In OUR CATS issue 1101 (October 20th) we presented an in-depth article on Lymphosarcoma in Siamese Cats, recounting the experiences of Siamese breeder Christina Knowlson when cats bred from her line were faced with this terrible ailment. We have since received several communications from other Siamese breeders and exhibitors regarding their own experiences with Lymphoma.
Here, Frances Martin of ABICASA SIAMESE presents the story of her top show winning Tortie Point girl Celee’s battle with Lymphoma. Celee tells the story in her own words…
Continuing the accoun‘My name is Celee (a.k.a. GR CH ABICASA CELESTE AIDA). I am a Seal Tortie Point Siamese and this is my story of how I fought to survive this most aggressive Lymphoma which affects young cats and in particular young Siamese.
I had a wonderful show career and, since I am a total extrovert, I loved every minute of being handled and admired by so many judges. I knew just how to win them over with my little ways! I was awarded Best of Variety Siamese Kitten at the Supreme Show 2003 and then went on to become a Grand Champion during 2004.
Then in December 2004 after so much fun and rosettes and Best in Show awards I became very quiet and withdrawn and felt very ill. I refused to eat anything at all and was rushed to the vet for an assessment. The result of the X-ray was horrifying. My heart was completely obscured by an enormous tumour in my chest, called a mediastinal or thymic lymphoma. I was only 18 months old and this was just such a shock for my ‘Mum’ and me.
Looking her most beautiful when she became a Grand Champion.
I was rushed to the Animal Health Trust in Suffolk on a drip and when they looked at me they held out little hope. But then when they had carried out lots of tests and I had purred and looked lovingly at them they said I was fit enough to go on a very, very nasty course of Chemotherapy. Otherwise they said I would be dead in two to three weeks. Not much of an option then!
Looking dreadful at the start of her treatment.
The treatment was simply horrid and I lost even more weight and didn’t want to eat and was sick every day. I looked dreadful and felt awful. I also lost all my whiskers, which was simply appalling for a beauty like me. But we all persevered with the treatment and amazingly the tumour shrank to nothing. I was described as being in remission.
Celee, aka GR CH ABICASA CELESTE AIDA
The treatment continued for six months until I felt that enough was enough and that my quality of life was very important and I didn’t want any more of those nasty drugs and so in May 2005 I received my last dose.
Since then I have been well, eaten well and had a lovely life again out in the cat run in the sunshine with my other friends. Best of all, I now have a new set of exquisite whiskers and, all things considered, I think I look pretty fantastic!!
I am totally spoilt and pampered and I now get my own way all the time, which I think is rather good. None of my friends is allowed to upset me and I get away with teasing them all the time when no one is looking!
I am so glad I was given a chance and that the cancer was found in time and intend to make the most of my life for however long it lasts. It is now 18 months since my treatment stopped and I am still enjoying my life. I owe my life to the prompt action of my ‘Mum’ and the fantastic treatment I have received from the Animal Health Trust and my local vet and the support my ‘Mum’ received from others who had experience of this lymphoma.’
* Celee’s story recently appeared in the Siamese Cat Club’s 2006 newsletter
Frances Martin Comments…
It is encouraging to learn that Professor Leslie Lyons is undertaking research in America to try and identify a gene that may at least in part be responsible for this dreadful cancer affecting such young Siamese and causing so much heartache. I have posted buccal swabs taken from Celee to Professor Lyons for DNA testing in order to assist her research.
However, I believe it is essential to recognise that this research will take time and it may be many years before any great progress is made enabling breeders to isolate kittens carrying such a gene from their breeding program.
In the meantime young Siamese will continue to fall ill with this cancer.
BUT please don’t think that all cats are doomed with this sort of cancer as our dear Celee has shown. The essential facts to grasp are:
That the diagnosis by chest X-ray must be prompt (as this cancer is very aggressive and can kill within weeks)
That the assessment of the cat’s general condition must be carried out as a matter of great urgency and if considered appropriate Chemotherapy must be initiated immediately
The treatment will probably cost £1500 to £2000 (but if your cat is insured then this will be paid for by the Insurance Company)
The cat will probably be very sick during the treatment and will need a lot of love and support. BUT it is worth it when I can still look at Celee and have already had an extra 18 months of her delightful company.
Frances Martin (Abicasa Siamese)
Picture taken a few weeks ago showing how well she looks 18 months after treatment finished.
DNA TESTING FOR SIAMESE LYMPHOMA
* Contact Dr Leslie Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org for swabs (if you cannot get any here) and forms and information on swabbing at:
Send swabs etc and donations to: Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA