Harvey is a remarkable 14 year old three legged cat who came to us with blindness one day. He was diagnosed with detached retinas which can occur secondary to high blood pressure (which Harvey had). High blood pressure can either be a result of renal failure, or indeed cause renal failure. Once blind with detached retinas, it is rare for sight to be restored with treatment. But aggressive early intervention and monitoring saw Harvey’s sight return within a week!
Unfortunately, Harvey returned a few weeks later with breathing difficulties and x-rays revealed a concerning mass in one of his lung lobes. Further opinions from our advanced surgeon and oncologists agreed that cancer was the most likely cause, but that the lesion could also be infection, a lung torsion, or inflammatory. As above, all diagnostic options were considered, but Harvey’s owners made the practical decision – not only for cost, but for how much we put Harvey through, to go straight to thoracotomy to try to achieve both an answer and a solution.
Dr Karin Davids performed Harvey’s thoracotomy (view here with warnings that this is graphic). The thoracotomy revealed a likely lung cancer in one lobe that was successfully removed and sent to pathology for diagnosis. Harvey had a chest drain placed and was hospitalised for two days. But view Harvey in the video below with his owners just a few hours after surgery! Harvey was purring and bright and happy, getting out of hospital in just two days.
Harvey’s owners mentioned how he was brighter, happier, and eating better than before surgery just as soon as he got home! Unfortunately the lesion did come back as a pulmonary adenocarcinoma, a nasty lung cancer that is likely to come back. However in the meantime Harvey is bight and happy, and his owners are contemplating experimental in house affordable chemotherapy and possibly even Eastern medicine solutions to give him a longer, fighting chance, all done with our assistance at Southern Animal Health.
Furthermore, Harveys blood pressure returned to normal after surgery, a sequelae we did not anticipate, but have once hypothesised that the lesion itself must have been causing pressure on the cranial vena cava resulting in the increased pressure that caused his blindness some time earlier!