Owners notice weight loss and check-up leads to Leukaemia diagnosis

'Kushca' a 9 year old Russian Blue cat was brought in to see Dr Andrea Montesano at the start of February because he had been eating lots of food but seemed to be losing a lot of weight. Dr Andrea noted that he was very skinny, he had a heart murmur and that she could feel a large lump in Kushca's abdomen. Dr Andrea recommended that he have a blood test and abdominal xray to determine what was making him unwell.

Kushca was admitted to the hospital and blood was taken to run a full blood profile to check his liver and kidney function and also to check for any infections and any hormonal problems such as hyperthyroidism.

The bloods were run by accredited vet nurse Lauren Paterson in clinic and the results showed that Kushca was anaemic (low PCV) but all other results were normal. In order to discover why he was anaemic a blood sample was sent to an external lab so that they could check the individual red blood cells for any abnormalities.

Next an xray was taken by Dr Raj Wicks and trainee veterinary nurse Janelle Parkinson to determine the size of the lump in his abdomen. The xrays revealed that Kushca's abdomen was full of fluid which concealed the mass. A sample of this fluid was taken using a needle and syringe and sent to the laboratory for evaluation.

The results from the lab showed that Kushca was suffering from lymphoid leukaemia and that his bone marrow may have also been affected. This means that eventually the bone marrow will no longer be producing adequate numbers of red blood cells and it also causes abnormalities in white blood cells.

In this case the best form of treatment will be to keep Kushca comfortable with palliative care including antibiotics and good quality food. Kushca will be re-checked every 2 weeks to make sure he is going well.