Feline cancer and vaccines Feed

Happy Mother's Day to ALL Mothers!

 After reading many beautiful and heartwarming articles written by mothers and daughters about Mother's Day, I wanted to share some of the photos and stories of animals I've seen around the world taking care of their young.  Some of you know that I've been involved in animal rescue for many years and have a soft spot in my heart for all animals.  I am always amazed at how protective and caring animals are of their offspring.

  I really wanted to write a post in honor of all mothers and especially those that are often overlooked on Mother's Day each year.  If you have pets you are a mother they could not survive without you!  I wrote a similar post about animal mothers and their offspring for mothers day a couple of years ago.  One of my readers was very grateful that I had posted it.  Sadly not humans have a mother at all or one that they are close to. 

My husband and I have also taken in several stray pregnant cats.  We found homes for all of the babies and mothers including the seven orange ones in the second photo down.  We actually kept the mothers - Princess (the black cat) and Peaches (orange cat) for ourselves. 

The monkeys that I saw at the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali we're so fun to watch.  The babies were so cute and well taken care of by their mothers.   I thought this mother was showing tremendous patience with her little one.Bali-345410_960_720
Bali-345410_960_720Here is a mother monkey feeding her baby what appears to be some coconut:
Bali-345410_960_720I saw many elephant mothers with their babies in the Serengeti National Park while in Tanzania:
Bali-345410_960_720Although I love all animals, I'm normally a little afraid of horses because they are so big.  I did see this mother and baby last month while I was visiting a park in Belize.
Bali-345410_960_720Here is a lion with its pride in the Serengeti of Tanzania:
Bali-345410_960_720Here is a penguin family I saw on an excursion in Punta Arenas, Chile on my way to Antarctica a few years ago.  This Family is in their borough (home).  One thing I learned about penguins on this trip is that they mate for life.
Bali-345410_960_720Here is a mother and baby sea lion nursing that I saw it last summer at an aquarium in Curacao:
Bali-345410_960_720I saw this litter of puppies in Alaska about two years ago when I went dog sledding on the Mendenhall glacier:
Bali-345410_960_720Here is our cat peaches with her seven one week old kittens.  We took peaches in when we were alerted by a rescue organization that she was lying next to a dumpster nursing her seven one week old kittens.  We kept her in a bathroom away from our other cats until we were able to take her to a vet the next day when we learned that peaches was FIV positive (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which meant she could not be around our cats as it can be spread to others.  We had to wait until the kittens were older before we could test them.  Only two of the seven turned out positive. 

I was able to find a home for them with a friend who lived hundreds of miles away in Kansas City.  We did purchase a new drug called T-cyte in hopes that treating the kittens while they were very young would make them turn F IV negative.  Miraculously the drug worked and the kittens are very health healthy and are no longer F I V positive.  Peaches is probably about seven years old now. 

Peaches is kept healthy getting a shot every six months of T-cyte which costs about $60 dollars a month.  Although she needs to be kept in an area of our home away from her other cats, we adopted another F I V positive cat named Piney who is also being treated with T-cyte and is also very healthy.  You can learn more about T-cyte which has helped cats with FeLV as well here.

Here is a family of Sand Hill cranes that live in our neighborhood in Florida.  The babies grow up very quickly but the mother and father stay with them until they are full grown.  As you can see there is a photo of one of the parents feeding a baby.  I apologize for this not being a good photo but I didn't want to get very close to them and upset the parents.  The last photo of these birds was taken only 30 days after the first two so you see how fast they grow.



Although these iguanas I saw in Mexico are not furry and cute likes some of the other animals I've shown you, I thought it was a cute picture of what appears to be a mother iguana with her baby:
Bali-345410_960_720Although this is not a great photo of a mother giraffe with two babies that I saw in the Serengeti national Park I thought I would share it:

 Lastly I wanted to share some photos of our cat Princess.  We found her in a junkyard about nine years ago when she was less than a year-old so she was basically a kitten herself.  It was obvious she was very pregnant so we took her in.  Princess said probably lived in that junkyard her whole life and was very feral and scared of humans.  Once she had her three kittens she was a very good mother and very protective of her babies.  We were very grateful to find good homes for all of her kittens when they were a few months old.  Princess still lives with us and is a very sweet cat that causes no trouble and no one would ever guess that she spent the first part of her life in a junkyard and was feral as a young cat.



