!

A rocking chair is a very weird spot for a cat to sit. It is unstable, and awkward. I’ve had this chair for years and the cats have never jumped on it… until recently, when suddenly this is one of Vinny’s new favourite spots, LOL! So weird!

Handsome Vinny boy <3

Handsome Vinny boy <3

Sun bathing :)

Sun bathing 🙂 So nice to see all his fur growing back so well.

Good News & Smooth Sailing

Happy, warm & cozy Vinny! :) <3

Happy, warm & cozy Vinny! 🙂 <3

It’s been 3.5 months now since amputation and Vinny is doing great. He is really happy. And so am I!

We received good news a couple weeks ago after his last biopsy to determine the cause of his lip condition. The results showed no cancerous cells, and it came back positive for “eosinophilic granuloma complex”, which is an autoimmune condition, and what we expected (and were hoping it was). It is completely treatable and non-life threatening in any way. It’s kind of like a skin allergy. His past outbreaks appeared on his lips, and did not seem to bother him at all. He’s now on a course of steroids for a few months, and a strict diet of hypoallergenic food. And he has not had an outbreak for a few weeks now, which is awesome. The doctor says this is something he has probably had his whole life, but might be affecting him now because of the stress of chemo. So we’re hopeful after chemo is over, he won’t have any more problems with it.

His blood work at his last chemo treatment came back completely normal, and still no side effects. So, everything is just great – he runs and jumps with no hesitation, and his fur is really growing back nicely now! 🙂

One more chemo treatment to go, and then that’s it! 🙂 Yay Vinny!

Showing off his remaining leg! :) haha!  He loves to come and sit in my lap and distract me when I'm trying to get some work done!

Showing off his remaining leg! 🙂 haha! He loves to come and sit in my lap and distract me when I’m trying to get some work done!

Photo bomb from the attention hog!! :) hehe

Photo bomb from the attention hog!! 🙂 hehe

Remission!

Ultra furry afternoon cat nap! :)

We are extremely happy to report that the oncology Doctor says that Vinny is officially in “Remission”. 🙂

Vinny is now 2.5 months post amputation and has had 4 chemo treatments. On Friday he had his chest X-Ray and ultrasound re-checks to examine his internal organs to see if the cancer has spread anywhere. All the diagnostics came back completely normal! This is such welcome news. Since hemangiosarcoma is a blood cell cancer, it can be very metastatic, so I was really worried before this visit about what we’d find. But, the doctors say he looks amazing, and is doing very well. 🙂 YAY!

He has a different issue that we’ve been working on pinning down down for a while now. It’s the lip thing he had in my last post. It went away and came back twice since then. Since it has been somewhat responsive to antibiotics, so we’re hopeful that is a sign that it is not a new cancer. It is not consistent with hemangiosarcoma, but we can’t completely rule out a new type of cancer until we know more. But more likely, is an pesky infection of some kind or an autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic granuloma complex, which can be treated successfully with steroids and a hypoallergenic diet. While he was sedated for chemo, we took a biopsy from the affected part of his mouth, so we could get a definitive answer and decide what to do about it. It should take a week or so for results. The positive thing is that it hasn’t affected him in any way and he is eating and drinking completely normal. I actually think he is feeling better than ever, and he is extra cuddly and more comfortable in this cooler autumn weather. His mobility as a tripawd is amazing and he has no problem now getting up just about anywhere he likes.

Two more chemo treatments to go – Next one in three weeks. I’m just so relieved now after his diagnostic re-checks, that I know we can handle anything. 🙂 Every time we go to the vet, I am just so thankful when we get home healthy and happy, together again. 😀

Bros, enjoying the warm sun rays!

Apparently it's no problem getting on  the dining room table - LOL! :)

Apparently it’s no problem getting on the dining room table – LOL! 🙂

They looove the morning sun :)

They looove the morning sun 🙂

Hangin out 🙂

Enjoying some afternoon sun and checking out what’s going on outside!

