Meet Hunter, the handsome and charming thirteen-year-old kitty! Hunter’s family adopted him (or rather he adopted them) in June 2008 at Seattle Humane in Bellevue, WA. Last fall, he began vomiting and had an ultrasound that showed evidence of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Gastrointestinal lymphoma. His primary care veterinarian did a diagnostic workup, which revealed circulating mast cells in his blood and an enlarged spleen with nodules. He was referred to our oncology department for a consultation to discuss further diagnostic and treatment options for him.

Since Hunter had circulating mast cells in his blood and an enlarged spleen, it meant there was a very high chance it was splenic mast cell disease. Splenic mast cell disease is the most common tumor affecting the spleen in cats. It usually affects older cats and, although the spleen is the primary site, other organs may also be involved. Diagnostic options for mast cell disease and gastrointestinal lymphoma were discussed and a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) along with liver and gastrointestinal biopsies were ultimately decided upon. He was scheduled for surgery a couple weeks later.

After surgery at his 15-day post-op recheck, Hunter’s owners reported that he seemed to have made a full recovery! His appetite was great and his family no longer needing to give any appetite stimulants, and his energy level had also improved to near normal. The pathology report confirmed intestinal lymphoma and feline mast cell disease, so he was started on an oral chemotherapy drug that can be given at home, called chlorambucil, as it treats both of these types of cancer.

Hunter has slowed down a bit recently (haven’t we all). But with the help of our oncology team and his regular veterinarian, his family looks forward to more time with him so they can continue spoiling him with his favorite food, taco chips, and armpit scratches. Hunter’s charming personality has definitely won over the hearts of everyone at the Animal Medical Center of Seattle. He has made his family’s lives so special and is still a source of great amusement with his many quirks.