6a00e55215d62e883400e553fd050d8834-320wi 6a00e55215d62e8834010536b55f92970c


 Do you have any special animal stories to share for Mother's Day or a soft spot in your heart for them like I do?  

Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet.  I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have.  I hope that you have a wonderful Mother's Day however you decide to celebrate it.



A Wish Granted By Our Precious Coco On Her Angel Day?

Coco passed away two years ago on March 19th.  On that day one of my top three wishes was granted.  I had been hoping and praying that a wonderful cat named Kendall with FIV at our shelter would get adopted quickly.  Here is a photo of her and her story:

Kendall is a beautiful cat who unfortunately contracted FIV but is 
very healthy. She is super friendly and playful.  
HUMANS can NOT get ill from FIV infected cats.
Kendall has had a tough time.  She had 3 kittens born 
with FIV.  Because the kittens were born with the virus, 
they had very high levels in their systems and passed 
away from cancer by age one.  Kendall's vet has said 
that because she contracted the virus later in life, she 
has a much better chance of staying healthy.  She is 
very lonely and sad.  Kendall would like nothing more 
than to have her first home and family.  FIV cats can 
lead normal lives. Please see this article:


 I was so worried about Kendall after all 3 of her babies passes away in 2 months!  The family had their own little islation room with a great outdoor view.  The last kitten passed away last week.  I posted EVERYWHERE, called all the vets, and told everyone I knew about Kendall.  Then on Monday, a day we normally keep our shelter closed for cleaning, a family knocked on the door wanting a cat.  They have no other pets and chose Kendall! 

What a wonderful thing to happen on Coco's angel date!!!

Thanks for reading and in memory of Kendall's beautiful babies I am going to post their photos.  Take care everyone.  Hope to be back to blogging sooner rather than later.  However, I had to tell this story.






Roxy Status


My best friend Stefanie has spent the past month trying to get her precious Roxy well. Roxy was diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma on July 1st.  In less than one month the tumor has returned and is nearly as big as it was before she had surgery on June 26th.  Roxy is such a sweet cat and has always been so healthy.  To make matters worse the tumor was caused by a vaccine she received eight years ago!

Stefanie is beside herself and could really use some supportive words of advice or experience.  Thanks in advance.

Here are some more photos of pretty little Roxy:




Roxy Update and Pathology Report



My best friend Stefanie wrote the following about her beloved Roxy:

