At 12 years old, Jet enjoyed an active lifestyle and was always out and about until earlier this year. But his owners became aware that he was suddenly quieter, seemed wobbly on his legs and appeared nervous.
The easy thing to assume was that age was catching up with Jet, but with the severity of his sudden symptoms, his owners brought him into Isabelle Vets to be examined anyway.
We ran a series of blood tests within our in-house laboratory. These showed that Jet was suffering from intermittent episodes of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar – the opposite of being a diabetic cat). Low blood glucose causes lethargy initially, but can also lead to seizures and eventually a coma state if left untreated.
Jet lives with another cat who is diabetic and is treated with tablets to lower his blood sugar. His owners wondered if Jet might have accidentally been getting access to his housemate’s medicine which was causing the adverse effects, which was quickly eliminated.
Jet was suffering from intermittently dangerously low levels of blood glucose. Further tests were carried out, and surgeon Doreen Ford became suspicious of a tumour in Jet’s pancreas, which might have been over-producing insulin (the hormone responsible for reducing levels of glucose in the blood). Such tumours are rare in cats but Jet had high levels of circulating insulin, and this type of tumour was the leading suspected cause. These growths can be small and difficult to detect in cats, and they can also be malignant, having the ability to spread to tissues other than the pancreas.
It was decided to ‘image’ Jet’s chest and abdomen in Isabelle Vet’s CT scanner, to try to identify a pancreatic tumour and look for any spread of the disease. With the aid intravenous contrast dye, to enhance the scan, a single nodule was located in Jet’s pancreas, and fortunately, there was no evidence of spread of the disease.
This allowed the vet, Doreen Ford, to see exactly what she was looking for when she operated to remove the lump in Jet’s pancreas, a delicate organ which requires minimal handling in surgery. The CT scan provided such accurate information regarding the location and size of the tumour, allowing for the minimum of manipulation of the pancreas in surgery.
‘Pet Hero’ is a monthly competition where Isabelle Vets will nominate a pet who they believe has overcome, with stoicism and bravery, an exceptional medical condition, injury or surgery. This could be your pet and with the love and care of his owner and the help of Isabelle Vets they have battled through to become happy and healthy pets, again. At the end of 2017, we will ask all readers to vote for the ‘Pet Hero of the Year’ who will receive a prize in keeping with their position of being a very special animal.
You can follow the competition at www.facebook.com/isabellevets
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