Joseph the cat – our determined Pet of the Month!

16 Oct 2018 | Pet of the month

Our latest Pet of the Month, Joseph, a lovely, dignified ten year-old cat was adopted from the RSPCA in 2010. He was brought to the hospital by his worried owner in February earlier this year having sneezed for a few days. There was blood from one nostril and our vet Hannah noted that this side of the nose was blocked. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were prescribed but Joseph improved only marginally. Further investigations were therefore undertaken.

Despite X-rays and work here in general practice no cause was revealed, and so we referred Joseph to Langford, a Referral Hospital near Bristol. Here, a CT scan revealed a growth in Joseph’s nose, which turned out to be a tumour diagnosed as lymphoma – a type of cancer that originates in the lymphocyte cells. It was hoped that this was a relatively low-grade cancer that would respond well to a low-intensity course of chemotherapy.

In May Joseph started his chemotherapy. He had four doses but sadly he progressively lost weight as his appetite waned and discharge streamed from his nose. Matters reached a crisis in June when he had to be admitted to the hospital for a full week. The chemotherapy was stopped, fearing negative side-effects, and he was intensively managed for a respiratory infection.

Joseph’s owner Miss Ruff, visited every day, spending a lot of time with him and encouraging him to eat a few morsels of pilchards. Miss Ruff gave her all “He so deserved it” she said. Despite this, poor Joseph continued to decline, our vet Sarah Cole explained “We were faced with some hard decisions – whether to refer him back to the specialist or to fit a feeding tube, both options which we felt were too stressful for Joseph, or whether to embark on some more intense chemotherapy with the real concern of whether he could cope. Alternatively whether we should say ‘enough is enough’ and let things take their course. All daunting options for Joseph’s loving owner.”

Miss Ruff described how it felt “We had so many conversations over the weeks about the options and how hard we should to try to help him fight the disease but I truly felt that although he was low, he’d never given up, I believed his signals were positive and if he was going to fight it, I felt we had to help fight it with him”.

Together we agreed to try one more round of more intense chemotherapy. And afterwards we sent Joseph home for two days’ quality time and love, after which we would have to decide to either carry on treatment or gently say goodbye, depending on how he responded.

We were all absolutely delighted when Joseph held his own! We kept going, eventually completing a full six week induction protocol, and, with medical propping-up and a great deal of caring nursing from his owner, Joseph lurched into remission!

In September, after many months of care and hard work (not least from his owner), Joseph gained sufficient weight to break the 4kg mark, to wide and enthusiastic celebration in the practice! “It has been a roller coaster of ups and downs” said Miss Ruff “Although it was always at the back of my mind that Joseph might not pull through I tried to look on the bright side. Everyone at the hospital is lovely, they always listen to you, and when your pet is ‘hospitalised’ you see behind the scenes where everyone was absolutely amazing from the receptionists, to the nurses to the vets. Joseph is honoured to be ‘Pet of the Month’ and I am a very proud owner.”

Joseph has a long road to tread, but we are sure that with the love and dedication of Miss Ruff, matched only by Joseph’s determination to stroll on through life, he will walk that path well, however long it may be. Congratulations Joseph, and of course Miss Ruff – we are with you all the way!