Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tammy's surgery was a success! Cancer free!

Tammy is about 12 years old, rescued from life on the street at about age 3. I had her spayed right away, along with her sister, Judy, and they quickly became settled into life at the shelter. Judy got lucky and was adopted that year, leaving Tammy behind to make friends with the other cats on her own. She did very well and became a favorite at the shelter. But no one wanted to adopt her. So I took her home with me.

However, it wasn't long before I noticed she was still going into heat on a regular schedule, 3 times a year. The vet who spayed her said not to worry about it and that repeating the surgery was unnecessary. She wasn't going to get pregnant, after all. So we put up with her yowling 3 times a year for the next 9 years.

Then it happened: This summer she developed some odd growths on her belly. She already had a somewhat large, fluid-filled cyst on her abdomen for the last few years, but again, the vet said it was just a "water sac" and not to worry about it. So we didn't. But the new growths had me concerned, since older female cats can get mammary cancer if they haven't been spayed. Tammy was still making estrogen, so she was a good candidate for a cancer diagnosis. And the nodules were hard and rough to the touch.

I took her to our new vet right away and scheduled surgery for the following week. We wouldn't know the outcome until she had x-rays to be sure her lungs were clear and the tumors were removed and examined.

We were all very happy to discover she did not have any malignancies and took her home to recover.

Here are some of the masses the
vet removed:
In this cluster are one ovary, part of the uterus that was left behind, and a fluid-filled cyst.

Tammy is very lucky to have survived this scenario that could easily have gone in a different direction. It's always a good idea to be sure your vet knows what he or she is doing. Just like human physicians, get references and check into their history for complaints. That's usually not easy, but asking around among people you know who have used their services is one way to get information.