My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Doctor visit

Leo proved today that he is not a dumb (strawberry) blonde.

He knew when he was put into his carrier that he was going to the vet, and he wailed the whole drive there. I had thought he just didn't like riding in the car, but he was completely silent on the way home -- very grateful to be going home, I think, since the last time he was at the vet was for his dental work -- the work that revealed the growth on his jaw.

Anyway, I finally got the guts to bring him in to have a vet take a look at him. Remember, Leo has not been to the vet since this tumor was found, and noone had given me a diagnosis about what caused the growth.

I specifically asked to see the senior doctor (when I made the appointment) -- and was surprised when one of the other vets came in to the exam room. Hopefully, I did not insult her when I said that I wanted to see the other doc. It probably ended up coming out wrong, but I am most comfortable with him and his years of experience (he was very reassuring when I had to put Leo's brother to sleep in November.)

Anyway, vet #1 went to get the senior vet -- he examined Leo. From his experience he believes it is either an osteosarcoma or fibrosarcoma. Did not suggest biopsy.

He indicated the same treatment for either osteosarcoma or fibrosarcoma -- continue Leo on prednisone (actually, it's prednisolone) 5 mg/day -- he says not only does this inhibit the growth of the tumor but also serves as a painkiller. And treat recurring infections with antibiotics.

Brought up Piroxicam and he said the basically does the same as pred, but pred is better for pain.

He said he doesn't think it's SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) because that usually originates in soft tissue and the inside of Leo's mouth looks good besides inflamation from infection. Plus, the tumor has grown downward and not up into his mouth.

He suggested switching Leo to a new antibiotic - Clindamycin. Since it generally comes in a liquid form (and Leo tends to spit out all liquid medication) a local pharmacy (Stokes Pharmacy in Medford, NJ) is compounding it into cat treats. Tuna flavor.

These suckers better be tasty, since a 15-day couse is costing $26. (That's on top of us just spending $10 for Baytril antibiotic on Saturday.) Vet says Clindamycin is really good at treating oral infections, and should be easier on Leo's stomach than the Clavamox or Baytril.

See, Leo's problem is that he doesn't eat great when on antibiotic, and he is on them at least half the time.

His weight today was only 9.1 pounds -- almost 2 pounds less than his old normal weight.

I also got a few cans of Hills a/d food from the vet -- a high calorie food -- hopefully the fuzzy guy will like it.

He also suggested I might want to split Leo's pred into two daily doses (since I told him that it seemed to make Leo jittery/nervous.)

Dr. said Leo was really doing very well under the circumstances!

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