March 2015 - VailVail is our March 2015 patient of the month. He is a very handsome 9.5 year old, neutered male, lynx point Siamese cat who first came to VRCC Oncology in October of 2012 for a presumed diagnosis of intestinal lymphoma. He had presented to his family veterinarian about a week before coming to us, for a decreased appetite and hiding at home. An abdominal ultrasound was performed and showed enlargement of some abdominal lymph nodes as well as some bowel wall thickening. He was started on oral prednisolone until he came in for his appointment, which helped him to feel much better. After meeting with Dr. Elmslie, Vail’s family decided to pursue chemotherapy. Unfortunately, after only 2 doses, his blood work showed he was neutropenic to the point where all chemotherapy had to be discontinued.

Vail came in for a reevaluation in January of 2013 and for a repeat ultrasound. He was confirmed to be in complete remission despite having to stop the chemotherapy, meaning none of the abnormalities previously seen on ultrasound were noted. At that time, a low dose oral chemotherapy was prescribed in hopes that it would be better tolerated. Unfortunately, once again, blood work showed that Vail’s bone marrow couldn’t tolerate any further chemotherapy treatment at all.

Vail has continued on oral prednisolone and has been coming in for follow up visits every 3 months with abdominal ultrasounds to monitor remission status. He is currently still in remission and doing very well at home. Vail’s family shares their story:

“We have had Vail and his sister Aspen since they were 10 weeks old. They came to us from a rescue shelter shortly before Christmas in 2005, and they quickly became an integral part of our family.

Vail has become our alarm clock in the morning and will be sure to let us know if we don’t get up at the correct time to feed him and his sisters their breakfast. That is why we were very concerned when one morning he just went under the bed and refused any food at all. He definitely was not himself and we knew he must be sick. This was so sudden, one night he was acting fine and that morning he was very sick. We took him to his local veterinarian and after a few visits with no improvements in Vail’s condition, they determined that he had gastric lymphoma. They recommended that we bring him to VRCC.

We were devastated with his sudden illness and sure we would probably lose him shortly. Dr. Elmslie discussed his options with us and we didn’t hesitate to start him on the chemo regimen; knowing it might only give him a few more months. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions for us as he started the chemo treatment. Each type of drug that was tried seemed to suppress his bone marrow too much and would be checked off the list. Finally, the only treatment that could be continued was prednisolone. Somehow the mix of chemo treatments that had to be abandoned, and continuing the prednisolone put him into remission.

Vail has been very active now for two years and acts like his old self. He continues to play with his sister Aspen, and his step-sister Dixie, and likes to be the big brother keeping his sisters in line. He is still our morning alarm clock making sure that he and his sisters get their breakfast on time. We are appreciative of the additional time that we have been given with Vail, and we certainly enjoy spoiling him.

We want to thank Dr. Elmslie, Dr. Ringen and all of the VRCC Oncology staff for their help and care with Vail. Everyone at VRCC has been so nice and helpful to us and Vail.