The sleepy furry family all together with me on the couch

Post chemo cuddly relief 🙂

Furry Siblings!

This week we are doing very well. 🙂 Last week was a little worrisome.

Last Thursday was Vinny’s 5 week tripawd anniversary (yay), and also his second chemo treatment.

About a week before that, he started getting a swollen lip, which looked like it was infected, or something even more sinister. It was big, red, black, and white. It didn’t seem to bother him what-so-ever, but it was very concerning to me. We had it checked out at our chemo day and they weren’t exactly sure what it was, at first glance. A new cancer was among one of the possibilities (scary!).

Luckily, our amazing medical oncologist looked back into Vinny’s medical history from our regular general practitioner and saw that Vinny has a similar issue with his lip a few years back. Before our visit, I had recall something like this, but was unsure of the specifics and what treatment course we used. The files showed that at that time, we started with an injectible antibiotic and it cleared the issue up right away. This time, before doing anything drastic, we decided to start by doing the same thing. Remarkably, it started to clear up the very next day! 🙂 And now 4 days later, it is pretty much completely back to normal. I was so scared for my big boy. What a relief! 🙂

Aside from the infected lip issue, his chemo treatment and overall health-check went otherwise very well. All his vital signs were normal, and he lost a healthy amount of weight, due to his weight-loss regime, which is wonderful! They also did not detect the heart murmur that they heard last time – yay! This is very welcome news. Seems it was just a weird one-off thing… This can happen with cats apparently.

His blood work and urinalysis were good except they detected slightly elevated levels of eosinophils in his blood. This is sometimes a sign of worms. We agreed that due to his lifestyle and where we live, this was probably unlikely, but opted for a 5 day treatment of Panacur, just in case. The medication is inexpensive and there are no side effects or downsides, so why not. Since then, I’ve read that elevated eosinophils may also appear in the blood due to allergies. I think he may be allergic to the scented cat litter deodorizer I occasionally use, so I have stopped using it, just in case.

We also received the histopathology report from the amputated leg, confirming it was indeed a hemangiosarcoma. Wonderfully, the report also showed and that all of the tumour was successfully removed with amputation, and with perfect margins. 🙂

Next chemo treatment comes in three weeks. At this point, after all he’s been through, I know anything can happen. Crappy things don’t always give you a warning that they are coming, so it’s important to not take the healthy times when everything is alright and he is feeling good for granted. I now just consider every time he comes home from the hospital again to be a major victory and cause for celebration.

Vinny is truly a trooper. It seems like his whole life, and still now, he has been constantly faced by one medical issue after an another. Other than routine visits, my other cat has never had a single out of the norm trip to the vet. Vinny had been there so many times I can’t count. But he just takes it in stride. He is such a happy guy… and it makes me so happy. He just wants to hang out with me, kiss me, purr and eat yummy food, haha. 🙂 He is sitting on my lap right now, licking my arm. I am very lucky to have such a great kitty!

Being cute 🙂

This is his amp-side. As you can see, it's looking great! Fur is coming back well and you can't even see the incision anymore.

This is his amp-side. As you can see, it’s looking great! Fur is coming back well and the incision is no longer visible at all anymore.

Biiiiiig Yawwwwn. 🙂 haha

Bros - Hanging out. :) <3 <3 <3

Bros – Hanging out. 🙂 <3 <3 <3

A better photo of Princess today - Cautiously posing, haha. :) Pretty girl. <3

A better photo of Princess today – Cautiously posing, haha. 🙂 Pretty girl. <3 She jumped up away from the camera half a second after I snapped this.

Vinny’s One Month Ampuversary!

Yesterday was Vinny’s One month ampuversary! 🙂 Woo hoo! Yay Vinny!

And just like the last post, no news is good news. Nothing major to report here, except that he is doing great! 🙂

It’s been unusually cold and rainy over the last few days, and Vinny just loves it! Being a big furry guy, he loves the cool weather! He gets extra cuddly! 🙂

He had his last dose of Metacam yesterday, and is now medication free! Next on the agenda will be this coming Thursday, when we will head to the hospital where he will have a check-up and his second round of doxorubicin chemotherapy treatment.

