A DARA cat update: Batya has a full recovery and the mystery illness is still unresolved but it isn't Histoplasmosis

In the previous post I wrote about a mystery illness that is affecting a good number of cats here at the D.A.R.A. Sanctuary.  Whisper was tested again for the fungal infection Histoplasmosis and the result came back negative.  So, we still do not know what is causing the respiratory illness, and it seemed that Histoplasmosis was the most likely explanation, but we can now rule that out.  Whisper is doing better.  We are nebulizing her four times a day and she is taking both Prednisilone and Orbax once daily.

Our biggest victory is with Batya.

Three months ago, what seemed at first to be a slight limping, caused by injuring her leg from maybe jumping off something high, rapidly turned into her being unable to put weight on her right front leg, her being in terrible pain, and an initial diagnosis of having an aggressive, though relatively rare, and non-treatable form of cancer.  Not only did the x-rays and blood tests indicate that Cancer was the most likely cause but her case history also pointed to it.  This particular bone cancer afflicts cats in 'middle-age' who suffered an extreme injury to their limbs when very young.  Batya, who is now 8 years old, was rescued minutes after being thrown from a moving car at about 5 weeks of age.  She suffered breaks to both front legs and her hips were fractured.   

The vet suggested two options, neither with happy outlooks.  The first was to remove the leg and thus gain at most 3 more months before the cancer spread and the second was to put her to sleep after fulfilling a 'bucket list' for her over the weekend.  Obviously, we were not going to put her through the trauma of having her leg removed just to win a few more months.

We have to thank the mystery illness for Batya being healthy and sassy today.  The Friday that we got her diagnosis I went online and, after searching through possible causes for her symptomology, saw that several fungal (the primary being Histoplasmosis) and bacterial infections can mimic this aggressive form of cancer and also that of the cats suffering respiratory issues.  The next morning we went back to the vet and said, ok what if we try treating for both of these other (curable) causes and see if we get good results.... The vets were all in and supportive of this approach and so we started her on both an antifungal medicine (Sporonax) and Clavamox to counter a bacterial infection.  She also was on kitty morphine for the pain for nearly two months. 

It took nearly 3 weeks to see any improvement at all and even then it wasn't clear if it wasn't a combination of wishful thinking and the pain medications.  At 6 weeks, there was definite improvement but she was still in a lot of pain and ... we just didn't know.  At 8 weeks, we tapered her off the morphine  and she continued to improve and improve. 

Last Friday she went in for a check up and had new x-rays done.  The vets were honestly floored:  Her 'elbow' bone and the joint looked totally healed.  We are keeping her on the anti-fungal medicine for another month, just to make sure, but have stopped the Clavamox.  Our only issue now is how best to treat her for the severe stomatitis she suffers. 


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