|During the following 24 months Cleo would undergo numerous vet visits and special diet changes to get the vomiting under control. We worked very closely with her foster Mom and our veterinarian to make sure Cleo received very best medical care while searching for a diagnosis that would make sense. While it's not uncommon for cats to regurgitate hairballs or have sensitive stomachs, Cleo was displaying different symptoms and her water intake was steadily increasing.
And then, the first indication of a catastrophic condition occurred on a Sunday evening as Cleo sat in front of her water dish all night wanting to drink but unable to do so. By early morning she was clearly in trouble and rushed off to the vet, where it was quickly discovered that Cleo was suffering from the effects of a mast cell tumor that turned out to be cancerous and emergency surgery was necessary. Her spleen was removed and the vet noted it was one of the largest tumors he had seen in a long time. While she survived the surgery, her prognosis was not good. Cats with mast cell tumors that are cancerous are not expected to live longer than 19 months. Cleo defied the odds and has lived 3 years past the life expectancy for this type of condition.
You might think that would be enough, but her medical troubles were just beginning.
In spite of being on a good diet, Cleo developed stomatitis, an oral disease that is quite painful to cats. Antibiotics and oral surgery are necessary to get this disease under control and Cleo would eventually lose all of her teeth in the process. As her immune system was compromised by the cancer, she also became anemic and suffered from repeated upper respiratory infections as well. At times Cleo required around the clock care to sustain her appetite until her immune system recovered from the ongoing number of health issues that seemed to plague this sweet little girl.
Just as it seemed that she was beginning to win the battle, Cleo suffered a stroke. Unlike humans, a feline can recover almost completely, but Cleo spent 2 weeks unable to maintain enough balance to walk, flip flopping around every time she tried to use her litter box. Once again, she required 24/7 care to give her as much comfort as possible during her recovery. The recuperation process was slow but had a positive prognosis. Then Cleo began to display symptoms of hyperthyroidism . She now would require daily medication to control her overactive thyroid. Cleo's stride had not completely returned from the stroke, and an x-ray proved what we all feared the most...she had torn the ACL's in her back legs plagued with severe arthritis. Every step she would take is full of pain and anguish. At this point surgery is her only hope for a pain-free life and unfortunately, with Cleo's age and other health conditions, the vet feels surgery is just too risky. So, a glucosamine supplement is now being given daily to help take the edge off her pain as well as periodic pain management.
As they say in commercials, “But wait, there’s more!” Probably from the effects of the overactive thyroid, Cleo was recently diagnosed with an enlarged heart. She was placed on furosemide (lasix) to control the fluid building up around her lungs. This brave and strong girl took her medicine like a dream and she is now being weaned off of the furosemide as her heart has maintained its size and the edema is no longer an issue. But whether she will ever completely be free of this medication is still unknown.
We call her our Pretty Princess, not because of the small fortune it’s taken to maintain her life with quality, but because throughout all of these medical catastrophes, Cleo's dignity and sweetness has never waivered. Her desire to live is a constant reminder of the sanctity of life and how fragile it is for all of us. We won’t give up on her just because it becomes too costly or inconvenient and that's where you can help.
Special needs care is costly to our sanctuary and Cleo is just one of the many special needs animals that we provide for, giving them a loving and fulfilled life even though they are older and a little worn out. While Cleo's body may be failing her, her health issues have not dampened her spirit. Rather, they have reinforced ours.
We’re asking for your help again, to continue saving her life. As little as $1.00 a day helps provide the funding for the prescriptions and special diet to help Cleo life a quality life. Won’t you commit to aiding our special need senior companions, like Cleo with a small donation for their care?
Cleo will thank you...and so will we!