View photo in messageWellington is a Persian cat who has been a regular visitor to Donaldson’s for 18 years. Persians can have sad looking faces and Wellington never looks as though he is enjoying his visit to the Vets; but he is a surprisingly tough little chap and has a very appealing character

When Wellington was presented at our Birchencliffe Surgery last week, our vet was immediately concerned when she felt his abdomen. Despite being a slender old man, his abdomen felt large and distended.

“Minimally Invasive Investigation” is the watchword of modern Veterinary Medicine. We always try to establish a diagnosis while trying not to subject the patient to investigations that will make them feel worse. This is important for all our patients but is especially relevant in an older animal.

Blood samples were taken and an ultrasound scan was performed. The scan showed a very large mass of irregular tissue in the abdomen. It had areas of dense fibrous tissue and many pockets of fluid and looked like very abnormal tissue. The outlook did not look good.

Wellington’s owners were very keen that we should try every option. Suspecting that the mass was likely to be sinister, we agreed that a conventional exploratory surgery could not be justified so he was transferred to the Veterinary Hospital at Maple Street for Laproscopic (key-hole) investigation.

With the camera inside his abdomen, we could see the full extent of the abnormalities in his abdomen. A great big cystic structure, the size of a snooker ball sat in the middle of the abdomen with multiple cystic lumps visible on several liver lobes. I collected a couple of biopsy samples then spoke to the owners by telephone to express my concern. I was pretty sure I had just seen an enormous cancerous lump that was on the point of rupture.

The biopsy samples were sent by courier to the lab and results came back the following day. To my surprise, they suggested a benign cystic lesion and that removal could be curative.

Having been initially unable to justify radical surgery, with the information we had managed to gather about the lump, surgery became justified and on Wednesday last week, Wellington underwent removal of the affected liver lobe and associated tissue.

The surgery was certainly a challenge. Wellington only weighed 3.4kg before the surgery and the lump weighed 0.8kg but with intensive nursing and aftercare from the Hospital staff, true to form, the 18 year old cat has made a remarkable recovery from the surgery.

Predicting the life expectancy of an 18 year old cat is never easy but the lab reports suggest that further progression of the cysts is likely to be a very slow process so it looks as though this problem may not be life limiting after all.