I took Roxy to see an Oncologist yesterday.  She was recently diagnosed w/ a fibrosarcoma they believed was brought on by a series of vaccineshe received in 2001 at the Humane Society where I adopted her (it's called feline vaccine-associated sarcoma or VAS).  The oncologist obviously knew his stuff and was very kind on top of everything.  I left the hospital and cried the whole way home thinking I'm a bad person for considering the financial impact b/c he obviously recommended radiation therapy post-surgery (we had the tumor removed on 6/25)... but it's going to cost $5K - $6K.  I felt so hopeless. 
I ended up calling him back a few hours later w/ a couple more questions about statistics and prognosis, and the confession that the financial impact was probably going to be too great to bear.  I was grateful that he took the time to ensure I was clear on worst/best case scenarios and average statistics, and especially when he sanctioned the path I'm most likely going to take. 
Here's the bottom line:
Unfortunately, my regular vet made a mistake in not sending the extra tissue from the surgery (I had a special surgeon do the surgery at my regular vet; $2400 on top of the $750 already spent on diagnostics) to the pathologist in order to determine whether or not there were clear margins on the tumor.  Apparently, the surgeon took the tissue from her in two steps: the first was the majority of the tumor itself, which was huge, and the second step was to then go in and remove about 2 extra inches around the excision to ensure they got any stray cancer cells (this type of cancer is particularly aggressive and it branches out so there could be microscopic cancer cells still left behind).  My vet only sent the tumor itself to the pathologist, not the extra tissue the surgeon took to ensure he got it all.  On the tumor itself, there were not "clear margins," meaning there was not enough good tissue around it to indicate they got all the cancer.  Since they didn't send the rest of the tissue, which could have indicated clear margins, we will never now know.  This means, of course, that it's even harder for the oncologist to determine whether radiation is definitely needed or not.  The only good news is that the surgeon does believe he got it all (but, of course, there are no guarantees). 
In the absence of knowing for sure whether there were clear margins, and b/c the likelihood of the tumor growing back in the face of surgery alone is 50%, the oncologist is recommending radiation as the best possible thing to do to mitigate recurrence. 
However... these are the facts:   
Worst case scenario - the tumor was not completely removed and it comes back quickly, which is anywhere from 2 weeks to two months post-surgery.
Best case scenario - the tumor was completely removed and she's in the 50% percentile of no recurrence; she lives out the rest of her natural life.
Average scenario - the tumor was not completely removed and comes back w/in 6 - 9 months.
On average, I buy her 1.5 years, and possibly up to 4 years of disease-free life.  But, of course, there are no guarantees; it could fail.
Based on just the statistics alone, I don't buy her that much more time on average.  Plus, even though cats tolerate radiation way more than humans, and putting aside the cost, I would have to take her in every day except weekends for 19 sessions and she would have to go under anesthesia each time.  She hates to just go see the regular vet annually!
Truth be told, if money were no object, I would probably do it; but the reality is that I don't have this money and am already in debt.  So, given that it is still possible the surgeon got it all and she could be "cured" (best case scenario), I think I'm going to take my chances and go another route... which the doctor completely sanctioned (he even said that if he thought I was putting her life in great danger, he would tell me).  That is, I am going to be hyper-vigilant about looking for any new lumps near the site.  The good news is that these tumors usually grow back in the same place or in an area where the "branching finger cells" infiltrated close by.  So, it should be easy to find if one does.  He also recommended maybe even bringing her in to see my regular vet for a more professional evaluation of the same thing (which is only about $40) every two months or so.  The other other good news is that this cancer does not often metastasize (only 20-25% do).  If the tumor grows back, then I can re-consider radiation and another surgery (which is more successful than surgery before radiation, which we did)... or let her live out the rest of her days as comfortably as possible knowing that she's had a pretty good life at 11 - 12 years old, and being strong enough to make the tough decision to end her suffering at some point along that path if it comes back.


Roxy Update


I'm happy to report that Roxy is doing very well post-surgery.  The hot packing is paying off; the incision is healing nicely and the drains were removed Tuesday.  She's off all pain meds, and just now receiving her antibiotic (Clavamox) twice daily for the next day or so.  She's eating and drinking water, and seems to be in good spirits.  Although, as even the vet said: "She would never complain about anything or put up a fuss; she is such a good kitty!"
Unfortunately, the pathology report has been delayed until Friday.  They've advised they need to do some additional tests.  So, we're waiting patiently [sigh] and definitely keeping positive thoughts for a full recovery.  The fact of the matter is that she has not been definitively diagnosed yet.  The suspected diagnosis of feline VAS was based solely upon the opinion of both the surgeon and my regular vet in the absence of actual pathology.  The best case scenario is that, somehow, it isn't cancer.  The second best scenario is that, if it is cancer, they were able to remove it all and her blood work shows no metastasis.  We're not even thinking about any worst case scenarios!
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  Please continue to keep Roxy in your prayers and keep spreading the news about feline VAS.  Regardless of what Roxy's diagnosis is, this problem is very real and will only be mitigated through greater awareness.