Here are some pics from today 🙂 We are just hibernating inside from the rain, watching movies, snacking and cuddling! The perfect Saturday with my furry family! I’ve always given a lot of love to my fur babies, but this whole experience has made me cherish every moment we have together. <3 We’re all here for a good time… not a long time. 🙂

Happy One Month Ampuversary to my big cuddly gentle giant! He never looks as big in photos as he is in real life. But trust me, he's a big guy! :)

Happy One Month Ampuversary to my big cuddly gentle giant! He never looks as big in photos as he is in real life. But trust me, he’s a big guy! 🙂

In his favourite chair! He gets up there now with absolutely nooo problem at all! :)

In his favourite chair! He gets up there now with absolutely nooo problem at all! 🙂

Just being handsome. <3 <3 <3

Just being handsome.

His incision area at one month! Simply remarkable!

His incision area at one month! Simply remarkable!

 

And the other members of the furry family…

Vinny's bro Milo, burrowing in the duvet. :) <3 Cuddling watching movies with us on the couch!

Vinny’s bro Milo, burrowing in the duvet. 🙂 <3 Cuddling watching movies with us on the couch!

 

Vinny's sister, Princess. The elusive black cat. Notoriously impossible to get a photo of her… she moves every time I try to take one! She's still a sweetheart though. :) <3

Vinny’s sister, Princess. The elusive black cat. Notoriously impossible to get a photo of her… she moves almost every time I try to take one! She’s still a sweetheart though. 🙂 <3

Three Weeks Post-Amp

You know what they say… no news is good news! 🙂

I have nothing really to report. It’s been three weeks now since Vinny’s hind leg amputation, and he’s doing remarkable. He also hasn’t had any side effects from his chemo treatment, which was over a week ago. The fur around his incision is growing back and he’s able to start jumping up on more stuff each day. He’s a happy kitty, and I am a happy pawrent 🙂

Afternoon Cat Nap! :)

Afternoon Cat Nap! 🙂

Purple Heart For Bravery

Today is Vinny is two weeks post-amputation! He had his first visit to the medical oncologist yesterday morning, along with his first chemotherapy treatment in the afternoon. He went home with a purple heart of bravery, awarded by the wonderful hospital staff. 🙂

Purple Heart for Bravery!

Purple Heart for Bravery!

Meeting with the medical oncology doctor was great. She was so helpful with every question I had. She said of all the personality types of cats who get cancer, with his laid back attitude and easy going nature, Vinny was a great candidate to undergo these treatments. He was just chilling out while we were talking about his treatment, and impressed the doctor by jumping up on top of his crate a few times. He’s also got a great appetite and is never picky, which is also a great asset going through this. The doctor assured me that they make sure the chemo patients will be cared for and entertained the entire time of their stay. They want them to have a good experience, so they don’t grow to hate their visits. This was comforting.

Before his treatment, he had a urinalysis and complete blood work, which were both normal. He also had an ultrasound, which showed the same slightly enlarged lymph node that his CT scan showed two weeks ago. His surgical oncologist told me that he was pretty sure it was just enlarged as an effect of being sick from the original tumor, and proably not a new cancer growth. Something we will keep a close eye on. He also had a grade 1 heart murmur, which could be nothing at all, or could be something. Another thing to keep a close eye on.

Vinny had an IV treatment of doxorubicin, and will complete 5 more of these treatments, each three weeks apart. He will have blood work and urinalysis each visit, and an ultrasound on his 3rd visit, and every 3 months after that. When I picked up Vinny after his treatments, the veterinary technician said that Vinny did really well and he was entertaining them all for a while. She gave him a catnip pillow after his treatment and he just loved it was was going wild, and it was one of the best reactions they’ve ever seen. She was also amazed that he was mowing down treats right out of their hands before and after his treatments. Often cats are too stressed out in the hospital to eat. When I picked him up he did not seem at all stressed out at all. He ate dinner right when he got home, and hasn’t had any obvious side effects since then. The doctor said that if they have any side effects, its usually 3-7 days after treatment.

 

The doctors are still unable to give any kind of definitive prognosis. This type of cancer is a high grade type, aggressive and unpredictable. Since it’s so rare in cats, it’s hard to predict how it could go. They said of the few cats they’ve seen with it, some lasted for years, and some only a few months. One small study I read online was encouraging; it says with combined treatments, outlook is good. Also, I have some confidence in the fact that I never ignored the mass or his health at any point, and did every treatment and procedure that has been recommended by our regular doctor, and the doctors at the cancer centre. Besides lots of love and a healthy diet, there is not much more I can do.

After discussions with the medical oncology doctor, I’ve decided to put both my cats on a pure canned food diet, and cut out the dry food. It’s Royal Canin Vetrinary Formula Calorie Control. They’ve been eating it for a while for their weight loss program, and they like it. It’s a fine line now where he (and she) needs to lose weight, to take some stress off his three legs and his internal organs, but also he needs lots of nutrients and quality ingredients to fight the cancer. This food is perfect for that. He’s also been on Cosequin glucosamine supplements for a few weeks now, as a preventative measure against potential future arthritic and joint issues. And today I am introducing Carlson pure cod liver oil to his diet, to boost his omega-3 intake, which will help his immunity and organ functions.

A few other things I have been giving him are organic virgin coconut oil and cooked eggs. He just loves coconut oil, and I know it has beneficial and healing properties, so it’s a win-win for him. And of course we know that eggs are an amazing superfood, with tonnes of nutrients, so I think he can benefit from this too.

The best part is that I don’t think he even knows he is sick. He is doing remarkably well. He is eating well, drinking more water than usual (with my encouragement), and back to his exercise regime. He is social and happy. His fur also seems softer than ever. He’s playing like a silly little kitten right now beside me with the new catnip toys I bought for him today. I have lots of hope for my Vinny boy. 🙂

Playing with his new catnip toy!

Playing with his new catnip toy!

Day Ten – Cone Free!

Time is flying! Can’t believe it’s been ten days already!

Vinny got his sutures out today, which means no more e-collar! Woo hoo! The doctor also said his incision looks great and he is recovering well.

I noticed a tiny bit of bright red blood in his stool this morning, but I wasn’t overly alarmed, since I figured it was just caused by some constipation from the medications he’s been on. I brought a sample with me to the hospital and the doctor agreed that was the likely cause. They gave him some kind of fluid injection and a stool softener to mix in his food for a few days until his system is back to normal. Easy peasy!

Happy to be cone free! 😀

Getting cozy.

Getting cozy.

Happy sleepy Vinny boy <3 :)

Happy sleepy Vinny boy

 

 

Nine Days – Happy Kitty

So after yesterday’s “down” day, Vinny seems back to normal again. I was mostly worried that he was less chatty and less purr-y than usual. And just a tiny bit slower. Nothing too serious, and my concerns have subsided today, since he seems like a happy kitty again. One of the friendly folks at the hospital called me back this afternoon and I talked with her through my concerns from yesterday. I feel much better. We came to the conclusion together that yesterday was probably just a down day, since he is still eating, drinking, not retreating away from us, and seems normal again today. We also noted that I am obviously paying much more close attention than normal to every single little thing he is doing, so there is more opportunity to concern myself with little things.

I also decided that I am going to take him in tomorrow to get his sutures out, instead of waiting for his next appointment on Wednesday. I wanted to do both things in one shot, but his way he can get out of the e-collar a few days sooner! 🙂 Yay! I think this will help his psychological state a lot too. The e-collar limits some of his movements, vision and hearing, so having it gone will be a relief to him.

For now, I am working on reading about other kitties’ experiences throughout their chemotherapy  treatments.

Purrrrrr….. <3

Purrrrrr….. <3

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